Die A Little
2006 Edgar, Barry and Anthony Nominee for Best First Novel.
Good Housekeeping "Good Reads" pick November 2005, one of London Times Christmas Books 2008.
January Magazine: Pierce's Pick of the Week.
Die a Little tells the story of Lora King, a schoolteacher and her brother Bill, a junior investigator with the district attorney’s office. Lora’s comfortable, suburban life is jarringly disrupted when Bill falls in love with a mysterious young woman named Alice Steele, a Hollywood wardrobe assistant with a murky past.
Made sisters by marriage but not by choice, the bond between Lora and Alice is marred by envy and mistrust. Spurred by inconsistencies in Alice’s personal history and possibly jealous of Alice’s hold on her brother, Lora finds herself lured into the dark alleys and mean streets of seamy 1950s Los Angeles. Assuming the role of amateur detective, she uncovers a shadowy world of drugs, prostitution and ultimately murder.
Lora’s fascination with Alice’s “sins” increases in direct proportion to the escalation of her own relationship with Mike Standish, a charmingly amoral press agent who appears to know more about his old friend Alice than he reveals. The deeper Lora digs to uncover Alice’s secrets, the more her own life begins to resemble Alice’s sinister past—and present.
"[Abbott's Die a Little] gives us the true dark heart of the city in sharply contrasted blacks and whites, dense with heartache... In these tasty noir stylings, you can almost smell the smoke and hear the clinking of ice cubes." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Abbott, author of a nonfiction study of hard-boiled literature and film, crafts a stylish, sensuous tale with picture-perfect period trappings." — Publishers Weekly
"Astonishingly, Die A Little was Megan Abbott's first novel. The shock is that a debutante should have managed such a difficult genre so perfectly. She writes pure American noir, circa 1950. Many authors have imitated the style, with some success, but you always knew that it was a copy. Abbott feels original... Controlled writing, beautifully paced, wonderful LA atmosphere." — Marcel Berlins, The Times of London (UK)
"James Ellroy meets Nancy Drew in a wonderfully atmospheric tale of ugly secrets in 1950s LA... The period detail is authentic and the dialogue spot on. Best of all, classic American noir recast from a woman's viewpoint means that the female characters really come alive -- about time, too." — Laura Wilson, The Guardian (UK)
"Megan Abbott's spectacular first novel Die a Little is the kind of book that should make devotees of Cain and Chandler fall down and beg for mercy." — Hollywood Reporter
"If James M. Cain were writing episodes of Desperate Housewives, he would have written this noir tale of a brother and sister who become involved with shady characters in 1950s Los Angeles." — Black Orchid Bookstore (NYC)