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Medea's Curse (Natalie King, Forensic…
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Medea's Curse (Natalie King, Forensic Psychiatrist) (edição 2016)

por Anne Buist (Autor)

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Forensic psychiatrist Natalie King works with victims and perpetrators of violent crime. Women with a history of abuse, mainly. 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. Anonymous notes, threats, strangers loitering outside her house. A hostile former patient? Or someone connected with a current case? Georgia Latimer - charged with killing her three children. Travis Hardy - deadbeat father of another murdered child, with a second daughter now missing. Maybe the harrassment has something to do with Crown Prosecutor Liam O'Shea - drop-dead sexy, married and trouble in all kinds of ways. Natalie doesn't know.… (mais)
Membro:aeclark2
Título:Medea's Curse (Natalie King, Forensic Psychiatrist)
Autores:Anne Buist (Autor)
Informação:Text Publishing Company (2016), 336 pages
Colecções:Box CC, A sua biblioteca
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Medea's Curse por Anne Buist

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Natalie King doesn't fit the mold of the orthodox psychiatrist. She sings in a rock band, rides a powerful motorcycle, has a strictly sexual relationship with a married crown prosecutor and occasionally messes around with her own bipolar medication. Oh, and she owns a speaking parrot. In her role as a forensic psychiatrist, Natalie works with the victims and perpetrators of crimes involving children. One of her cases involves a mother who is believed to have killed three of her children; in another Natalie suspects a father may have killed two of his daughters. When someone is stalking her and she receives threatening notes, Natalie has to work out whether this is connected to one of her cases or possibly to her private life. Content wise, this covers some unpleasant stuff. But the themes of infanticide, child and sex abuse are covered in a sensitive manner. There is nothing terribly graphic in this. It is much more a detailed psychological exploration. There is a fair bit of medical/psychological speak as Natalie has sessions with her patients and attends supervision with her mentor, Declan. The author, Anne Buist, is a clinician, teacher, and researcher in the area of ante- and postnatal mental health disorders and that clearly shows in her writing. I really liked this book, but I found it wasn't something that I could read quickly or in a leisurely manner. It required concentration and time. There was such a large cast of characters that I had trouble keeping up with all the details, how people were connected, who was accused of what etc. As I got further into it, all the different threads came together though and it turned into a well-plotted and exciting psychological suspense story with some very well-drawn characters. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the Natalie King series, Dangerous to Know.
Thanks to Legend Press who provided me with a copy of Medea's Curse via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Pet12 | Sep 30, 2016 |
When they say "write what you know" Anne Buist seems to have taken that advice very much to heart, especially when it comes to the clinical and working experience of her central character - Dr Natalie King. Hard to say about the Ducati, history of mental health problems and clothes sense.

MEDEA'S CURSE starts out in extreme acceleration mode with the back story of a contretemps on the steps of the Court, followed by an encounter with Crown Prosecutor (and later sex interest) Liam O'Shea, and the disappearance of a child. The father of the missing child was also the father of a dead baby, one that her mother had pleaded guilty to killing. That mother, Amber Hardy, is in prison, and both O'Shea and King aren't convinced she should be there. Hardy's story, her partner (and the father of both children) Travis, and his new daughter and partner are quickly expanded, along with that of another patient of King's, and from there the cast gets more complicated with work colleagues, fellow band members of King's, O'Shea as a love interest, the drummer of the band as a love interest, a mad cockatoo, the bike and Hardy's own therapist.

Needless to say, in the first half of this book readers will need to be paying attention. There's a lot of characters, a lot of back stories, a lot of interactions and a lot of health and welfare information imparted. King is a complicated person in her own right, what with her own mental health problems; a "friends with benefits" relationship; problems with work colleagues and patients; a strong sexual attraction to O'Shea (despite his being married); her relationship with (and tendency to try to snow) her own therapist; and a reckless disregard for her own safety - not just because she rides the Ducati.

To be fair though, paying really close attention might mean that some flaws become slightly over-obvious. Such as why she's somewhat blasé about her personal safety despite the increasingly threatening behaviour of a stalker. It's doubtful that I was the only reader screaming "security camera's..." for a big part of this book. Whilst it may be that much of the personal jeopardy elements of King's behaviour were not completely unbelievable, they did became increasingly frustrating. And then there was all that pet bird disregard. Okay if you want to put on your security system version of a nightie and high-heels and trip around with a candle fine, but somebody needs to think of the bird!

Of course it is possible that many of the worst of the unbelievable elements were designed specifically to show King's tendency for erratic behaviour. Just as her increasing concern, and involvement in the lives of her patients is designed to show the caring, considerate part, but it did prove a major distraction at points.

On the upside there's certainly nothing wrong with the pace of this plot, as for all it's complications and interwoven elements, it rips along at great speed, and King is an interesting new character on the Australian Crime Fiction scene. Edgy and difficult, complicated and unusual, she's got a lot of potential to be a very welcome addition. Perhaps now that her foibles and strengths have been established, and the pattern of behaviour and craziness established, future books will have a little less of the kitchen sink feel about them. Especially as it's hard to imagine that King's going to be spending any time near anything as mundane as a sink.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-medeas-curse-anne-buist ( )
  austcrimefiction | Apr 22, 2015 |
Women who kill – especially women who kill children – are generally considered to be the very lowest of the low on the scale of human evil. Perhaps that is why the theme has never been the subject of huge numbers of crime novels. Or perhaps the reason for that is that the subject presents a raft of unique challenges for authors. Challenges I don’t think Anne Buist overcame.

Buist’s subject matter expertise is not in question. She is a professor, researcher and clinician who has worked in perinatal psychiatry and related fields for more than two decades. But this undoubted knowledge has led to one of the book’s problems. It is, at times, packed with medical jargon and it makes a lot of assumptions about readers’ knowledge of the medico-legal environment with which Buist is familiar. I cannot, for example, be the only person who has no idea what this sentence means “The differential diagnoses to consider are Dissociative Identity Disorder – D.I.D. – and personality disorder, Cluster B“. Am I meant to accept this and similar pronouncements as evidence of “science” without wanting an actual explanation? Or am I meant to think I should know what the heck personality disorder Cluster B is and be too intimidated to admit that I don’t? In addition there are several passages that revolve around legal nuances I don’t imagine the average reader would have a clue about. For example the book takes it for granted that we all have an understanding of the difference between murder and infanticide. For the record, I don’t. Still. I imagine the author was trying to use her background to take this story out of the realm of tabloid journalism which is admirable but to complete the exercise it would have helped to have some exposition. Perhaps if the main character had not been such an annoying human being (more about her later) she might have had a friend or less knowledgeable crime-solving partner type of character to whom such things could have been explained (there was potentially such a character but Natalie and Liam had a lot of sex which left no time for discussing things helpfully for the reader).

The next challenge presented by the theme is to develop a story in which that theme is handled sensitively and, as far as possible, without sensationalism. To be fair Buist has done this but in achieving it she has produced an overly complicated narrative, some of which seems completely devoid of purpose. The central character is a psychiatrist who is treating four main patients, three of whom have been accused of killing at least one child. Each case generates a raft of discussions and interactions with patients, their families, other medical professionals and various law enforcement types that have a stake in things. I assume this has been done to provide insight into the variety and complexity of these types of cases which – again – is admirable. But oh so confusing. Add in a suspected Paedophile ring and a vicious stalker for the protagonist and I’ll defy anyone to keep track of the cast, their alleged crimes and the myriad of minor characters drift in and out of the storyline. The jumble of facts and people and bits of information you think you need to keep track of resulted in a fairly superficial exploration of the central theme which is the exact thing I hoped the book would avoid.

And finally we come to the problem of a compelling central character. This problem is not restricted to books dealing with the troubling theme of women who kill but I’m sure the subject matter does take some options off the table. It would, for example, be more difficult to write this kind of novel successfully with a male protagonist. But I remain unconvinced that Dr Natalie King is the best voice these women could hope for. To me she is more the result of modern publishing’s desire for its crime solvers to be unique, tortured souls who are not like the rest of us than she is the result of a resemblance to any real-world doctor. She is a danger-junkie, suffers a mental illness but doesn’t like taking her medication, has questionable morals, lacks self-insight, sings in a band primarily so she can shock people with her lewdness. And on it goes. Most worrying of all is her disdain for the ethical guidelines of her profession. Because, of course, she knows best. I can’t pinpoint the moments but my interest in Natalie King as a character went from “I don’t like her but she’s interesting” to “oh piffle…another quirk…whatever next?” to “I wouldn’t mind if that crazy stalker killed her right about now“. In addition to being more of a laughing stock than a legitimate character Natalie and her quirks overshadowed the women who I was more interested in.

I was intrigued by the premise behind MEDEA’S CURSE. That women who kill children do not necessarily present as uniformly ‘insane’ nor are they the vengeful enchantresses of Greek mythology. And they do, on occasion, need someone to speak up for them. I was even prepared to go with the notion that the person who would do that would, of necessity, be a little out of the ordinary. But the book did not really deliver on any of this for me. The relatively delicate handling of the central theme comes at the expense of the book’s central character, who couldn’t be any more absurdly provocative if she became a murderess herself. In the end it I found this a fairly confusing tale that lost sight of being a thoughtful exploration of an interesting idea.
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 8, 2015 |
At first I found the characters and events of this story hard to get sorted. Natalie King leads a complex and busy life working on cases where mothers have been accused, even convicted, of murdering their children. It is all made more complex by her own bipolarism, supposedly kept under control by medication, if she remembers to take it. What happens when she doesn't is frightening to say the least. Natalie reports regularly to her supervisor Declan who attempts to provide therapy and controls to keep her focussed, but he can only work with what she tells him, or guess at what she is hiding from him.

Things become more complicated though when it appears that at least one of the fathers of the dead or missing children may be connected to a pedophile ring. Most of what Natalie knows is told to her in confidence and she struggles to know what she can pass on to the police without endangering her clients, to say nothing of endangering herself.

Throughout my reading of this novel I could not get out of my head MOTHERS WHO MURDER by Xanthe Mallett, a true crime book that I read last year. MOTHERS WHO MURDER looks at a number of Australian cases where the author feels there has been the possibility of a miscarriage of justice. I feel that this book and MEDEA'S CURSE have the same starting point in the real world, with the latter fictionalising a response from real events.

Anne Buist writes with an authority and confidence that makes the reader sure that these things do happen, even if they rarely surface in my world. This makes for a gritty and noir novel, not for the faint hearted. ( )
  smik | Feb 28, 2015 |
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Forensic psychiatrist Natalie King works with victims and perpetrators of violent crime. Women with a history of abuse, mainly. 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. Anonymous notes, threats, strangers loitering outside her house. A hostile former patient? Or someone connected with a current case? Georgia Latimer - charged with killing her three children. Travis Hardy - deadbeat father of another murdered child, with a second daughter now missing. Maybe the harrassment has something to do with Crown Prosecutor Liam O'Shea - drop-dead sexy, married and trouble in all kinds of ways. Natalie doesn't know.

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