Category Archives: Anne Buist

Review: The Long Shadow by Anne Buist

Title: The Long Shadow by Anne Buist
Publisher: Text Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Write down something about yourself, as a mother, that worries you.

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.


Set in a small rural town in Australia, The Long Shadow by Anne Buist is an intriguing mystery.

Psychologist Isabelle Harris, her husband Dean and toddler Noah are temporarily living in a town on the verge of dying out. Dean is examining the small hospital amid rumors he plans to shut it down. While he works long hours, Isabelle is in charge of a mother’s group with five women from the local community who are struggling a bit with motherhood. Sophie Barclay is married to the son of a prominent family and she is a little high strung. Róisín Reardon is the oldest person in the group and she dearly loves her daughter but she leaves most of the childcare duties to her husband. Zahra Souri is still struggling in the aftermath of her hospital stay for postpartum psychosis. Kate McCormack loves her daughter but she is an emotionally distant mum. Teagan Moretti is still pregnant and wants nothing more than to be a good parent to her unborn child. From different walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds, there are tensions and resentments between the women that Isabelle works hard to push aside during their weekly meetings. The first gathering is off to an inauspicious start due to the worrying note that a baby’s life might be in danger. With a still unsolved murder of a baby from twenty-five years ago, Isabelle takes the warning seriously.

Isabelle is used to uprooting her life as she follows Dean from city to city. However, this latest move is the first time they have been sent to such an isolated town. Isabelle has her own difficulties as a parent and she still experiences anxiety over Noah’s safety. Their temporary home is isolated and she is a little jumpy since Dean works late into the evening. The stress she is experiencing highlights the problems in their marriage and Isabelle is hoping they will work through their issues.

Isabelle reports the note to the local police but she is a little dissatisfied with their response. She quietly begins researching the town and the earlier kidnapping and death of the baby.  Despite her growing unease after some worrisome events, Isabelle refuses to stop trying to find answers as she becomes concerned that someone in her group might be a target. When her worst fears are realized, she frantically tries to unearth the truth.

The Long Shadow is a clever mystery with a very atmospheric setting. The characters are well-drawn and the small town vividly springs to life. The community’s struggle to survive and the residents’ worries about the fate of the hospital result in fraught confrontations. Isabelle and the women in the group each make considerable progress over the course of their sessions. Although the storyline is interesting, the pacing is a little uneven. Despite a few unanswered questions, Anne Buist brings this engaging mystery to a twist-filled, mostly satisfying conclusion.  Fans of the genre will enjoy this well-written mystery.

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Filed under Anne Buist, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense, Text Publishing, The Long Shadow