Dangerous to Know by Anne Buist
‘I have examined my life; but examining murder is another thing altogether.’
Natalie King is a forensic psychiatrist, all too familiar with mental health issues. Natalie has bipolar affective disorder and is recovering from a major depressive episode that had her spending time in a psychiatric ward. Natalie is seeking (temporarily, at least) a quiet life: she’s living in a borrowed house on the Great Ocean Road and has sought a low-key research position at a nearby university. Riding her Ducati should provide just enough excitement, provided that Natalie stays on her medication and keeps talking to her counsellor.
Natalie’s new boss, Professor Frank Moreton, is both friendly and attractive. Alison is Frank’s second wife, she is heavily pregnant and he is very anxious about her. Frank’s first wife, Reeva, died just before she was due to give birth. But Natalie has some history with Alison, and matters quickly become complicated. At the same time, Natalie is travelling to Melbourne regularly to see her patients, including a woman who is about to be tried for the murder of her three young children. Natalie is not looking forward to having to appear in court: there’s a certain prosecutor with whom she has an uncomfortable past.
There’s plenty of action in this novel: Natalie’s patient in Melbourne needs her attention, and she quickly becomes caught up in Frank Moreton’s world. And who is the driver of the car who tries to run her off the road as she returns home one night?
The story unfolds through Natalie’s point of view, with Frank Moreton’s perspective of events interspersed. And the ending? Some aspects were more predictable than others.
I enjoyed this novel: I liked the idea of a flawed, human hero wrestling with her own demons while trying to help others. I like the portrayal of a person with mental illness (mostly) functioning effectively in a world which is often not easy to negotiate for those with mental illness. ‘Dangerous to Know’ is the second book in the Natalie King Forensic Psychiatrist series, and I want to read the first book (‘Medea’s Curse’) to learn more about Natalie King.