Medea’s Curse is the first fiction book by Australian psychiatrist and author, Professor Anne Buist. A stalker is just what Dr Natalie King, forensic psychiatrist, does not need. She is already at loggerheads with Associate Professor Wadhwa over a patient’s diagnosis; Crown Prosecutor Liam O’Shea is dangling an interesting case in front of her nose, a case related to one that she considers a failure on her part; Married-With-Kids-Liam-O’Shea is sexy and charming and Natalie is only half-resisting her lustful impulses; she knows her supervisor, Declan Ryan, will disapprove of both the interesting case and Natalie’s poor adherence to her mood-stabilising medications; and her newest patient is setting off alarm bells in her mind regarding childhood sexual abuse.
What is keeps Natalie on an even keel (most of the time) are her singing gigs with the band, her very private warehouse apartment and a cheeky cockatoo named after Bob Dylan. At first, she dismisses the mildly threatening hand-written note, but as further communications become more intrusive, sophisticated and complex, Natalie becomes concerned. Meanwhile, she also begins to wonder if her cases, some involving mothers accused of infanticide, are related.
Buist’s protagonist is not your typical forensic psychiatrist: with multiple ear piercings, a Ducati 1200, a mental health history of her own and a reluctance to take her meds, Natalie King sings in a rock band and has an avid sexual appetite. Luckily, Buist assures us there will be more of this passionate and edgy new heroine.
Buist includes a funny and, no doubt, highly accurate description of a manic episode from the point of view of the person experiencing it. Her expertise in the mental health field is apparent in every paragraph, and mentions of actual cases that readers will recognise add authenticity. There is quite a bit of jargon, so a glossary of mental health terms might have been helpful.
Buist gives the reader a plot that is original and believable, with more than one twist to keep the reader guessing to the end. Her characters are multi-faceted, and none are quite what they first seem to be; her dialogue is realistic and the subject matter is very topical. This thought-provoking psychological thriller will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. A brilliant read.