The Turnout

Putnam. Jul. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780593084908. $27. SUSPENSE
Sisters Dara and Marie Durant have danced ballet their entire lives, taught by their mother at the dance studio she founded. The sisters now own and teach at the studio, while Charlie (Dara’s husband and a former ballet dancer) manages its business operations. The three have a very close, nearly claustrophobic relationship, and had been living together in the Durants’ childhood home up until Marie’s recent move to the studio. A fire damages the studio right at the beginning of Nutcracker season, interrupting their regimented schedule and increasing the already high anxiety level of the students. Derek, a contractor, is hired for repairs; Dara finds him unnerving, while Marie is strongly attracted to him. Using his influence over Marie, Derek begins to interfere with the Durants’ business and personal lives. As his presence begins to unearth long-buried family secrets, the Durants must do what they can to restore order.
VERDICT Abbott (Give Me Your Hand) has a top-notch ability to reveal the dark undercurrents of women’s relationships and sexuality. Her taut, unsettling writing creates tension through the slightest actions and phrases, and keeps the pages turning. This is clever, chilling psychological suspense at its best.
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