20 August 2010

Madigan Mine

by Kirstyn McDermott

Picador (Pan Macmillan Australia). Adult Fiction, Australian. Paperback, rrp $32.99

The story starts with Madigan’s funeral. Alex is sorry she’s dead but relieved the relationship is over and she can’t reach out to him again. He wants to leave the past behind and that includes any association with the “marionettes”, his name for Madigan’s friends and followers. He wants to forget the bad memories.

Madigan was the love of his young life, a childhood sweetheart. When her family moved overseas he was devastated. Many years later she returns, keen to renew their friendship. They quickly become lovers.

As a little girl, rich and beautiful, Madigan always got what she wanted. ‘Mine’, she used to yell. Now Alex belongs to her. He’s aware of her possessiveness but it’s not a problem for him. “Madigan, mine,” he thinks in return.

At first, Alex refuses to see that Madigan’s behaviour is often irrational and unbalanced. She has a genetic heart condition that could kill her any day and uses her fear of death to justify increasingly erratic activity. Alex readily believes her excuses. Because she is sick. Because he loves her.

His friend Ruth warns him that Madigan is dangerous but Alex ignores her advice. As Madigan becomes more irrational and threatens Alex with a knife, the relationship unravels. By the time she commits suicide, they have parted.

But Madigan has found a way to hang on to Alex even in death and her purpose is chilling. This dark and supernatural thriller will keep you awake at night but that won’t stop you from reading it. A real page-turner.


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