The return of Susanna Moore’s shocking and disturbing cult classic
Crime fiction round-up: new releases from Alan Furst, Harry Brett and Michael Connelly
Susanna Moore: In the Cut is a transgressive cult classic. Photograph: James Keyser/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
Susanna Moore’s In The Cut (W&N, £12.99) was first published in 1995, and the blend of unusual sexual frankness, pervasive misogyny and excruciating violence that helped make it a transgressive cult classic has lost none of its power to disturb; if anything, the reissue of this taut, controlled tale of the pleasures and perils of a smart, reckless woman in a city full of predatory men is even more on point.
Frannie lives in the West Village and teaches creative writing; one night in a bar to which she has unwisely brought a male student (who is having trouble with irony), she stumbles on a red-headed woman giving oral sex to a man with a tattoo on his left wrist; the man sees Frannie’s face but she doesn’t see his; she watches until he comes, comparing her technique to the redhead’s. When the woman is found with “her throat cut and her arms and legs pulled from their sockets” and the police come calling, Frannie finds herself strongly attracted to Det James Malloy and they begin a sexual relationship despite, or because of, the tattoo on his left wrist.