Queenpin: A Novel

By Megan Abbott

By the writer of Dare Me and The finish of Everything

A younger girl employed to maintain the books at a down-at-the-heels nightclub is taken less than the wing of the notorious Gloria Denton, a mob luminary who reigned through the Golden period of Bugsy Siegel and fortunate Luciano. Notoriously crafty and ruthless, Gloria indicates her keen younger protégée the ropes, ushering her right into a glittering demimonde of late-night casinos, racetracks, having a bet parlors, within heists, and large, tremendous cash. by surprise, the realm is at her feet—as lengthy as she does not take any percentages, like falling for the incorrect man. because the roulette wheel turns, either mentor and protégée scramble to stick one step sooner than their bosses and every different.

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Don’t you dare. ” She tilted her head. “So that’s the way it is, huh? a true love fit and that i tore you aside. Romeo and Juliet. ” “That’s now not the way it is,” I bristled. After every thing, I nonetheless chanced on myself feeling insulted by way of what she’d stated, what she was once suggesting. “I’m conversing approximately company. approximately doing issues clever. You broke your whole personal principles, Gloria. anyone could’ve visible us, heard us. and also you introduced in different events, events we don't have any cause to belief. We’re at the back of the 8 ball as a result of you. ” She shook her head, nonetheless possible unfazed through the transforming into hysteria in my voice. “This was once your first time and that i didn’t arrange you,” she acknowledged, simple or even. “I didn’t set you up first. I must have, certain. yet i wanted you at midnight. or you would’ve given your boy a caution and he’d’ve copped a heel. the purpose is, there’s not anything to fret approximately. this can be how these items cross. ” “Why didn’t you simply shoot him? ” I stated, the phrases slipping out of me in a trembling voice I didn’t realize. “Why’d you need to do it to him that manner? Like some…” i ended myself. The whiteness in her face, the bullet-hole eyes. i ended myself. Her eyes stated to forestall and that i did. there has been an extended, negative silence. all of the sound appeared sucked out of the area and that i knew if i attempted to open my mouth, attempted to strength a observe up my throat, i'd arise mute. She rose and walked over to me, positioned one chilly, gloveless hand on my shoulder. “You’ve been via much, child. You’re going to be ok. for those who give it some thought, you’ll see how correct i used to be. simply because I’m taking good care of us. I consistently look after us. ” I went to sleep that evening resolving to maintain my mouth close and my eyes open, biding my time. That used to be her top lesson to me, in the end. If i used to be cautious, might be I’d see it coming, no matter what it was once. If she observed the purple costume was once long gone from her closet, she didn’t say something. I couldn’t see it on her, couldn’t draw it out from the remaining, from her complete cool, watchful approach. i might stare at her face whilst she wasn’t having a look, and whilst she was once, and that i couldn’t learn a specific thing in it. in the end, I envied her that. To put on that sort of face. It gave the look of whatever striking to me nonetheless. I couldn’t shake that. within the dream that saved coming, Vic was once throwing down cards on the lengthy eco-friendly desk, card after card skating during the air. He was once staring at me, no longer the playing cards, and he was once smiling in that genial manner of his, the way in which that acknowledged, definite, I’m mendacity, child, I’m continually mendacity yet simply because I’m mendacity doesn’t suggest it isn’t precise too. And the playing cards fly up and that i can’t see his face for a moment and after they flutter down back he seems diverse. He seems humorous, like he’s made up of wooden. I see the lengthy line throughout his face, hooking from earlobe to earlobe like a ventriloquist’s dummy, with the smile suspended from nook to nook. after which he throws the final card and he’s nonetheless me and he reaches as much as this jaw and twists it first a technique, then the opposite, with a sickening creak. He’s protecting it in his arms, that jaw, and that i begin to close my eyes and he says anything yet I can’t pay attention it and that i glance back and he’s handing me the jaw around the desk.

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