Book Review: The Dark Lake By Sarah Bailey

Secrets are at the heart of a good mystery and Sarah Bailey packs them into her debut psychological mystery, The Dark Lake.

The house turned out to hold more of Robbie’s secrets than I had ever expected, though I am sure there are many more that we will never know

The Dark Lake

Gemma Woodstock is a cop in Smithson, the small town in New South Wales where she grew up. She’s good at her job but a personal train wreck, which stems back to the suicide of her first boyfriend at the end of high school ten years earlier. Her relationship with her loving partner and father of her child is distant, she is sleeping with her married work partner Felix, struggles to be a good parent to the son she loves, and drowns her emotions in booze.

Probably I should move away, leave Smithson, but starting over has never been a strength of mine. I have trouble letting go.

The Dark Lake

When high school drama teacher Rosalind Ryan, who Gemma went to school with, is murdered, the small town is shocked. Gemma and Felix start to investigate the crime and the intertwined secrets of Rosalind and Gemma start to emerge. The investigation almost undoes Gemma in her effort to keep her own history and emotions separate from the case.

I allow myself to process the fact that Rosalind Ryan is dead. I suddenly feel startled to find myself a fully grown adult.

The Dark Lake

The book is a well written slow burner and hooks you in with a compelling and complex story line. It’s character driven with a well drawn cast who are easy to like and/or hate. The story shifts from the present to ten years earlier, gradually revealing the interlinking stories as the secrets are revealed.

Set in between a burst of mountain ranges, Smithson is a little oasis of greenery in the middle of endless fawn-colored acres of Aussie farmland.

The Dark Lake

I liked it enough that I will read the next in the series, Into the Night.

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