The Dark Lake – Sarah Bailey

Happy belated release day! October 3rd was an insane release day for some great books.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

THE DARK LAKE by Sarah Bailey (released October 3rd, 2017)


My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!

THE DARK LAKE by Sarah Bailey is book one in the new Gemma Woodstock series. This psychological crime thriller is set in a small Australian town in New South Wales. With a murder to solve, this could push Detective Gemma Woodstock to her breaking point, and threaten to reveal dark secrets from her past.

The small town of Smithson is shocked when the young drama teacher, Rosalind Ryan, is found dead. Surrounded by roses, she was found in the lake, strangled to death. Homicide detective Gemma Woodstock, and her partner Felix, are on the case. However, this case will prove to be difficult for Gemma, not only because there are a host of suspects, but because she has a past with Rosalind. Secrets from her personal life threaten to come to the surface as she digs deeper into this murder. Will her obsession with Rosalind be her undoing?

This was a great psychological thriller, but it is a slower build and more character driven. We get to dive into Gemma’s personal life, which is a mess. She has a young son, Ben, and her loving boyfriend Scott. Despite that, she is carrying on an affair with her partner, and still harbors a love for Jacob from her past. Bailey does a great job diving into the past and how Gemma and Rose knew each other. They went to school together, but were never friends. Rose was the popular girl that everyone loved, while Gemma was one of the few that had darker opinions of her.

Overall, I can see this being a book that people will be split on. It focuses more on Gemma and her story rather than the murder of Rosalind. If you aren’t a fan of the more character driven thrillers, then this probably won’t be for you. This keeps a steady pace even though it’s a steady build. Bailey did a fantastic job layering the characters and setting the scene. Gemma is a hard person to like – she’s flawed and is psychologically all over the place. I thought this was very well-written and I’ll be looking for book two!


Do you like your thrillers to be fast and edge-of-your-seat or do you like the stronger character build?



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