by Megan Abbott
Siblings Lora and Bill King are living a life in Los Angeles as hip as First Lady Mame Eisenhower’s fashion sense.
They share a house. She teaches. He’s an investigator for the district attorney’s office. Everything is safe and predictable — until Bill meets and falls in love with Alice Steele.
A Hollywood wardrobe assistant, Alice is glamorous and sophisticated. When she and Bill get married, she works hard to be the perfect wife: she obsessively learns to cook; she gets to know the neighbors; she organizes weekly cocktail parties.
Lora isn’t convinced by Alice’s “tastiest wife on the block” image. Alice is a little too racy for her brother. Flashy. When Bill isn’t around, strange friends with glittery eyes and unkempt clothes drop by looking for favors from Alice.
Lora’s suspicions only grow when Alice sets her up with charming press agent Mike Standish. Suddenly, quiet homebody Lora is going to dinner and dancing at Hollywood hot spots and being introduced to up-and-coming stars. The more she tries to find out about Alice’s past and her strange friends, the more Lora is pulled into a dark world — and discovering sides of herself she would never discuss in the teachers’ break room at school.
Things come to the brink when one of Alice’s strange friends is gruesomely murdered.
Megan Abbott does a brilliant job of juxtaposing suburban America in the 1950s against the glitter, greed and graft of Hollywood. There’s an element of dejá vu to this classic noir tale. The female perspective and the recognition that we all have shadow sides gives this book freshness.
It’s a great summer read with atmosphere and suspense. If this book appeals to you, you might want to check out Abbott’s THE SONG IS YOU.
About the Author: Megan Abbott (1971 – )
Megan Abbott got her first taste of crime stories watching movies from the 1930s and ’40s at a movie theater in Grosse Pointe, MI, near where she grew up.
After graduating from the University of Michigan, she went on to earn a doctorate in English and American literature from New York University.
In addition to her novels, she has written a nonfiction analysis of hardboiled crime fiction. Her novels are often inspired by true crime events or classic sub-genres of crime fiction and are told from a female perspective.
She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University. In 2013-14, she served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi.