cover image Where You End

Where You End

Abbott Kahler. Holt, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-87324-8

Historian Kahler (The Ghosts of Eden Park, as Karen Abbott) makes a brilliant pivot to fiction with this spine-tingling psychological thriller set in the 1970s. Twenty-two-year-old Kat Bird wakes from a coma after a car accident, with her memory wiped clean. Luckily, Kat’s identical mirror twin, Jude, is there to fill her in on their shared past. Though Kat wants to believe Jude’s stories—and that Jude’s efforts to keep Kat inside their apartment are for her own safety—holes in her sister’s recollections, plus encounters with people Kat meets when she sneaks out of the apartment to explore the wider world, begin to undermine her trust. Flashbacks from Jude’s perspective slowly reveal details of the twins’ upbringing in their mother’s sinister self-empowerment cult, allowing readers to stay one step ahead of Kat in understanding her horrifying past, and in suspecting that it may come back to haunt the sisters—particularly if she keeps poking around. Kahler’s twin heroines feel familiar, but never trite: Kat and Jude make mistakes when trying to impersonate one another, and their quasi-telepathic twin language (which eventually serves as a key plot point) feels like a plausible evolution of a two-decade connection rather than an authorial contrivance. Despite working with themes that often slide into the absurd—family cults, creepy twins, amnesia—Kahler never puts a foot wrong. Readers will be rapt. (Jan.)