Author Lynette Tait explores the frenetic states of bipolar disorder and unravels a murder plot within the African milling industry in this unique novel with two distinct focuses.
Struggling with the demise of her fourth marriage, Lynda Huguenot is dealing with major physical and emotional health issues and a flailing milling operation that has shown little return. Determined to move forward for the sake of her son, Lynda remains cordial with her ex-husband, Daniel, although hostilities simmer beneath the surface. When a business arrangement ignites questions about missing shipments and a suspicious hijacking results in Daniel’s death, Lynda grapples with her despondent and manic tendencies as friends and authorities intervene to uncover the truth.
Tait’s unusual premise weaves together a reality-based bipolar character portrait with an intriguing plot. The opening provides background regarding central characters and their business or personal connections. As the suspenseful tale unfolds, the author examines Lynda’s bipolar issues, revealing both physical and emotional imbalances and hospital and clinic stays.
The narrative includes notable but smooth changes from third person to first person as Lynda explains her condition. Conversations about relationships, sex and aging help draw readers into her thought process and set the stage for her impending romance with a business partner, and a plot twist in the latter part of the book showcases Lynda’s underlying strengths.
In addition to skillfully handling the emotional aspect of the protagonist, Tait artfully details the beauty of a mountainous African landscape where Lynda retreats for solace and higher spiritual connection; God and nature act as anchors during her internal storm. Bits of Afrikaans dialect provide a nicely grounding cultural addition. Unfortunately, typographical and grammatical errors appear throughout the story, running the gamut from misspellings to incorrect and missing words.
The Shadow Within offers murder, intrigue and a touch of romance that’s sure to please traditional suspense readers. Its insight into a prevalent mental health issue should also entice those looking for greater understanding of bipolar disorder.
Also available as an ebook.