MysteryPeople Pick of the Month: YOU WILL KNOW ME by Megan Abbott

– Review by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780316231077Megan Abbott’s latest, You Will Know Me, received much buzz even before its release, including a glowing review in the New York Times. You Will Know Me has appeared on just about every summer top ten reading list. As usual, Ms. Abbott proves she is worth the wait and the buzz.

The book follows Katie Knox, devoted mother of a gymnastics prodigy. She and her husband Eric have invested their lives into their daughter Devon, a fifteen-year-old with the talent and hopes of becoming an Olympic gymnast. Their gym community is rocked when a teenage boy who works with the coach is killed in a hit-and-run. It also pushes Katie into asking what she will do for Devon’s success.

Abbott uses the crime story to delve deep into the dynamics of a family with a prodigy. She shows the subtle role each parent and sibling play. Like her cheerleader noir, Dare Me, the creepiness factor settles in before the actual crime, manifesting as the intense obsession for perfection and winning that has taken hold of the family. It presents a chicken-egg question of where the source of the ambition comes from, the prodigy or the parents. Either way, the entire family eventually gets sucked up into it. As someone who grew up in a similar family, this book had me considering therapy after reading it.

In You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott shows her skill for making extreme sin believable by bedding it in realistic psychology and emotions. She examines ambition and how it intersects with those other noir obsessions of lust and greed. Now, we wait for her next book.

Abbott comes to BookPeople to speak and sign her latest on Tuesday, August 2nd, at 7 PM. She’ll be joined by Alison Gaylin, Bill Loehfelm and William Boyle for a panel discussion on new voices in crime fiction. You can find copies of You Will Know Me on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

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