“Forensic psychiatrist Natalie King works with victims and perpetrators of violent crime. She rides a Ducati a size too big and wears a tank top a size too small, likes men but doesn’t want to keep one. And really needs to stay on her medication. Now she’s being stalked. Could it be a hostile former patient? Or someone connected with a current case? Natalie doesn’t know. And with another missing child case on her desk, the time for answers is running out”
Dr Natalie King isn’t your stereotypical psychiatrist. Young, feisty and attractive she is a far cry from Frasier Crane and our heroine in the debut novel from Australian author Dr Anne Buist. The carefully thought out plot surrounding Natalie and her patients begins when she agrees to interview the mother of a missing child, a case which has striking similarities to a former patient of Natalie’s currently incarcerated for the murder of her own child. Despite her initial reservations Natalie agrees to help and sets about trying to balance her already heavy caseload. Another patient has been charged with the murder of her three children and it’s Natalie’s job to decide whether the complex, challenging and infuriating patient Georgia is mad, or simply bad and responsible for her actions. Specialising in working with female victims or perpetrators of violence and often both, these cases weigh heavily on Natalie’s mind and she starts to question if the cases involving infanticide are somehow related. The further embroiled she becomes in them the more she starts to cross doctor/patient boundaries. Someone has started stalking Natalie and when the threatening behaviour escalates, she is left wondering whether it’s an ex-patient with an axe to grind or something a lot more sinister. To top everything off Natalie has her own inner demons to fight and would be able to keep on top of it all if only she could remember to keep taking her medication.
There is a lot going on in this book and it is clear that Buist comes from a Perinatal Psychiatry background. The book goes into great detail explaining various psychiatric disorders in-depth and is a book to be read slowly and carefully to enable you to fully digest everything that is going on. That being said I absolutely loved this book. Being someone fascinated with mental health I found this book a page turner that was hard to put down. I spent a lot of time trying to work out how these different stories were interlinked, and I was not disappointed. The characters develop the whole way through the book, cleverly changing your perception and opinion of them many times. To begin with, the unconventional protagonist Natalie was hard to understand but by the end of the book she is very likeable in her own quirky way, as the reader sees the full picture. The plot moves steadily to keep you hooked with every twist and turn in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the ending even with an inclination to what it might be, highlighting that not everything in life is black and white especially when it comes to mental health.
Overall I gave this book 4.5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who likes a thriller with more of an intellectual touch. The devil is in the detail and this book was full of it, I feel all the richer just for reading. Thanks to Legend Press, Anne Buist and Netgalley for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.