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The unnamed 22-year-old narrator of Megan Abbott’s 2007 third novel works at a Las Vegas night club and wants to emulate her mentor, the infamous queenpin Gloria Denton. Gloria, a formidable force in her 40s, reigns over Club Tee Hee on the heels of the city’s mobster heyday. She teaches “the kid” the ropes of Vegas’ underbelly: keeping the corrupt books, placing bets for mob bosses, rigging racetrack odds, and couriering dirty money. But then the narrator slips and falls in love with gambler Vic Riordan—who happens to be $30,000 in debt. Falling for the wrong guy puts her on a dangerous path.

With 10 mystery novels under her belt, Abbott is known for subverting classic crime tropes from a female perspective to award-winning effect: Queenpin won a 2008 Edgar Award. She is also a screenwriter and adapted a later best seller, Dare Me, into a TV series. —Laura Zornosa

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