Book reviews: The Dark Lake and Into the Night

  The Dark Lake Into The Night

Gemma Woodstock series

The Dark Lake
Into the Night
by Sarah Bailey
Grand Central Publishing
US release dates: 10/03/2017 and 12/04/2018
380 and 404 pages


Buy the books

I’m realizing some Australian authors are great in the mystery/thriller genre. I recently discovered Candice Fox, and thanks to Theresa Smith: Sarah Bailey.
As I really enjoyed The Dark Lake, I decided to read right after the second in the series, Into the Night, to be able to catch up soon with her latest: Where the Dead Go.
I was fortunate hat my public library had both books available.

The heroine is Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock. I like her, how she works, and how she deals with her major life issues. Gemma has a little boy, Ben. She’s a great detective, but in her personal life, she’s a mess.

In The Dark Lake, she has to face the murder of a former classmate, a girl she used to admire a lot when they both were teens, and who, at the time of her death, had become a drama teacher in the school Gemma used to attend.
I really enjoyed the way we discover Gemma’s past with secrets of her own, and how this may impact the case. I liked the setting, a very small place in rural Australia.

I like Gemma’s down to earth style of work, and how the author shares her daily life with the readers, with her strengths and weaknesses. She’s not superwoman, and that’s really neat.
Plus, there’s really a great flow to the writing.
Both books are first person narratives, which for me adds a lot of strength and liveliness to the book. Each chapter has mention of a day and specific time.

I think it’s better to read 1st book first, because you understand better why in Into the Night, Gemma is now working in Melbourne. And why her life is even more of a mess. I mean, she’s REALLY a mess! I enjoyed less the details of her personal life, but it worked with the plot and the difficulty to solve it.
This time, there are two victims, first a homeless man, and then a young man, a very popular movie star. And he was killed on a street, during the shooting of a movie. With all the extras, there are plenty of possible culprits. Additional information point to many more possible leads. With Gemma, the author takes time to consider all possible killers. The pace is wonderful.

I found the following image quite neat:

Into the Night p81

Into the Night – page 81

Bailey’s writing seems different to me than many other crime fiction authors, as so much focuses on her detective’s own life and perspective.  Her workplace can be quite stressful, with a less than ideal team, but it can also become the place where she can heal and grow.

These days, when I hear so many people unhappy about their workplace, I also hope they can turn their crazy environment into a place of healing and inner growth.
Definitely looking forward to volume 3, published in August in Australia, not yet out in the US, I believe.

VERDICT: Slow-paced thrillers, highlighting the work of a dedicated but messed up young detective Gemma. A highly recommended series.

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Any other good slow-paced thrillers?



5 thoughts on “Book reviews: The Dark Lake and Into the Night

  1. Pingback: 2019: September wrap-up | Words And Peace

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