The Song is You

The Song is You

On October 7, 1949, dark-haired starlet Jean Spangler kissed her five-year-old daughter goodbye and left for a night shoot at a Hollywood studio. “Wish me luck,” she said as she crossed her fingers, winked and walked away. She was never seen again. The only clues left behind: a purse with a broken strap found in a nearby park, a cryptic note and rumors about mobster boyfriends and ill-fated romances with movie stars.

Drawing on this true-life missing person case, Megan Abbott’s The Song Is You tells the story of Gil “Hop” Hopkins, a smooth-talking Hollywood publicist whose career, despite a complicated personal life, is on the rise. It is 1951, two years after Jean Spangler’s disappearance and Hop finds himself unwillingly drawn into the still-unsolved mystery by a friend of Jean’s who blames Hop for concealing details about Jean’s whereabouts the night she vanished. Driven by guilt and fears of blackmail, Hop delves into the case himself, feverishly trying to stay one step ahead of an intrepid female reporter also chasing the story. Hop thought he’d seen it all, but what he uncovers both tantalizes and horrifies him as he plunges deeper and deeper into Hollywood’s substratum in his attempt to uncover the truth.

In the tradition of James Ellroy’s Black Dahlia and Joyce Carol Oates’s Blonde, The Song Is You conjures a heady brew of truth and speculation, of fact and pulp fiction, taking the reader on a dark tour of Tinseltown, from movie studios, gala premieres and posh nightclubs to gangsters, blackmailing B-girls and the darkest secrets that lie behind Hollywood’s luminous façade. At the center of it all is Hop, a man torn between cut-throat ambition and his own best intentions.

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Learn More about Jean Spangler

What the Critics are Saying

"A chilling second novel from Edgar-nominated Abbott spins the conventions of noir fiction into something fast, fierce and fresh ... a whiz-bang adventure through Tinseltown's underbelly.

"With abundant style and a tight convincing story, Abbott provides a retro thrill ride. ... Cain and Chandler are evoked in the rough-and-tumble period language ... but Abbott has her own voice, avoiding the genre's macho conventions, to evoke the young women who live 'in a gasp of tension.'"

—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"From its absolutely gorgeous, period-perfect cover to its evocative portrait of the 1940s Hollywood studio system in action, Megan Abbott's new novel is a sensual feast."

—Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune

"The book leaves no doubt that Abbott is an artful practitioner of fem noir. This one will heat up a winter night at International Falls."

—Jay Waggoner, Deadly Pleasures

"I thought I was an ace student when it came to Hollywood Babylon-type stories, but [with The Song Is You] Megan leaves me in the dust. Leaves me in the dust, throws her Lucky in my face and grinds it out with a dainty twist of her stiletto."

—Laura Lippman , author of To the Power of Three, Every Secret Thing

"Megan Abbott continues to be my absolute favorite new author, and her second novel, The Song Is You, is even better than her first—super-sexy, superbly written, richly atmospheric, and with an ending you'll never see coming!"

—Lisa Scottoline, author of Dirty Blonde, Devil's Corner

"Sex, drugs and glamour, it's like a 242-page US Weekly from the '40s."

— Marie Claire

"Few novels break your heart, and even fewer mystery ones. This one broke me heart ... in smithereens. Such a wrenching poetic noir vision of loss and regret I've rarely encountered. Written in a style of such conversational élan, you nearly miss the absolute artistry. Superb evocation of the era and the legendary characters live and breathe in glorious dark reality. Megan Abbott is the song and a song of such yearning, such granite tenderness ... This is the most poignant novel you'll ever come across."

—Ken Bruen, author of The Dramatist, The Guards

"....even better [than Die a Little]. ... with a spellbinding retro-milieu. Abbott has a real flair for the era's lingo and style, which she renders with a breathless sensual elegance."

—Eddie Muller, San Francisco Chronicle (Read More)

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: January 2007
  • ISBN-10: 0-7432-9172-7
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-9172-9
  • Price: $14.00

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