From the Edgar-award winning writer of Dare Me is a twisted tale of two high school friends who share a dark secret, one that comes back to haunt them as adults in the laboratory where both women—now scientists—work in an atmosphere of tense competition.
Abbott excels in evoking the strange mix of camaraderie and rivalry that exists in academic research, showing the links forged by long hours and proximity as well as the suspicion and desperation that grow like a bacterial culture in competitive environments ... Female friendship and ambition are threaded throughout her work, and here they form a rich tapestry, as she contrasts the 'now' of Kit’s professional life as a postdoc in Dr. Severin’s lab with the 'then' of her high school relationship with Diane ... Ultimately, though, the reason to read this compelling and hypnotic novel is not the execution of the plot or the sleight-of-hand final revelation. What makes it stand out is Abbott’s expert dissection of women’s friendships and rivalries. She is an investigator of the human heart and mind, and Give Me Your Hand is a fine addition to her body of work—one that should cement her position as one of the most intelligent and daring novelists working in the crime genre today.
Wryly is the only way cliches ever slip into Abbott’s prose. She can write up a storm, weaving spell after spell out of the jangle and dross of middle America, its Flying Js and Cinnabons, cherry slush and drag races under the viaduct. An affection for these details, an abhorrence of condescension, pulses through the novel, which is devastatingly canny about gender relations. It’s also as suspenseful as any best-seller you’d care to name, and as sad.
This novel, instead, explores what characters who have been beaten down and confined by sexism might be capable of. Abbott tempts us to read her tale as a study in what happens when female revenge overflows its bounds, when female rage rises up like a ghost out of the earth ... The femme fatale, like the Dead Girl, traditionally functioned as a cipher, a scrim for misogynist fantasies. Abbott’s fiction hungers for more complex versions of these old types ... At times, though, Abbott mistakes reproducing noir myths of femininity for subverting them.