Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Review published on August 5, 2018.

Abbott is a writer I come back to again and again and I’m never disappointed. I especially love her pulp novels that recall an earlier era but have a wry modern sensibility. She is a consummate storyteller of dark subversive tales. Give Me Your Hand grips from the first page. The prologue appears to lay out the premise, it raises many questions and hints at things, very well disguised (grey matter stimulated ✓). It’s a deliciously dark read. The novel is a really stylish psychological thriller that plays on ambition, desire, jealousy, and friendship.

The question is how far would you go – murder? Of course not! But then maybe you just haven’t been placed in the right situation yet, maybe you don’t know you have it in you! One of these women will kill, or is that the case? And, how do you construct the perfect crime?

It’s all about the relationship between Diane and the narrator Kit and the dark secret that binds them but separated them when they were teenagers. Getting away with “it”, Kit assumes, must weight on Diane, “heavy and irremediable.” This line gives you an idea of the relationship Kit feels she had with Diane:

“Sometimes it feels like Diane was a corner of myself broken off and left to roam my body, floating through my blood.”

The two women were best friends for a short period when they were seventeen, until the night spent studying Hamlet when the secret comes out. Now twelve years later Kit works at the Severin Laboratory. They have just secured a new grant for research into PMDD, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a condition that may affect up to 10% of women. The rumour is the budget will only allow for three staff and Kit desperately wants one of those jobs. Then, Dr Severin tells Kit he’s hired a new person to the team, Diane, her old friend. It’s all downhill from here.

A psychological thriller that won’t let you put it down, so readable that it belies the cleverness of the tale. Intense and chilling, a lot of fun.

Paul Burke 4/5

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
Picador 9781509855681 hbk Jul 2018

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