cover image You Know Her

You Know Her

Meagan Jennett. MCD, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-60709-8

On New Year’s Eve, bartender Sophie Braam, the protagonist of Jennett’s stellar debut, is closing up the Blue Bell bar in Bellair, Va., when in strolls Mark Dixon, who thinks being a friend of the owner gives him carte blanche to mooch drinks. The final straw is when he finishes a $200 bottle of wine, then pins her down in her car when she’s driving him home. A few days later, Murph, a police detective, and his new partner, officer Nora Martin, find Mark’s mutilated body, the first of many murdered men. During the investigation, Sophie and Nora become friends, each recognizing a kindred spirit as women tired of being harassed by men. While Murph grooms Nora to become a detective, Nora resents the other male officers’ sexism and their remarks that she’s a diversity hire. The author skillfully explores Sophie’s descent into insanity as her frustration with men—their unwelcome touches, snidely sexual comments, entitled movements—grows into rage then into an overwhelming violent hatred. Initial snippets of humor add levity as the story shifts increasingly into hard-boiled mode. Jennett is a writer to watch. Agent: Mark Falkin, Falkin Literary. (Apr.)