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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Character Study
My first reaction to this was "Does the world need another Raymond Chandler-esque mystery?" But I'm glad I persevered with this novel because it is an excellent study of obsession and how far someone will go to justify their actions. Lora, the narrator, starts the novel as a perfect small town high school teacher but her unrequited incestuous love for her brother, and her...
Published on 22 Sep 2008 by S Jones

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Die A Little
Have you ever heard someone say "they don't make noir crime novels like they used to anymore"? No I dont often either, but actually they do and I have to say the first Megan Abbott to get released in the UK is some of the best `noir' I have read. Can I also at this point add... how fabulous is the cover, very glam.

In case you are wondering what noir crime...
Published on 5 Aug 2008 by Simon Savidge Reads


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Character Study, 22 Sep 2008
By 
S Jones (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
My first reaction to this was "Does the world need another Raymond Chandler-esque mystery?" But I'm glad I persevered with this novel because it is an excellent study of obsession and how far someone will go to justify their actions. Lora, the narrator, starts the novel as a perfect small town high school teacher but her unrequited incestuous love for her brother, and her jealousy of his new wife leads her to unimagined depths of criminality. Her descent, coupled with her conviction that all her actions are for "the right reasons" make riveting reading when set against the familiar film-noir landscape of 1950s southern California. Reviewers who complain it is "slow" are missing the point that it's not about the plot but the character and her reaction to events. A great novel for Book Club discussion, not sure that a movie version will be any good if it stays true to the original.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Die A Little, 5 Aug 2008
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
Have you ever heard someone say "they don't make noir crime novels like they used to anymore"? No I dont often either, but actually they do and I have to say the first Megan Abbott to get released in the UK is some of the best `noir' I have read. Can I also at this point add... how fabulous is the cover, very glam.

In case you are wondering what noir crime fiction is here's a lovely definition from Wikipedia "In this sub-genre, the protagonist is usually not a detective, but instead a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. He is someone tied directly to the crime, not an outsider called to solve or fix the situation." Noir was also big from the 1930's until the 1960's and this book is set in the fantastic era of the 1950's Hollywood glamour era, with some scenes featuring Doris Day in the background.

In this story the protagonist is Lora King, a school teacher who is quietly happily sailing through life with her brother until he meets and marries Alice Steele. Alice is a beautiful Hollywood wardrobe assistant, but for some reason Lora doesn't trust her and even thought her brother (a junior investigator for the District Attorney) trusts her and misses Alice's inconsistent tales of her past, Lora believes there is more to meet the eye. Lora decides to investigate her sister-in-law herself taking her into Hollywood's underbelly a world of sex, murder, drugs and prostitution.

I absolutely loved this book and happily devoured it in two small sittings. I like a good crime and this had lashings of murder, mayhem and mystery. The other major thing, bar the era in which it's set, that I loved was the characters. Lora starts of as a sweet teacher who is drifting merrily like a Doris Day character through life but as she uncovers more and more of Alice's past an inner femme fetale is released inside herself which is an interesting tale along side the mystery. Alice is amazing, I loved the fact that she had this dark past that you felt she was still visiting every now and then but the rest of the time she was getting involved in charity gala's and cake baking alluding to the perfect wife. A character that I particularly loved was Lois, a friend from Alice's past, who is hapless and always almost lets something slip, and I loved her story. The men in the book take a slight back seat Bill is a besotted man who cannot see anything wrong with his wife, however Lora's lover becomes quite a rogue love interest that you don't quite trust with his hidden depths.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars different than your average crime novel, 7 Sep 2008
By 
This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
I loved this book and am looking forward to it coming on to the big screen. its a crime novel but from a different angle. it goes along at quite a slow pace but that fits with the story
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3.0 out of 5 stars It'll pass a few hours..., 20 Feb 2010
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
`Die a Little' is told from the perspective of Lora King, young school teacher whose brother Bill marries the glamorous wardrobe assistant, Alice. The story takes place in 1950's LA, and is reminiscent of a plotline found in Raymond Chandler's noir novels. Lora becomes increasingly suspicious of inconsistencies in the stories Alice tells about her past and she decides to do a little digging of her own. As Lora becomes increasingly drawn into the seedy underbelly of LA and a young acquaintance is murdered, she must make some difficult decisions.

I quite enjoyed `Die a Little', it remains fairly subtle and the violence and other adult themes are never described gratuitously, which makes a welcome change. That said, it isn't a novel that will set the world on fire and I felt it trod fairly similar ground to the film LA Confidential. It'll pass a few hours...
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4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable literary noir tale, 1 Jun 2013
By 
Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
Die a Little is a thoroughly noir tale about the tension between two femme fatales - a sister and wife - battling over the same man. The main strengths of the novel are the atmosphere, tight plotting, strong characterisation, and crafted prose. Abbott captures both the hopes of post-war US and its seedy underbelly of vice, drugs, and exploitation, filtered through a darkly tinted lens. The plot is layered and nicely paced as Lora transitions across the arc of the story as her relationship with her sister-in-law comes under increasing strain. All three main characters are well penned, being complex and deep, the support cast are more than simply ciphers for the story, and the interactions between the players is nicely portrayed. The story is told through lyrical, literary prose that adds to the atmosphere. Overall, an enjoyable noir tale that adds a distinctive voice to the genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Electrifying prose - Megan Abbott is a writer's writer, 17 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
I encountered Megan Abott for the first time via Dare Me, which I got on Amazon Vine and was bowled over by the virtuoso characterization and the stunning prose. I wanted to see what her debut novel was like so I downloaded Die a Little on Kindle - and well, the only word I can find to describe this writing is electrifying. The setting is 1950s, 1960s Hollywood, the style is Noir of the type you see in movies like L.A. Confidential [1997] [DVD], so I suppose some readers might expect wham bang action. But no this is a character study, insightful, dark, searching; the period detail and description is luscious and the words electrifying. I couldn't put it down (which is no mean feat because I was using Kindle for PC). I was almost disappointed when the story ran its course and threads began to weave. There was a hurriedness to the ending and I would have preferred it to stay the character study course instead of venturing into thrillerdom - but it was such a satisfying read it's definitely five stars from me. Megan Abbott, you might just be my new favourite author. Off to download another Megan Abbott book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much of nothing, 21 Sep 2012
This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
This is one of those books you read just to find out what happens at the end, not because your particularly enjoying it, which is a shame because I really enjoyed "The end of everything".

It tells the story of a young woman trying to discover her sister-in-law's dark secret. The fact is she makes such a big deal of everything, in some places it just seems comical. It isn't very realistic and the characters aren't human enough to provoke any kind of empathy for them.

The actual style isn't that bad, but the story is boring and drags on, and on, and on...There isn't very much movement, the scenes are vague at best, and it just all seems to clean.

Truth is, there must have been something there to make me want to get to the end, but I just can't put my finger on it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Die A Little, 8 Nov 2009
This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
This has good plot, atmosphere to burn. Unfortunately the author writes the majority of the book in the first person present tense. So, i found it difficult to really get into it. It just felt fake and slightly distancing. A shame. Still worth a look.
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not great..., 24 Sep 2008
This review is from: Die A Little (Paperback)
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in this case I'd have to disagree. I thought I probably wouldn't like it from the outset, and I was right.

It was only the fact that I've never not finished a book once I've started reading it that made me carry on. I did put this to one side and read two other books before pressing on with this until the end.

However, this was only down to my stubborn nature and the fact that I had nothing else to read.

I had no interest in the characters, their lives or they way they interacted with each other. Sorry, but I thought it was rubbish.
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