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The Turnout

On sale

3rd August 2021

Price: £19.99

CrimeFest e-Dunnit Awards, 2022

Select a format

Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781405550765

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The mesmerising new thriller, set in the hothouse world of a ballet school, from the bestselling and award-winning writer Megan Abbott.

Dara and Marie were trained as ballet dancers by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters took over running the school together with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prized student. 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 their delicate balance.

‘Compulsively readable’ RUTH WARE

‘A book you will not be able to forget’ MARK BILLINGHAM


A twisting, turning story of revenge and redemption’ STYLIST

‘The feeling of menace grows stronger with every page’ GUARDIAN

‘Slow-burning and feverish, with all the intensity of a classic American film noir’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

‘Charged with foreboding, the novel throbs with gothic tension’ IRISH TIMES

‘Dark and juicy and tinged with horror’ NEW YORK TIMES

‘Dark and mesmerising’ HARRIET TYCE

‘This is Megan Abbott working at the absolute height of her talent’ ATTICA LOCKE

‘There’s no one who captures the atmosphere of a tight-knit hothouse world, in all its feverish beauty and brutality, quite like Megan Abbott’ TANA FRENCH


Imagine Black Swan by way of Virginia Andrews' cult Flowers in the Attic and you have some idea of the dark nature of The Turnout ... A twisting, turning story of revenge and redemption
Mark Billingham (2021)
Megan Abbott is one of the finest writers working in any genre, anywhere and THE TURNOUT might well be her masterpiece. Nobody else writes so well about the darkness and damage lurking just beneath an elegant and serene surface. Brilliant and breath-taking, this is a book that you will not be able to forget
Abbott's prose is dazzlingly precise and her portrayal of student rivalries razor-sharp in this taut novel
Abbott captures the blood, sweat, tears and rivalries behind the apparently effortless grace, to create a contorted and febrile world where pain is "our friend, our lover" and the feeling of menace grows stronger with every page
Henry Sutton (2021)
Megan Abbott writes at the darkest and sharpest cutting edge of psychological fiction. The Turnout is a completely standout novel of perception, mystery and style. It grips, challenges and delivers one of the finest and most disturbing stories you'll read in a very long while. It's also achingly moving. I loved it
All one needs to know about a Megan Abbott book is that it's a Megan Abbott book -- dreamy, sexy, a deep dive into a subculture that has been exhaustively researched. The Turnout is all those things and more, taking you so far into the world of a small ballet school that you feel the characters' aches and pains in your joints, your feet and, most dangerous of all, your heart
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This look at the darker side of the dance world demonstrates why Abbott has few peers at crafting moving stories of secrets and broken lives
Doug Johnstone, Big Issue
This is simply a masterclass in great storytelling and writing, an edgy and unpredictable tale full of nuance about the violence we inflict on others and ourselves
Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph, Best Books of the Year
The Turnout centres on a ballet school ... a hothouse ridden with suppressed hysteria, delineated so convincingly in Abbott's peerless prose that violent death, when it comes, seems not just plausible but inevitable. My thriller of the year
Harriet Tyce, bestselling author of Blood Orange
Abbott creates a dark and mesmerising world and, as always, is so brilliant at portraying women and girls and their competition and complexities ... It makes Black Swan look like a children's story
Hello Magazine
Another great read from best-selling author Megan Abbott
There is not a writer alive who is better at investigating the tension and threat of violence at the centre of women's lives than Megan Abbott-because no one else is looking at the violence from within women's lives, as opposed to outside threats on trains, planes, in windows, or on dark, shadowy streets. Megan goes into the heart of female spaces and finds the ugly in all that pretty, the dark in all that light, with breath-taking suspense. The Turnout has notes of James M. Cain and Alfred Hitchcock, but it's better because it's so fresh and unexpected, so wholly revelatory. I turned page after page, holding my breath in fear, and also excitement, about what might happen in this run-down ballet school, what blood red might be lurking behind all that pink. This is Megan Abbott working at the absolute height of her talent
Stephen King
Impossible to put down, creepy and claustrophobic. It's WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE in ballet shoes
Daily Express, Best Books of 2021
A story so intensely told that it will haunt your dreams
Tana French (2021)
There's no one who captures the atmosphere of a tight-knit hothouse world, in all its feverish beauty and brutality, quite like Megan Abbott
Heat Magazine
Intoxicatingly intense, with a frisson of suspense and lurking disquiet throughout, those feelings will linger with you long past the last page
This dark thriller will suck you in right to the final page
Keith Stuart, bestselling author of The Boy Made of Blocks (2021)
This is an extraordinary psychological thriller, that brilliantly delivers its narrative and atmosphere through the taut, damaged bodies of its dancer protagonists. The writing is so pungent, physical and sensuous you feel like you're right there in the room with these obsessive, damaged, seductive characters. It's like Dario Argento's Suspiria performing a pas de deux with Donna Tartt's The Secret History
Ruth Ware (2021)
Raw, real and compulsively readable. In The Turnout, Megan Abbott does what she does best - combining family tensions with simmering desire and burning professional ambition
New York Times
Dark and juicy and tinged with horror
Irish Times
Charged with foreboding, the novel throbs with gothic tension
Library Journal (starred review)
Abbott has a top-notch ability to reveal the dark undercurrents of women's relationships and sexuality. Her taut, unsettling writing creates tension through the slightest actions and phrases, and keeps the pages turning. This is clever, chilling psychological suspense at its best.
Ruth Ware (2021)
Compulsively readable