Psychiatrist Natalie King is the expert witness in a vicious child custody battle, and the stakes are high. Getting it wrong means handing a child over to an abuser—or depriving that child of the only father she knows.
Is Jenna gaming the system, or is her ex-husband Malik as dangerous as she suggests? How can Natalie best protect the child? And now that Natalie’s pregnant—and still unsure of the child’s paternity—how is a growing preoccupation with her own lost father affecting her judgment?
Court dramas, cultural clashes and media backlash create an explosive mixture that forces Natalie to make life and death choices.
How far will a parent go to keep—or save—their child?
‘When psychiatrist Natalie King is asked to be an expert witness in a custody battle between Jenna and Malik for their daughter Chelsea, it’s the kind of low-key thing she’s interested in now that she’s pregnant…Anne Buist, Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, lays bare the emotional carnage of these battles in this harrowing thriller.’
‘Buist gives the reader a plot that is original and believable, with more than one twist to keep the reader guessing right up to a heart-stopping climax. Her expertise in the mental health field is apparent in every paragraph…Buist is certainly setting the bar high for her next literary foray: this one has to be her best yet.’
‘Forensic psychiatrist Natalie King is not your average heroine nor is Medea’s Curse a predictable by-the-numbers thriller…An intelligent, thought-provoking tale.’
‘Buist brings her considerable experience as a perinatal psychiatrist to bear in this novel, giving it authenticity and gravitas.’
‘An intelligent thriller.’
‘A harrowing and thrilling read, this mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat.’
‘The strength of this crime novel by Professor Anne Buist, Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, lies in its exploration of the workings of the Family Court and its experts…This book should come with a warning: you may never be able to look at your own children’s drawings in the same way again.’
‘Buist, chair of mental health at the University of Melbourne, is deeply versed in the institutional, legal and emotional implications of such a case. She has crafted a skilled and multi-layered procedural, one that is more about psychological than criminal matters, although their intersection is inevitable and crucial…Buist has given us a three-dimensional heroine and richly imagined scenes of conflict in public and private. Most of these disputes are managed within legal bounds. Buist’s insights into the enmities and frustrations of bodies bound to help children are sharp.’
‘Buist uses her own professional knowledge to present a highly-charged situation of suspected child abuse, differing cultural norms in raising children and relationships between the range of professionals involved…There is highly insightful and succinctly presented description and explanation of the pitfalls in such a case, where supporting a suspected abuser may result in a dangerous custody decision. The interweaving of individuals characters, their fears and motivations and their strategies to gain the results they seek makes for suspenseful and compelling reading…A book for the adventurous reader.’
‘A] well-informed, fast-paced look at the dangers in the child welfare system.’