cover image Beware the Woman

Beware the Woman

Megan Abbott. Putnam, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-08493-9

In this spine-tingling suspense yarn from Edgar Award winner Abbott (The Turnout), pregnant second grade teacher Jacy learns there’s plenty she still doesn’t know about her taciturn artist husband Jed or the family he rarely mentions—maybe a dangerous amount. The action unfolds during the couple’s summer road trip from New York City to visit Jed’s father, a retired physician, at his cottage on Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula. At first, Jacy feels transported by the surroundings and her father-in-law’s near-courtly solicitousness. (His brusque caretaker, Mrs. Brandt, is a different story.) But things shift when Jacy has a miscarriage scare and, in the aftermath, Jed aligns with his father’s alarmingly old-school notions about women and pregnancy. Rightly or wrongly, Jacy starts to feel like a prisoner. Manipulating the sense of menace like a virtuoso violinist, Abbott expertly foreshadows the wrenching family secrets that are exposed in a ferocious finale. Sinewy prose and note-perfect pacing make this a masterful and provocative deep dive into desire, love, and gender politics. Readers will be left breathless. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (May)