Megan Abbott Bibliography

Megan Abbott has literally burst onto the hardboiled fiction scene with one award winning novel after another. Right from her debut novel, Die A Little, it was clear that the standard was going to be consistently high and the stories as compelling as it is possible to get.

Unlike many of the authors in the hardboiled genre, Abbott's novels have been stand-alone to this point. Also unlike many books in the genre, Abbott's protaganists are not your run of the mill detectives or private investigators. They are more of a Hichcockian nature in which characters are thrust into desperate situations and must quickly adapt to survive.

Megan Abbott Novels

Author website

Stand Alone

Megan Abbott has literally burst onto the hardboiled fiction scene with one award winning novel after another. Right from her debut novel, Die A Little, it was clear that the standard was going to be consistently high and the stories as compelling as it is possible to get.

Unlike many of the authors in the hardboiled genre, Abbott's novels have been stand-alone to this point. Also unlike many books in the genre, Abbott's protagonists are not your run of the mill detectives or private investigators. They are more of a Hichcockian nature in which characters are thrust into desperate situations and must quickly adapt to survive.

As mentioned, the list of award nominations is already impressive with Die A Little having been a finalist for the Anthony, Barry and Edgar Awards for Best First Novel, Queenpin has won the Edgar and Barry Awards for Best Paperback and Bury Me Deep was a finalist for the Edgar, Anthony, Barry and Macavity Awards for Best Paperback as well as the Hammett Prize.

Her debut novel is Die A Little (2005) and is set in Hollywood in the 1950s. The story focuses on an adult brother and sister, Bill and Lora King, who lead a relatively quiet and straitlaced life together.

When Bill meets and falls in love with a Hollywood studio seamstress they marry after a brief whirlwind romance.

The growing disquiet felt by Lora over the woman’s past grows to outright alarm as more and more disturbing facts about her new sister-in-law are uncovered.

The amateur detective work is part of the fascination of this story, particularly as Lora began the story as an unremarkable woman, someone who most readers could easily relate.

The Song Is You (2007) is the second book by Abbott and is based on the real-life disappearance of actress Jean Spangler, which occurred in 1949.

As with Die A Little, the story is set in Hollywood and gain delves straight into the morass of postwar life in California.

Gil “Hop” Hopkins, an erstwhile journalist who is now a publicity guy, was the last person known to have been in the company of the missing actress. This fact and the urging of another friend of the woman compels Hop to find out what happened to her.

The story sits neatly with other works of noir crime writing that has also become greatly celebrated through the years. A great sense of both time and place is created and the glamor of Hollywood is offset inevitably by the seamy underside.

Queenpin (2007) is the third book published by Abbott and the first to have taken out a couple of awards for which it was nominated. The book is the winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Paperback and the 2008 Barry Award for Best Paperback. It was also nominated for the Anthony Award for Best Paperback.

It’s the style that stands out so clearly and demands to be seen as the tough hardboiled crime story that epitomizes the genre. The pared back tight prose is just right and helps deliver punch after punch to the reader.

The story follows the movements of a mobbed up former gangster’s moll who runs a club and collects payoffs while imparting hard-won advice to her young protégé. It’s a story of betrayal and self-destruction in a dark world of wiseguys and mobsters.

This is definitely a standout book from the Abbott library.

By the time Bury Me Deep (2009) was published, Megan Abbott was being hailed as “noir’s reigning crown princess” and it is a title that is well-earned.

Once again, the book is based on a real-life story. In this case the crime is the case involving Winnie Ruth Judd, a woman accused of murdering two friends in 1931. A great deal of intrigue surrounded the actual case in which Judd was dubbed the “Trunk Murderess” due to the fact that the bodies were found stuffed into suitcases and left at a Los Angeles train station.

The murders in Bury Me Deep are inspired by the true story but from this point on, Abbott takes things in another direction. The story ventures into territory that supposes that the accused murderess, in this case Marion Seeley, uses a lot of cunning and ingenuity as she does her best just to survive.

The End of Everything followed in 2011 and is notable because it is so different from all of the books that came before it.

The story is set in the 1980s and involves a couple of thirteen year old schoolgirl friends who happily live a normal friendship as best friends. They share everything and do everything together. But then one of the girls disappears.

It falls to the other girl to come up with answers about her friend and how she could have disappeared so suddenly. It is a revealing search that suggests that the two girls weren’t quite as close as it first seemed.

Using the teenage girl world is repeated in Dare Me (2012) which revolves around a couple of 16 year old cheerleaders. But this is a dark and edgy story that enters the troubled mind of one of the girls who is looking for more than what the teenage years can give her.

A third contemporary thriller in a row, The Fever was published in 2014 and thrusts the reader into a health crisis within a community. The story starts out focusing on a perfectly normal family that is well-adjusted and happy together.

But then, a friend of one of the children is struck down by a seizure in class. This quickly starts a rumor mill of suspicion that some type of outbreak has started its spread through the community.

The book examines the effects on the lives of the young girls and the usual problems that surround girls in their teenage years.

It earned a nomination for the 2015 Thriller Award for Best Novel.

Megan Abbott turns her attention to the world of gymnastics in You Will Know Me (2016) with a story that starts out following the highly promising career of 15 year old Devon Knox. She is a brilliant gymnast who seems to be destined to compete at the highest level.

Her mother is devoted to her daughter and likes to sit and watch her train, safe in the knowledge that she is better than most others. But there is an undercurrent to the story that gradually begins to make itself known to the reader. The narration doesn’t appear to be as trustworthy as first thought and the dark world of competitive sports is brought to the surface.

Once again Abbott’s ability to build a story filled with suspense as the results of obsession are closely examined here.