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My favorite book of the year when it
first came out, this novel really stood out to me as mastery of the
hard-boiled crime novel. Abbott, whose doctoral dissertation was in
hard-boiled crime fiction and film noir, puts her extensive knowledge
of the genre to good use with this novel, set in 1950’s LA, and
based on the real-life case of a missing Hollywood actress. Perfect
for fans of Hammett, Chandler and Cain!
From Edgar(R) -nominated novelist Megan Abbott, who makes "devotees of Cain and Chandler fall down and beg for mercy" (The Hollywood Reporter
), The Song Is You
imagines a thrilling conclusion to the still unsolved since 1949 Black Dahlia murder case.
On October 7, 1949, dark-haired starlet Jean Spangler kissed her five-year-old daughter good-bye 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 his 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 who blames Hop for concealing details about Jean's whereabouts the night she vanished. Driven by guilt and fear 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 The 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 fa ade. At the center of it all is Hop, a man torn between cutthroat ambition and his own best intentions.
"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