Beware the Woman

Putnam. May 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780593084939. $28. SUSPENSE
Ready to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks on the lake, Jacy and Jed travel to the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to visit Jed’s father, Dr. Ash. The couple seem to have the perfect life—they’re expecting their first child and looking forward to parenthood. Jacy is excited to get to know Jed’s father, but her husband becomes more and more anxious and reluctant the closer they get to the Upper Peninsula. When they arrive, Dr. Ash is charming and considerate, and the house’s caretaker, Mrs. Brandt, is aloof but watchful. As Jed’s behavior reverts to that of his childhood self, it’s clear that Dr. Ash thinks Jed, who creates and restores neon signs, is a failure, even though Jacy knows her husband makes his work an art form. When Jacy experiences a pregnancy health scare, Dr. Ash insists it’s too dangerous for her to travel home—she’s trapped. As the days pass, Jacy begins to no longer recognize her husband, and Dr. Ash reveals a darker side that she desperately tries to escape. It’s obvious that Jed will do almost anything to please his father, but will he pick Dr. Ash over Jacy?
VERDICT In this Rosemary’s Baby–esque tale, Abbott (The Turnout) creates a summer psychological thriller that tempts the onset of goosebumps, with the devil hiding behind a handsome face or two.
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