The Dark Lake: Book summary and reviews of The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

The Dark Lake

by Sarah Bailey

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey X
The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2017
    400 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

Rosalind's secrets didn't die with her.

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. Brilliantly rendered, The Dark Lake has characters as compelling and mysteries as layered as the best thrillers from Gillian Flynn and Sophie Hannah.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] page-turner that's both tense and thought provoking." - Publishers Weekly

"A compelling debut." - Booklist

"A satisfying mystery novel with a relatable heroine, if not a revelatory one." - Kirkus Reviews

"With clever twists and all-too-human characters, this book will keep you racing toward the end." - Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Right Behind You and Find Her

"The Dark Lake is a stunning debut that gripped me from page one and never eased up. Dark, dark, dark--but infused with insight, pathos, a great sense of place, and razor-sharp writing. It's going to be big and Sarah Bailey needs to clear a shelf for awards." - C. J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Vicious Circle and Open Season

"The Dark Lake is a mesmerizing thriller full of long buried secrets that sucked me right in and kept me up late turning page...Sarah Bailey has crafted an exquisite debut - I can't wait to see what she does next!" - Jennifer McMahon, New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People

"I read The Dark Lake in one sitting, it's that good. A crime thriller that seizes you from the first page and slowly draws you into a web of deception and long buried secrets. Beautifully written, compulsively readable, and highly recommended." - Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God and co-author of the bestselling Pendergast series

"I raced through this deliciously complicated, mesmerizing debut at warp speed. Sarah Bailey's The Dark Lakeis sure to keep readers awake far too late into the night." - Karen Dionne, author The Marsh King's Daughter

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

an excellent debut novel
The Dark Lake is the first book in the Gemma Woodstock series by Australian author, Sarah Bailey. When Rosalind Ryan’s body is found in the lake by Smithson Secondary College, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock wants to be on the case, even though it might dredge up some bitter memories for her. Gemma assures her boss that their connection was casual, and she’s fine to handle whatever comes up, but she doesn’t share certain facts that may affect her performance.

Rose taught at Smithson Secondary, and was loved by both students and fellow staff; she was a talented drama teacher and her murder occurred after a first-night performance of her modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. The list of those needing to be questioned is extensive: students, family, colleagues and nearby residents. Despite some excellent detective work, progress is slow and helpful evidence appears only sporadically.

Gemma may be a good cop, but she’s no angel: despite living with the devoted father of her young son, she has a sexual relationship with her work partner, DS Felix McKinnon, and that’s just one of the secrets she’s keeping. It soon becomes apparent that the townspeople of Smithson are harbouring quite a few secrets, some as hot as the summer they’re sweltering through.

Bailey crafts her tale with skill: she gives the reader a plot filled with jealousy, infatuation, passion, grief, lust, love and guilt. Clues are drip-fed to reveal twists, tricks and red herrings that keep the reader guessing right through to the explosive climax. With some gorgeous prose, she captures the small country town, the era, the attitudes of the residents with consummate ease. Her characters are multifaceted and easily believable, and their dialogue is what is heard in any small-town school, café, shop or pub. This is an excellent debut novel and readers will be hoping to see more from this talented author.

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Author Information

Sarah Bailey

Sarah Bailey was born in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived all her life and currently resides with her two young sons. She has a degree in journalism and has a career in advertising. She is currently a partner at creative agency, Mr Smith. The Dark Lake is her first novel.

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