Sunday, January 07, 2007

Out of the past

I can't say enough good things about Megan Abbott's new novel, THE SONG IS YOU, just out this week. The follow-up to her Edgar-nominated DIE A LITTLE, it's another period noir, this one set in Hollywood in the early 1950s and revolving around the real-life disappearance of actress Jean Spangler. But Abbott's central character - and the novel's wounded hard-boiled heart - is a fictional former-journalist-turned-Hollywood-press-agent named Gil "Hop" Hopkins, whose guilt and alcoholic self-loathing plunge him first-hand into the mystery. Period L.A. noirs aren't exactly rare, but this is Abbott's world and A SONG IS YOU inhabits it fully. It's also graced with some of the best dialogue I've read anywhere in a long time.

Abbott and Edgar-winning author Theresa Schwegel are also touring together over the next month or so, including two appearances in New York this week; Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Partners & Crime in Greenwich Village, and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at The Black Orchid Bookshop on East 81st Street between First and Second avenues.

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