This week saw the release of Medea's Curse by Anne Buist, a gripping new psychological thriller that focuses on troubled forensic psychiatrist Natalie King. She is certainly a complex character and left me feeling quite ambivalent towards her - even by the end of the novel, I felt as if I hadn't really got under her skin and understood her complex motives and hangups, but as the novel is the first in a new series, I'm sure we'll get to know her much better in the subsequent titles.
The opening scene shows Natalie King being very bolshy and shoving people about on the courtroom steps, so when I learned that she was the "good guy" of the novel, it took me a while to adjust. She has her own mental health issues, she likes taking risks with her medication and she has a rather warped moral compass (seeing married men isn't a problem, or at least it isn't her problem, according to her) and this living-life-on-the-edge mentality made it hard for me to fully support her intuitions and decisions in the missing child case that she finds herself embroiled in.
She has a reputation amongst her peers for being a bit of a loose cannon and getting over-involved in her casework but her heart seems in the right place, even if her methods are at times unorthodox. One of her former patients is in prison for murdering her child, but Natalie is convinced that she took the rap for her partner, Travis, who she hates with a vengeance. When a child goes missing in suspicious circumstances and Travis turns out to be the father, Natalie is adamant that he has committed another dastardly deed and goes all out to convince the child's mother to support her claims. Throw in a sickening paedophile ring, a possibly delusional infanticide mother who wants Natalie to take her on as a patient and a series of threatening messages that start to arrive at Natalie's home and you have the makings of a chilling, thrilling read that will have you second-guessing (and quite probably being way off the mark) right up until the final page.
I found the first half quite slow and hard to get into, as I struggled to like and empathise with Natalie, but the pace really picked up in the second half and had me reading way past my bedtime to see how it all unravelled !
The author, Anne Buist, is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and has over 25 years' clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry, working on cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder, so she clearly knows her stuff. I'll be interested to see how Natalie's character evolves and I'm looking forward to learning more about her own deep dark secrets.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £8.99
I'm taking part in the Medea's Curse blog tour
Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to write an honest review.