Review: The Turnout by Megan Abbott

Publisher’s Description

Bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott’s revelatory and mesmerizing new novel set against the hothouse of a family-run ballet studio.

With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were homeschooled and trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents’ death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prized student.


Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, sidelined from dancing after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around one another, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker—a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration—an interloper arrives and threatens the sisters’ delicate balance.

Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible.

Thrilling Reads Review

A psychological thriller set in the backdrop of a ballet studio run by sisters Dara and Marie.

I enjoyed the tense atmospheric ambience Megan Abbott sets up in this book. There is a creepy undercurrent that runs through this novel featuring ballet dancer sisters running their studio and their students as they prepare for The Nutcracker performance that matches up the tensions. There is a fire at the studio and contractor Derek arrives, adding more tension and dread to everything that’s going on.

The book started slow for me, but I’m glad I hung in there because soon I was hooked with all the creepiness and weirdness that starts happening as the story progresses.

The book leans more towards literary fiction than thriller, but there is a lot of suspense and intrigue that takes place and Megan Abbott is an outstanding writer.

It's safe to say that Alan Petersen loves mystery and thriller books. He writes high-octane thrillers, hosts the MEET THE THRILLER AUTHOR podcast, and reviews thriller/mystery books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *