First and foremost: if pregnancy and/or pregnancy loss triggers you in any way, give this one a hard pass.
The best thing that can be said about Beware the Woman — another great tale from the great Megan Abbott — is that you can easily classify it in multiple genres. Domestic suspense, noir, even horror. This is definitely a book about body horror and the horror of women living under the shadow of patriarchal violence. It is so many things but most of all, it’s a helluva story.
What I love about Megan Abbott’s writing is how she finds the sharpest ways to keep the reader off balanced. You know there will be some twists and revelations down the road but they’re not gonna come cheap. Abbott instinctively knows the reader needs to get involved in the story before appreciating how it mutates. And this one, about a pregnant woman essentially held hostage by her husband and his dad, sucks you in from the beginning and doesn’t let go. Abbott’s descriptions of feelings and emotions—especially how they shift—is nothing short of visceral. I was simultaneously eager for this book to end but also did not want it to end.
If I have an issue, it’s that I would have liked more investment in the MC. You get some background into Jacy’s life and actions but more would have made me be compelled by her story and not THE story. But that’s a minor complaint. This book is very good, a crime novel for a post-Dobbs America.