Life in the fast lane for forensic psychiatrist Natalie King grinds to a halt as depression take hold but as light begins to seep into the darker recesses any attempts to reinvigorate her medical career are potentially threatened by a nascent relationship with Frank Malosevic.
Beneath his handsome and deceptively unctuous veneer lay a man with a family history to rival the Borgias. His grandfather Antonije, now long dead, still casts a cloying and sinister shadow over the remaining members of this Serbian clan who have long since claimed a sleepy suburb of Melbourne as their stronghold.
The unexpected deaths of two pregnant wives makes Frank either tragically unlucky or potentially culpable and Natalie’s growing lucidness makes her determined to find out which. Anne Buist continues to develop her lead character, from her previous incarnation as the medical equivalent of Lara Croft in Medeas Curse, to a touchingly vulnerable and circumspect persona struggling to come to terms with a more risk averse outlook on life.
Evidence and supposition are amassed in equal measure as Natalie and her detective paramour work in a reluctantly collaborative fashion to breakdown the mafia style code of omerta still ingrained in a family whose adoration and fear of their patriarch leads to misplaced and warped values.
The mental sparring between Frank and Natalie escalates as the trail of death and dysfunctionality descends into a cesspit of biblical immorality with the list of suspects growing quicker than the emotional tumours created by the depravity of the Malosevic
Natalie’s tenacity to uncover the truth is combatted by the obliqueness and insouciance of Frank’s sister Mala and the mentally unstable matriarch, Vesna, but it is the operatic denouement that gives the plot a climactic and religious exclamation mark heightened by a lightning storm that seems to reflect the wrath of God as skeletons quite literally fall out of the closet as the main suspects converge on the labyrinthine hub of fortress Malosevic.
- Rich Review rating: