Read for CBR Bingo: Inspired by another person’s review.
Two things before the review…
1. I was inspired by vel veeter’s review to do this book. vel gave it three stars; they liked it but didn’t love it. I liked it a little more and will explain why below.
2. I was fortunate to meet Megan Abbott at a book signing and have her sign it! It was awesome to hear her talk about the book, the process of writing, crime fiction, The Deuce, and more. A wonderful person who was gracious with her time.
Here’s a picture of my signed copy!
Okay, so for the book itself…
This one can nominally be considered a mystery. At the heart of it is a relationship between two girls, the secrets they hold, and how they are bound by fate. Overlying this is the patriarchal choke hold society has on women’s bodies and how they are policed. Male rage is a frequent, understood, forgivable thing. Female rage seems to be a violation of nature.
This is not a whodunnit and I wouldn’t recommend reading a book like this for the twists, which I found predictable. It’s the why. Some writers get it. Others don’t. Many do not prefer the former. I do. I need circumstance. I need context. I need reason beyond “Here’s a dead body and some investigators. Have fun.”
Abbott is a smart enough writer to develop this over the events of relationships, mysteries and murders, to make the point as a writer. She gives me the reason to keep pouring through page after page. Her prose is lean and her dialogue good. There were some frustrating detours which led me to dock it a star but the ending, which vel didn’t like and I loved, felt absolutely earned because the build up was handled well and had me gripping the pages. Throughout making the bigger point, Megan Abbott never loses the thread of the story.
This is one of the best things I’ve read in 2018.