cover image The Turnout

The Turnout

Megan Abbott. Putnam, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-08490-8

Sisters Dara and Marie Durant, the protagonists of this gut-punching noir from Thriller Award winner Abbott (Give Me Your Hand), have been running the Durant School of Dance since the accidental death of their parents. They’re aided by Dara’s husband, Charlie, who was the ballet school’s prize student and who became a surrogate sibling after his mother moved to England. Marie’s move out of the family home to live in the building housing the dance studio changes the dynamic among the three, which is upended even further after a fire damages the school. Derek, an overbearing contractor who assesses the scope of the necessary repairs, hard-sells the Durants on extensive renovations to be funded by the insurance settlement. Dara has cause to worry when Marie becomes attracted to Derek. A suspicious death follows. Abbott is pitch-perfect at making the sisters’ complex dynamic and mix of emotions plausible and painful, while capturing the competitiveness and cruelty of children’s ballet, where every young girl wishes to be the center of attention. This look at the darker side of the dance world demonstrates why Abbott has few peers at crafting moving stories of secrets and broken lives. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (Aug.)