Review: The Long Shadow by Anne Buist

Title: The Long Shadow

Author: Anne Buist

Published: April 28th 2020, Text Publishing

Status: Read May 2020 courtesy Text Publishing

++++++

My Thoughts:

The Long Shadow is an atmospheric, tense psychological thriller from Australian author Anne Buist.

While her husband, Dean, is contracted to investigate the financial viability of the community hospital in Riley, a small town in NSW’s far west, psychologist Isabel Harris has arranged to run a therapy group for struggling new mothers. At the end of her first session one of the women anonymously submits a note: The baby killer is going to strike again. Soon.

Tensions rise as Isabel attempts to make sense of the warning. She quickly learns the missive refers to the unsolved abduction and murder of a newborn from the community hospital twenty five years earlier, a tragedy that casts a long shadow over the town. But is the note a warning aimed at one of the women in her group, or a threat to the safety of her own toddler son?

As this well crafted mystery slowly unravels, Buist explores a number of themes including family dysfunction, motherhood, racial and class tension, corruption, and addiction. I was easily ensnared by the anxiety and tension the author generated with skilful plotting, interesting characters and a close, evocative atmosphere.

The novel is populated with an array of complex characters, the most notable being Isabel and the diverse group of five women in her care, which includes the sister of the murdered infant, a police officer, an immigrant recovering from postnatal psychosis, the daughter of the local union organiser, and the wife of the town’s wealthiest family, all of whom reflect the tension that simmers within the small community. Isabel hopes that by developing an understanding of the group dynamic, she will be able to prevent another tragedy.

The rural setting of The Long Shadow, several hours from the nearest regional city, gives rise to feelings of claustrophobia. Riley is not a town that welcomes outsiders, and there are locals who resent Dean’s investigation who are not above using petty harassment and veiled threats as intimidation tactics. The sense of isolation is particularly heightened for Isabel who needs to be mindful of professional distance and is unable to seek solace in her strained marriage.

With a timely twist few would be able to guess, the story concludes with a burst of heart stopping violence and a deadly secret revealed. The Long Shadow is a gripping, entertaining and smart thriller.

+++++++

Available from Text Publishing

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melanie’s reads
    May 27, 2020 @ 06:50:49

    Great review

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Athira
    May 29, 2020 @ 22:51:58

    This sounds very good! I don’t know if I’m up for reading about murdered infants – that’s probably the only aspect of the story I’m not sure of but everything else about it sounds right to me – I love it when there’s a long ago mystery surfacing and when there are many protagonists who are differently impacted by some tragedy.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Helen Murdoch
    May 30, 2020 @ 12:56:33

    Mystery in a small town where everyone knows everyone and everything. Sounds so good. I am currently watching Braodchurch and that has the same feeling.

    Like

    Reply

  4. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out

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