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»This year [2009] marks the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of V. C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic, the best-selling novel about incest, imprisoned children, and very, very bad parenting. Andrews went on to write six more books, each one beloved by millions of readers, mostly young women, and each a play on the same themes that made Flowers wonderful and unique: lust, violence, and pain. For two generations now, a private ritual of female adolescence has been reading Andrews’s spine-creased paper-backs, often passed down from an older, wiser girl with the whispered promise of secret knowledge hidden between the covers.«

Sara Gran and Megan Abbott

Files from the morgue: Sara Gran and Megan Abbott’s essay about Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews, Dark Family, is now available to read in full online at The Believer.

»Perhaps the greatest signal of how comfortably Tampa fits within the genre is its affinity with another Florida tale of a »sexually out of control« woman, taboo-breaking and crime: Miami Purity (1995), by Vicki Hendricks, the novelist J. David Gonzalez recently dubbed the »most macabre mistress to ever pen Florida crime fiction.««

Megan Abbott

The taboo female desire at the heart of Tampa is rare in books — but not in classic crime fiction, says Megan Abbott. Her view on the novel by Alissa Nutting and her recommendation for the novel Miami Purity by Vicki Hendricks you can read at

»Reading A Curious Man, it’s easy to see the hunger into which Ripley tapped still raging. In his conclusion, Thompson notes that Ripley’s “burning ghats in India, shrunken heads in Ecuador” would likely seem tame today alongside the excesses available on reality TV shows like Fear Factor and Bizarre World.

Megan Abbott

Author Megan Abbott about the biography A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It Or Not!” Ripley by Neal Thompson. Her review at Los Angeles Review of Books.