Abbott's third fiction offering mines the same dark vein as her other books, but this title doesn't shine as brightly as its predecessors. It's still terrific, with all the Abbott trademarks: messy, Freudian relationships; moral ambivalence; hard-bitten, slangy dialogue; and lust, cruelty and betrayal. The Gloria Denton character owes more than a little to Lilly Dillon from The Grifters. The unnamed narrator tells the sordid story with just the right amount of world-weariness, resignation and moxie. Abbott continues to nail the noir voice with a thrilling female twist.
A nameless sharp cookie hired to keep the books at a nightclub falls into the orbit of Gloria Denton, a mob moll, bag lady and cool customer. Gloria takes her under her wing and shows her all the angles. But her appetite for more of everything -- and a dangerous, worthless man -- could prove her downfall. (Simon and Schuster, Jun., 192 pp., $13.00)