Abbott’s stories are character-heavy, and dialogue-rich. Even the internal musings of the characters have substance. Her descriptions are precise, and immediately relatable, as when she describes the “gluey, mousey” smell of all used bookstores. “I thought only cops used the word vehicles,” one character muses, “but maybe prisoners and cops traded words like a cold.” It’s an offhand comment but it seems like the perfect combination of words.
Most of the stories here are dark, effortlessly noir-ish and strongly rendered slices of low-life pie. But there are also delights like “Bit Players,” which features the late, great character actor Jack Elam and a telling bit about the way casting directors work in Hollywood.