Bury Me Deep (BOLO Review)

In Bury Me Deep, Megan Abbott uses a real-life crime as the springboard for her fictional story.  Since there is no way to know what really happened in the actual case, this novel presents a very believable scenario for what transpired behind closed doors.Bury Me Deep

Bury Me Deep centers around Marion Seeley, who is basically abandoned in a small apartment in Phoenix by her doctor husband.  Her husband, Everett, has had his medical license revoked and is forced to travel to foreign countries to practice medicine, where such matters are not so important.  Left on her own, Marion gets a job in a local medical clinic and becomes friends with one of the nurses, Louise.

When Louise takes Marion home to introduce her to her room-mate Ginny, Marion enters into a new type of world.  It is a world where women are not afraid to live alone and they seem to make their own rules.  Louise and Ginny are constantly throwing parties with all types of interesting guests.

At one such party, Marion meets Mr. Joe Lanigan and is immediately attracted to him.  Over the course of a few weeks they get closer and closer until it is almost impossible for Marion to separate herself as a solo entity.  All is well until one night when Marion gets into a fight with her friends that quickly turns to tragedy.   How the resulting events play out will forever change the lives of all involved, but most especially that of Marion Seeley.  Megan Abbott shows through her narrative just how easily one can be manipulated and lead astray.

Over the course of her first few novels, Megan Abbott claimed the role of the reigning queen of Noir fiction; and with Bury Me Deep she presented her magnum opus in that style.  The novel has all the hallmarks of the genre –a gritty setting, murder and scandal, women being led to sin because of the attentions of a handsome man, illicit bury-me-deep-UKlove and jealousy.   And yet, Megan Abbott is able to make it all seem fresh and original, as if the reader is experiencing those themes for the first time.

Written as though it is a docudrama, Bury Me Deep addresses such topics as guilt and redemption, learning to take responsibility, the pitfalls of illegal drug trafficking, and the ramifications of extramarital affairs.  There are even moments that stray into the area of pulp fiction, with secret lesbian trysts and love triangles.

While the novel is relatively short, at roughly 250 pages, Megan Abbott does ask a lot of her readers.  This is not a book where everything is clearly spelled out in black and white.  Much of the action must be inferred from what Megan has chosen to put on the page.  This is a book that begs for reader participation.  Character motivations are not always easy to determine and no one is completely innocent.   Bury Me Deep is a novel to savor while reading and to ponder when finished.