A Book Spy Review: ‘Give Me Your Hand’ by Megan Abbott

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Give me your handNew York Times bestselling and Edgar-winning author Megan Abbott is back with another dazzling psychological thriller about two women who share a troubling secret. 

Kit Owens is used to being the star in her laboratory. When her boss and idol Dr. Severin announces that she’s looking for one more person to join the team doing crucial work for premenstrual dysphoric disorder research, Kit, the only woman currently in the lab, believes the position is hers to lose. . . and then the unthinkable happens. Dr. Severin soon explains that she’s hired a new researcher from Harvard by the name of Diane Flemming, who quickly becomes the frontrunner for the spot Kit so badly wants.

At face value, the move is bad enough for Kit, but there’s so much more to the story, and this isn’t the first time Diane has changed Kit’s life. It’s the third. 

More than a decade prior, back when Kit was in high school, her life was humming along just fine. Though she was brilliant, her teenage self lacked drive and motivation. That all changed when Diane Flemming entered her school and began challenging Kit in ways she never previously experienced. Ultimately, the two used their friendly competition to be the very best academically, in order to pursue scholarships with the goal of one day working alongside Dr. Severin. 

That was the first time Diane changed Kit’s life, motivating her to pursue her dreams through friendship and a common goal. But then Diane offered up a dark and terrible secret, one that destroyed any friendship they might have had, and plagued Kit with nightmares for years to come. 

Now, as the past comes roaring back to the forefront, Kit and Diane once again go head-to-head, but no longer as friends motivating each other. Instead, they’re two people sharing an unsettling truth, and the gloves are about to come off once and for all. . . 

Though more of a slow burn than her last novel (You Will Know Me), Megan Abbott once again dials up the heat, delivering a heart-pounding thriller that touches on a number of issues women face, including career ambitions, disadvantages in the workplace, and, of course, friendship. Her unvarnished approach is real, raw, and honest, giving readers plenty to think about moving forward.

As for the story, the early focal point is the secret Diane dropped on Kit, as readers will no doubt race for the disturbing details. For the plot to work, there must be a secret so bad that it’s not only worthy of changing Kit’s life forever, but also juicy enough to dangle in front of readers who must first make their way through a chunk of backstory. In the end, Abbott doesn’t disappoint, and once the secret is out in the open, all bets are off. The pacing ramps up from there, and so does the suspense, reaching critical levels that’ll have even the pickiest readers gnawing away at their fingernails.

Think Joseph Finder’s Paranoia, (2003) but set in a laboratory instead of the world of electronics and corporate espionage. . . Give Me Your Hand is another winner from Megan Abbott, who continues to pump out one blockbuster after another while showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Book Details

Author: Megan Abbott
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0316547182
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

 

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