MADIGAN MINE - Kirstyn McDermott

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

I don't read a lot of Fantasy - Dark or not, but luckily I've been steered in the right direction when I have picked up one of these books - and MADIGAN MINE is no exception.  What was even more startling is that this is a first book, yet it's very assured, cleverly paced and quite engaging.

This book is the story of Alex Bishop who meets up with his childhood friend Madigan Sargood after many years apart.  A very intense love affair follows, with tensions over friendships, time spent together and time spent apart.  Their affair eventually ends, but the attraction continues.  Forever.

There's something very believable about the attraction that Alex has for Madigan.  Despite the warnings of friends, despite the way that she takes over his life, but seems oddly to hold back a little from him, Alex cannot and does not want to let go.  He is bewitched, besotted and utterly in love.  On the one hand Madigan, in some ways as committed to their relationship, is also somewhat absent, often more interested in her increasing band of odd friends and her desire for control of everything and everybody.  

All of the characters in this book are extremely engaging.  Alex is definitely a victim, but he's not pathetic, or a figure of contempt.  His love and support of Madigan is beautifully written.  Madigan quickly reveals some complicated sides to her own personality  - a victim in her own right, a catalyst, a threat, a lover and an object of worship, a controller who is controlled by events in her own life.  It's actually quite a juxtaposition of typical gender expectations that works really well.  And there's a good supporting cast from the discomforted flatmate to the acolytes that surround Madison, all of whom lead or spotlight the main characters and their actions.

I came away from MADIGAN MINE really pleased I'd taken the time to pick it up.  Whilst Dark Fantasy at it's core, there is enough in this book to engage fans of thrillers as well.  Whilst the action and outcomes rely heavily on paranormal aspects - there is also a wonderful sense of foreboding and threat, combined with excellent pace and an overall thriller styling that really really works well. Combine all of those elements with a rather touching, and somewhat sinister love story, and this was definitely a one-sitting book.

Year of Publication

Alex doesn't know what he wants to do, how to connect with people or what's good for him. He drifts his way through dead-end jobs and fumbled relationships, unable to find a way out of the rut his life has become. Then he runs into Madigan Sargood and everything changes.

A ray of light shining from an almost-forgotten past, Madigan is beautiful and impulsive, enigmatic and passionate beyond measure. This is what it means to live, Alex realises, and to love. Never mind that she can be somewhat possessive. Never mind that his best friend thinks there's something wrong with her, something dangerous even. Never mind that the creepy band of misfits she attracts have all but taken over his home. Madigan fills Alex's life with significance; he will put up with anything to be with her.

Until, without any warning, she kills herself.

Now Alex can't seem to get her out of his head, and his world – along with his sanity – begins to disintegrate. Black outs and missing time, conversations he can't recall, people he can't remember. Is this the product of a diseased and lovesick mind, or can Madigan really be trying to communicate with him?

When the past threatens to obliterate the future, Alex is forced to take action. To save himself and those he loves, he must discover the sinister reason why Madigan took her own life – and why she won't lie still in her grave.

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