Die A Little

Die A Little

2006 Edgar® Nominee
2006 Barry Nominee
2006 Anthony Nominee
Best First Novel

Shadow-dodging through the glamorous world of 1950s Hollywood and its seedy flip-side, Megan Abbott’s debut, 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.

Click here to read an excerpt

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture
Paperback UK Coming 8/2008

What the Critics are Saying

“[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)

“Finally, here is a modern noir that perfectly depicts Raymond Chandler’s 1950s L.A. in all its seamy, sexy corruption…. Megan Abbott’s Die a Little mixes a potent cocktail of jealousy, obsession and danger.”

—Lisa Scottoline, author of Killer Smile

“Die a Little sets the bar high for everything that follows this year. This one is already at the top of my list for best of the year."

—Thomas McNulty, Mystery News

"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

"Abbott, author of a nonfiction study of hard-boiled literature and film, crafts a stylish, sensuous tale with picture-perfect period trappings."

—Publishers Weekly

"... a tale that smolders like the night's last, forgotten cigarette."

—Booklist, American Library Association

"Few psychological thrillers, by writers of either sex, offer such material, sensual, delicious catalogs of food, clothing, hairstyles, and especially kitchenware. In Abbott's hands, casserole dishes, folding chairs, and a 'Cornwall Thermo Tray with gold finish and wooden handles for serving hot artichoke hors d'oeuvres and tuna squares' have never seemed so sexy."

—Alexis Soloski, The Village Voice

"Abbott has fashioned a noir thriller that may remind readers of James M. Cain's brooding melodramas. She need not fear the comparison. Her story, rendered in a captivatingly off-beat style, crackles with suspense, and her portrait of L.A. in the 1950s, a seductive mixture of sleaze and sophistication, rings all-too-sadly true."

—Robert Wade, San Diego Union-Tribune

"Die a Little is a first novel, but you'll assume Megan Abbott is a seasoned vet. Her book is that good—reminiscent of the hard-edged naturalism of James M. Cain. ... The year 2005 is still new, but Abbott is already Rookie of the Year."

—Les Roberts, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"[O]ld-school noir at its finest, but with a nifty gender switch that gives the story extra oomph. ... Die a Little packs a mean little punch. And, like the best work in this genre, it lingers long after the last page."

—David Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle

"Sexy, suspenseful, and effortlessly evocative of Hollywood's sleazy underbelly, [Die a Little] delivers all the smoky atmospherics a good noir should ..."


"Die a Little takes us back to more innocent days, in which a smear of lipstick on a bed sheet still has the power to shock, men in sharkskin warn you that, honest, you don't know what you're getting yourself into, and a femme fatale with a mouth 'like one gorgeous scar across her face' dabbles in the darkest treachery without spilling her drink or smudging her makeup.

—Mary Harrison, Philadelphia Inquirer

"a chilling tale of how quickly the line between good and bad blurs. ... Die A Little is too smart to tell simple stories. Instead, Abbott layers in subtext and menace, murder and blackmail to demonstrate [her main character's] descent into blackness, and her secret welcoming of this shady world that engulfs her. ... Abbott's debut is a welcome treat."

—Sarah Weinman, Baltimore Sun

"Written in the style of the hard-boiled detective genre, Abbott gives her noir a big shot of estrogen. ... like an L.A. Confidential told from a distinctly feminine point-of-view. But in Abbott’s noir not all sexually active women are femme fatales, and the innocent aren’t always all that innocent after all."

—Sarah Vance, Bookslut

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: February 2005
  • ISBN-10: 0-7432-6170-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-6170-8
  • Price: $23.00

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