By Megan Abbott
As far as noir goes, this is as close to the real thing as its possible to get, whilst seeing the genre from a slightly different perspective. After having read Hammet, Mosley, Ellroy and Chandler, I decided it was time to try something from a female perspective, so I bought this novel by Megan Abbott after I looked up female noir authors. I came across a feminist noir blog book review which recommended it which seemed as good a recommendation as any other, and hey presto.
241 pages long, the story starts off with no great fanfare and within 26 pages I knew what was going to happen every step of the way. Its a short book though so I kept with it and I am glad I did, because the out come may be obvious, but the journey to get to there was so well described that I got caught up in the characters and I think this may be the key to understanding the difference between Abbott and the afore mentioned male authors. I've noticed that Barbara Vine's stories always revolve around well defined characters and the thoughts, feelings and emotional states they move through as their story evolves. Abbott's story does the same, so much so that this is in fact not really a mystery story at all, but more an exploration of the mind of the main character as she fights to save her brother against the dangerous woman he has fallen for.
If I have any criticism of the story, it is that Abbott pulled her punches when it came to the sexual aspects of the story. Subtle insinuation seemed some what tame when the subject was undergoing a significant sexual awakening. Not least given how much this impacted on the character's subsequent actions.