Megan Abbott could be my favourite contemporary writer. Starting off in the more traditional spheres of period noir, her early books like Die A Little, The Song Is You, Queenpin and Bury Me Deep showcased sharp, clipped rhythms and expert studies in manipulation steeped in familiar noir tropes. But what made that quartet different was that the stories added real psychological depth to the rat-a-tat styles and characterisations only hinted at in traditional mid-century noirs. It was noir, but it was super-charged noir with contemporary twists, always accompanied with a tension that frizzed all the way through. Since those early successes Abbott has gone on to write three more sensational novels, this time featuring them (more or less) in the present day. Her last two stories (Dare Me and The Fever) demonstrate what she does best – explore how fear affects groups of friends and communities, and how situations can quickly paranoia, guilt, humiliation and manipulation can start to take over. The good news is that her stunning cheerleader drama, Dare Me, is being made into a film, and now her most recent book, The Fever is being turned into a TV series.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Sarah Jessica Parker’s production company, Pretty Matches Production, has acquired the rights to The Fever and plans are in motion to produce a TV series for MTV. Furthermore, Abbott is slated to write the pilot episode.
The Fever tells the story of a group of teenagers in a small town who are quietly going through their rites of passage – dealing with family break-ups and tensions, trying to understand their simmering, nascent desires and deal with the kind of peer group politics that can make a break a teen in the school playground. When a mysterious, unnamed disease or condition of epidemic (we’re never sure) breaks out, the group of friends and the town have to come to terms with the confusion, which soon leads to the pointing fingers of blame, guilt, shame and fear. Not so much a crime drama, but a proper psychological thriller.
Sarah Jessica Parker says:
We are thrilled to be working with Megan Abbott, one of the most exciting voices working in literature today. A master of suspense, Megan’s drama is a searing portrait of the female adolescent psyche that is on haunting display in her gripping novel, The Fever.
As one of my favourite authors, it’s an exciting and intriguing prospect. More news when I get it.