Megan Abbott is one of the most astute of modern crime novelists, and her nuanced and incisive books are more focused on the complex psychology of her characters than many of her confrères. The subject of Give Me Your Hand is female friendship – and the version on offer here is the most toxic kind. In her teenage years, Kit Owens is inspired by her troubled friend Diane (who nurtures a dark secret) to drive herself hard to realise her full potential. The two women develop an almost symbiotic relationship, with both pursuing a shared goal: a science scholarship on disorders related to female sexuality. But there is a catastrophic sundering of the friendship, and Diane re-enters Kit’s life as a bitter rival. What follows is traumatic and life-changing for everyone concerned. Few writers in the crime genre or elsewhere are as trenchant in their examinations of the female psyche – and this new book will add further lustre to Abbott’s already stellar reputation.

Give Me Your Hand

by Megan Abbott

Picador, £14.99, 339 pages

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