Today I am so excited to be on the blog tour for Sarah Bailey’s crime debut The Dark Lake. Read on to find out what I thought…
Title: The Dark Lake
Author: Sarah Bailey
Publisher: Atlantic Books
A hot summer. A shocking murder. A town of secrets, waiting to explode…A beautiful young teacher has been murdered, her body found in the lake, strewn with red roses.
Local policewoman Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock pushes to be assigned to the case, concealing the fact that she knew the murdered woman in high school years before.But that’s not all Gemma’s trying to hide. As the investigation digs deeper into the victim’s past, other secrets threaten to come to light, secrets that were supposed to remain buried.
The lake holds the key to solving the murder, but it also has the power to drag Gemma down into its dark depths…
The Dark Lake ticked all the boxes for a great crime debut for me: an intriguing plot, convincing and three-dimensional characterisation, and police procedural details, not to mention plenty of atmosphere! AND it’s the first in a new series, too!
Firstly, I really warmed to the brilliant DS Gemma Woodstock. She’s a wonderfully flawed female lead (the kind of character I always enjoy reading about) but she’s also sharp, strong and determined. I don’t agree with everything she has or does do, but she’s definitely interesting to read about! If you only really enjoy reading about ‘likeable’ characters, then Gemma – with all her angst and dubious decisions in her personal life – won’t be for you – but to those people I’d also say, who in real life is really like that anyway? She’s also the first in a whole array of convincing and, most importantly, interesting characters that end up being linked in unexpected ways, which I loved.
What sets this apart from some other novels of the same genre is it’s definitely a character-focussed/ driven crime novel; I felt myself being drawn more and more into the book’s world, not just because I wanted to know ‘whodunnit’, but because I cared about what would happen to these characters who had been so skillfully developed. Sarah Bailey’s writing is, for me, spot on – full of imagery without the language being too flowery and people who don’t fit too neatly into a certain ‘type’ of character – ‘baddie’, ‘goodie’, ‘sensible’ etc. They feel like real people, not caricatures.
The mystery itself kept me interested throughout; I really do enjoy following the steps in an investigation from start to finish, and The Dark Lake‘s slightly slower pace allowed for this, as well as throwing in plenty of twists and red herrings too. The case definitely had some dark elements which added to the chilled and slightly eerie atmosphere, and the novel finished with an ending that left me satisfied. Great stuff – bring on book two!
Many thanks to Anne Cater and Atlantic Books for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour!
About the author
Sarah’s first novel, The Dark Lake, was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin in May 2017 and in the USA and Canada in October.
Sarah lives in Melbourne, Australia and has two young sons. She has fifteen years experience in the advertising industry and is currently a director at creative projects company Mr Smith.
Sarah’s second book, Into The Night, featuring Detective Gemma Woodstock, will be published in 2018.
Follow the rest of the tour…