Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Title: The Dark Lake
Author: Sarah Bailey
Series: Gemma Woodstock, #1
Published: October 2017, Grand Central Publishing
Format: ARC Paperback, 400 pages
Source: Publisher
 
In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of their high school.

Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind's student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind's life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town's richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind's enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.

My thoughts: I'm always on the lookout for new crime series and this one, from a debut author no less, was exactly what I was looking for. I was fortunate to pick this one up at BookExpo this past Spring and boy am I sure glad for that...now I just have to wait until the next one is available - and hopefully that is going to be sooner rather than later!

As first books in a series go, I think this one was pretty good. I felt that there was ample time given to both the case and setting up the series itself - introducing us to our main players, mainly, Gemma Woodstock. Oh, what a fun character she is going to be to follow in this series, based on what we learn about her in this first book. She is flawed and complicated to say the least and has quite a few skeletons in her past that continue to haunt her from time to time. It doesn't help that the case she is called to investigate hits close to some of those secrets and brings a lot of that history up.

I really liked the way this story was told, the way it mainly stayed in the present day but occasionally took us back into the past to fill in some of the much needed details of Gemma's younger years. It was these threads that really give you that bigger picture and allow you to fully understand just what is going on. 

The case itself was quite the mystery and while I had an inkling of who was behind the murder, there were so many twists and turns that I kept second-guessing myself, thinking there was no way I could be right. But, lo and behold, I was - though this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this book. If anything, as the book continued, and other things kept happening, I sort of forgot about who I had originally suspected until the end...I was that caught up with everything else!

I really am looking forward to seeing where this series goes next. I think I am going to enjoy following Gemma as she continues to grow as a character - there is definitely more to explore with her than what we have learned about her so far. I do think, though, since this is more of a character-driven mystery than plot-driven mystery, this is going to be the type of series that really does beg to be read in order for the character development alone, so get on the train now before book 2 is even out - you will not be sorry!


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1 comment

  1. I just finished this book too and thought it was a good start to the series.

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