A legendary moll...
Her ambitious protégé...
A feminine twist on a classic story of underworld seduction...

A young woman, hired to keep the books at a down-at-the-heels nightclub, is taken under the wing of the infamous Gloria Denton, a mob luminary who reigned during the Golden Era of Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano. Before she knows it, she's ushered into a glittering demimonde of late-night casinos, racetracks, betting parlors, inside heists, and big, big money.

Click here to read an excerpt
See the tour dates

Queenpin wins Edgar®
BookSense Notable Pick

What the Critics are Saying

"Noir’s reigning crown princess delivers a royally entertaining rumination on toxic female friendships set in the harsh neon underbelly of early-1960s Las Vegas. The tale of an avaricious assistant to a Virginia Hill–style Mob courier unfolds so cinematically it’s difficult not to picture it onscreen—perhaps pitched as The Grifters meets Casino, with Sharon Stone and Scarlett Johansson under the leering direction of Quentin Tarantino."

—Frank Sennett, Booklist

"Faster than a blue-haired octogenarian losing her retirement money on the Vegas slots and as calloused as a gravedigger's hands, Queenpin is pure pulp noir; a gloriously brutal and seductive story that—like the dysfunctional relationship between the novel's young female protagonist and her grifter lover— roughs you up a little and not only makes you like it but leaves you wanting more."

—Paul Goat Allen, Chicago Tribune

"Edgar-finalist Abbott delivers a sharp, slender, hardboiled tale of a protégé’s schooling by a notorious, been-there-done-that moll. . . . Abbott is pitch-perfect throughout: Gloria Denton, still turning heads in her 40s, is as hard a moll as any, and the kid is a beautiful combination of foil and tool as she strives to emulate her role model. The collision, violent and inevitable, rips away the facade of glitz and glamour, and leaves their low-end edifice starkly exposed."

—Publishers Weekly

"If Megan Abbott writes half a dozen more books as good as her first three ("Die a Little" and "The Song Is You" are period-piece perfection), she will claim the throne as the finest prose stylist in crime fiction since Raymond Chandler. This novella, a distinctly distaff homage to the lurid glories of 1950s paperbacks, is a splendidly simple but extravagantly sensual noir coming-of-age story about a young woman's dangerous apprenticeship to a female gangster. Imagine Hayley Mills possessed by Jim Thompson."

—Eddie Muller, San Francisco Chronicle

"Acts of stunning brutality, all retold in the narrator's hipster voice, reveal the ugliness behind the glitz as a little girl grows up. Abbott produces another stunning, hardboiled heroine."

—Kirkus Review

"A new star is rising in the midnight sky of noir fiction, and her name is Megan Abbott. With Queenpin Abbott has established herself solidly in the tradition of her influences: James Ellroy, James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler. If Cain boiled down Ellroy’s complicated mixture of people, places and themes, dashed in his trademark cynicism and moral ambiguity, and filtered the brew with Chandler’s masterful use of slang and dialogue, the result might have the flavor of Abbott’s fiction."

—Timothy J. Lockhart, The Virginian-Pilot

Dig Megan Abbott's Queenpin, so chock-full of tough talk and high-stakes thrills that it hums. In an unnamed city and uncertain period, an ambitious young dame (I use the word advisedly) falls in with an aging but formidable underworld figure, with satisfyingly twisted results.

—Adam Woog, The Seattle Times

"In the sly and stylish Queenpin, Megan Abbott gives a feminine spin to hard- boiled crime, crafting a tale of grifters and their marks."

—Sandra Kent, Boston Herald

"This book screams summer sizzle. Abbott is a good writer with a gift for careening into character development even as revs up the plot."

—John Mark Eberhart, Kansas City Star

"[I]t’s the gorgeous descriptive qualities of the narrator’s world view that pull the reader firmly into her lair. Abbott is perhaps the eminent hardboiled writer today, and she might be the logical heir apparent to Hammett and Chandler."

—Anthony Rainone, Lincoln Journal Star

"Abbott’s fascinating exploration of the narrator’s psyche keeps the pages turning, and there’s a savage inevitability here, a magnet pull towards destruction....Abbott’s wonderfully amoral ending does not disappoint, and those of us who love noir fiction recognize that Abbott is an exciting new voice for this genre."

—Guy Savage, Mostly Fiction.com

Megan Abbott was born in the wrong time, since she writes like she was a compatriot of the Chandlers and Hammetts of the world. With Queenpin, her third novel, she shows no sign of slowing down in style or substance.

—Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm.com

Abbott dishes up in her third novel stiletto heels, pointed, deadly, and good over small distances, leaving readers looking for more. This is All About Eve pulped to a fare-thee-well à la Jim Thomson.

—Bob Lunn, Library Journal, starred review

"A stunning achievement. With Queenpin, her third superb book, Megan Abbott proves beyond all doubt she is the new Queen of Noir."

—Ken Bruen, author of Priest and American Skin

"Subtle, seductive, stunningly violent, this perfectly executed hardboiled tale of complex relationships between grifters is a stone-cold classic."

—Allan Guthrie, author of Hard Man (2007) and Kiss Her Goodbye (2005)

"Classy, daring, and alluringly amoral, Abbott's portrayal of a woman desperate for the 'good life' illuminates the deep motives of a femme fatale, as she chooses tough over soft and pleasure within pain in order to satisfy her thrill-seeking personality in an era when opportunities are scarce. A slick, murderous adventure with passion enough to draw any reader inside."

—Vicki Hendricks, author of Cruel Poetry and Miami Purity

"Megan Abbott's Queenpin is one of the best noir novels I've read in years. I felt like I was reading a great Gold Medal novel, from the heyday of crime fiction, yet with an entirely fresh spin. It reminded me of the best work of Cain and Chandler. I didn't read Queenpin, I devoured it."

—Jason Starr, author of The Follower

Included as one of four summer page-turners by Melony Vance of Latitude 33 bookstore in Laguna Beach, CA.

—Valerie Takahama, Orange County Register

Included as one of three summer picks by Bonnie Hearn Hill, author of Off the Record.

—Don Mayhew, The Fresno Bee

Read the story from which Queenpin derives in Damn Near Dead, the Edgar®-nominated anthology.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: June 2007
  • ISBN-10: 1-4165-3428-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-3428-0
  • Price: $13.00

Buy it at one of these wonderful independent bookstores:

Also available on Powells and other online book retailers, including the Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

And available as an e-book at retailers everywhere, including:

Diesel eBooks

Order now and receive 20% off. Just enter the following code at checkout: ABBO3f1bf