Friday, July 31, 2009

Book: Bury Me Deep, by Megan Abbott (2009)

It’s been so hot in Seattle that I can barely string two ... dammit, it’s on the tip of my tongue. You know, a unit of language that acts as the principal carrier of meaning. Anyway, I can barely string two of those things together, but I can’t let any more time pass without singing this book’s praises. It’s that good.

Abbott’s follow-up to the Edgar Award-winning Queenpin is inspired by “Trunk Murderess” Winnie Ruth Judd. Normally, I’d link to some background on the case, but you won’t find a better summary than the one Abbott provides at the end of her novel. Besides, you don’t want to know too much about how actual events played out, especially when Abbott deviates from the facts to unearth a larger story.

In 1931, Marion Seeley is alone in the strange city of Phoenix after her drug addict husband takes the only job he can get south of the border. Innocent young Marion becomes friends with both a nurse at the clinic where she works and the nurse’s tubercular roommate. She also becomes fascinated by their lifestyle, entertaining wealthy businessmen. Marion falls for one of these men, learning some disturbing truths about her own needs and desires. Abbott describes this intimate struggle for control in evocative language that can blindside you with its force.

Then things get worse, and Abbott lays that out in a relentless manner that would do Cornell Woolrich proud.

Hell, just look at the cover. You know you want to read it. Go ahead.