Sunday, 9 August 2020

Book Review: The Long Shadow by Anne Buist

The Long Shadow
Anne Buist

Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication date: 28th April 2020
Genre: Crime / Mystery
Pages: 318
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

About the Book
Psychologist Isabel Harris has come to the outback town of Riley because her husband Dean is assessing the hospital—the hub of the community—with a view to closing it down. Isabel, mostly occupied with her toddler, will run a mother–baby therapy group. But on the first day she gets an anonymous note from one of the mothers:

The baby killer is going to strike again. Soon.

Then a series of small harassments begins.

Is it an attempt to warn Dean off? Or could the threat be serious? A child was murdered in Riley once before.

As Isabel discovers more about the mothers in her group, she begins to believe the twenty-five-year-old mystery of a baby’s death may be the key to preventing another tragedy.

My Review
Isabel Harris and husband Dean along with their young son Noah have temporarily moved to Riley whilst Dean audits the hospital, with a view to its potential closure. Isabel, a psychologist, is asked to run a mother-baby group. There is some dissension between the mothers in the group and all are harbouring secrets and fears.
A decades old murder rears its head via a threatening message and believing her own child may be in danger, Isabel starts to do some digging of her own. 
Isabel was quite an unlikable character for me. her paranoia was out of proportion to her circumstances. She was a psychologist but had so many issues of her own that needed addressing.
Anne Buist covers topics such as post natal depression, being accepted into a small close-knit community, Government closing a business that provides employment for many choosing profit over people. 
I'm finding it hard to put my thoughts down about this book.
What I didn't like:
Isabel was unlikable, jumping to conclusions and making outlandish accusations
Although a serious condition, I found there was too much talk on postpartum psychosis.
I'm tired of characters with mother issues.

2½ year old Noah felt like a prop, always being pushed in a stroller, or stuck in a playpen, or put to bed. He never felt like a real child. 

I guessed the twist early in the story.
I was left with unanswered questions.
What I liked:  
I loved the small town politics.
Bringing to light companies putting profit before people.
How the people of Riley stuck together when their livelihood was threatened.

The thing that I loved the most in this story were the evocative and beautifully drawn descriptions of the setting and the ambience of the Australian bush.

photo credit Goodreads
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. She works with Protective Services and the legal system in cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder. Her Natalie King series of thrillers is published by Text. 


  1. I’d say I enjoyed this a little more than you, but I do agree that Isabel is a mess.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts