The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

The Dark Lake

In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of their high school.Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woods...

Title:The Dark Lake
Author:
Rating:
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:440 pages

The Dark Lake Reviews

  • marlin1
    Apr 21, 2017

    I've been seeing a lot of hype around this debut novel from Sarah Bailey, so I was extremely excited to receive an ARC from the publisher and Bookstr.

    A young local teacher Rosalind Ryan has been found murdered and left submerged in the local lake, with red roses strewn around. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is assigned to the case but there are secrets she wants to keep hidden and it's not just that they knew each other when they attended the local Smithson High School 10 years ago.

    I can't q

    I've been seeing a lot of hype around this debut novel from Sarah Bailey, so I was extremely excited to receive an ARC from the publisher and Bookstr.

    A young local teacher Rosalind Ryan has been found murdered and left submerged in the local lake, with red roses strewn around. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is assigned to the case but there are secrets she wants to keep hidden and it's not just that they knew each other when they attended the local Smithson High School 10 years ago.

    I can't quite describe this book, I found it very dark and atmospheric. It took me quite a long time to become invested in it but invested I did and I'm so glad I kept reading. Gemma is not a likeable character, she isn't bad, although her relationship with her defacto partner isn't working, she isn't spending time with her young son and she is having an affair....but I sensed that she just hadn't found her place in the world and is hindered with unresolved feelings over the suicide of ex boyfriend Jacob, in the last days of high school.

    I think my feelings changed for this novel when I realised this just wasn't a 'police procedural' to find who killed Rosalind Ryan, it was also a characterisation of the people involved.

    Most of the story is set in the present day, 3 weeks around a hot, stifling Christmas but there are a few flashbacks to Gemma's years of growing up and her feelings towards Jacob in high school. These are short chapters and don't overwhelm the story but provide a good understanding.

    In the end it was a very satisfying read and I once I'd got over the first impressions of the book I flew through the rest.

  • Krystal
    Apr 27, 2017

    I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this novel through a Goodreads Giveaway.

    This is an Australian crime novel set in a small town in New South Wales during a particularly trying summer. As with any small town, everyone knows everyone, though there are plenty of secrets. The murder of a local girl forces everyone's business under the microscope, and this novel is as much about those secrets as it is about solving the mystery of who killed Rosalind Ryan.

    I have to be completely honest

    I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this novel through a Goodreads Giveaway.

    This is an Australian crime novel set in a small town in New South Wales during a particularly trying summer. As with any small town, everyone knows everyone, though there are plenty of secrets. The murder of a local girl forces everyone's business under the microscope, and this novel is as much about those secrets as it is about solving the mystery of who killed Rosalind Ryan.

    I have to be completely honest, I disliked the protagonist, Gemma, from the very start. The reality was addressed before her emotions were revealed and the cold facts of her situation had me instantly appalled. It was unclear what her relationship with the victim was, and this aspect created a darkness around the mystery that admittedly made it quite fascinating. However it also made it hard to get into the story, as I couldn't relate to Gemma in the slightest. I had no sympathy for her or her struggles so all that held my attention was the mystery itself.

    Rosalind (Rose) Ryan is an enigma, with many characters professing to have known her but only superficially. As a teacher at the local high school she was loved by many, but it becomes increasingly clear that no one had any clue who she really was. There are subtle references to the past she and Gemma shared, but never enough for us to really sink our teeth into. Beyond being beautiful, we never really get a clear picture of the victim, which again creates a sense of detachment that makes the mystery a simple curiosity rather than something we can be invested in.

    It's obvious the crime has something to do with the past, but we're given very little information in that regard. There are never really any clues for us to play with, and the detective work feels messy and unsatisfying. We discover a lot of the town's secrets but none seem relevant to the mystery at hand. We meet a lot of characters but get to know very few of them. There's nothing to create attachment to any of the main players, really, which is a shame because with an invested element this could have been a ripper of a read. Instead the reader is left impartial, and there's little to propel the narrative. Even the mystery of the past seems patchy and the slowly revealed glimpses of it are unsatisfying and anti-climatic.

    The relationship between Gemma and Felix seems more of a focus than the mystery which was a little disappointing to me, particularly as I didn't approve of it. It made the story drag and detracted from the suspense. It made a rather long, tedious novel of what could have been an intriguing, fast read. This novel is all about Gemma and her tumultuous life, but there's little for the reader to relate to on an emotional level, making it a redundant angle. Even with her as a mother, we're given little to work with. Her relationships are ill-defined and we're given very little reasoning for the way she thinks and acts.

    I was quite interested in the crime and its relation to the past, with lots of loose strings revealed throughout the novel. Unfortunately, when the conclusion came, I felt that a lot of things were left unanswered or nonsensical in their inclusion. I just couldn't understand a lot of what happened and the resolution left me feeling impartial and unaffected.

    This is a rather ambitious story with beautiful prose in parts, but it's tied messily together and seems like it could have used a lot of tough love from an editor. It has a lot of potential and is still an entertaining read, but I feel like it missed the mark a little. Hopefully further work from the author will iron out the kinks in her storytelling.

    ***

    I received an uncorrected proof copy and noticed a few errors that will hopefully be picked up before the novel is printed for wider publication:

    -Page 154, the character Kai is referred to by a different surname

    - Page 221 contains an unnecessary comma before 'Ms Ryan'

    -Page 249 'she's walks' instead of 'she walks'

    -Page 276 refers to ground being particularly dry, despite the fact it rained the previous day.

    -Page 339 contains a misplaced \

    I'm not one to point out these errors in an uncorrected copy of a novel however as a proofreader I feel it's good practice for me to bring attention to these things. These errors have in no way affected my review.

  • Jodi
    May 28, 2017

    Along with 'The Dry' (Jane Harper), this would have to be one of the best novels I've read from a debut author. Bailey tackles the narrative with sharp, mesmerizing prose and not a word is out of place. Bailey has a unique voice that makes you sit up and pay attention. That, along with her ability to create characters that get under your skin, in a setting that is so real you will see it when you go to sleep each night, makes for something so very special.

    Before I go on, I'll admit - this is my

    Along with 'The Dry' (Jane Harper), this would have to be one of the best novels I've read from a debut author. Bailey tackles the narrative with sharp, mesmerizing prose and not a word is out of place. Bailey has a unique voice that makes you sit up and pay attention. That, along with her ability to create characters that get under your skin, in a setting that is so real you will see it when you go to sleep each night, makes for something so very special.

    Before I go on, I'll admit - this is my type of book. It's engaging from the word go, the characters are dirty and flawed, and the sense of mystery makes your gut churn. Just what I love to read.

    The minute I heard about this book I knew I'd like it, but I didn't know just how affecting it would be. I read this over the space of two days, and if it weren't for sleep and life in the middle I would have read from start to finish in one sitting. When I did have to put the book down the characters and the story stayed with me, fresh in my mind, weaving into my subconscious and not leaving me be.

    Some may find the main character - Detective Gemma Woodstock - unlikable. She's certainly prickly, but Bailey has, in my view, written such a brilliant character. I love a flawed character, but Gemma is more than flawed. There are parts of her which will make you feel very uncomfortable. Actions and decisions, both present and past, will leave a distaste in your mouth. She is broken. But not irreparable, Which is shown during her growth throughout the course of the novel. And it will make you want to read the next installment - of which I'm sure there will be one!

    There's nothing to fault in this stunning debut. All that's left to say is - go and read it. Now!

  • Stef (Noveltea Corner)
    May 24, 2017

    The Dark Lake is the debut novel of Melbourne-based author, Sarah Bailey, and it delivered on intrigue and pathos, and the harsh realities of grief.

    Local teacher, Rosalind Ryan, is found murdered, her body floating in a lake. Local Detective Sergeant, Gemma Woodstock, is assigned the case despite having attended high school with the victim, and the case is an interesting blend of personal and impersonal for her as she tries to unravel who killed Rosalind and why.

    The majority of the story is told

    The Dark Lake is the debut novel of Melbourne-based author, Sarah Bailey, and it delivered on intrigue and pathos, and the harsh realities of grief.

    Local teacher, Rosalind Ryan, is found murdered, her body floating in a lake. Local Detective Sergeant, Gemma Woodstock, is assigned the case despite having attended high school with the victim, and the case is an interesting blend of personal and impersonal for her as she tries to unravel who killed Rosalind and why.

    The majority of the story is told from Gemma’s perspective - with small minor character interludes that, while not strictly necessary, did provide additional insight and clues into the case - and she is an interesting woman: a dedicated - to the point of obsession - police officer, a mother, a partner, vulnerable and ambitious, and consistently stuck between decisions she doesn’t want to make and the reality of her past. There are times when she is quite unlikeable - which works perfectly for the story being told, because all of her decisions are based on her own self-interests and are very telling of who she is and where she is currently at in both her personal and professional lives.

    Set in Summer, The Dark Lake has the same hot, claustrophobic feel about it, especially as the town approaches Christmas with the unsolved murder hanging over it. There’s internal and external pressures exuding forces of Gemma to solve the case to the point where it begins to take over her life and we, as readers, begin to question her objectivity.

    This was a solid debut novel and a great crime book, with a victim who is so complex and mysterious that I began to question if she was actually the victim at all.

    (Thank you to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of The Dark Lake in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

  • Jo
    May 28, 2017

    Entirely and utterly pleasing from start to finish. I anxiously wait for the next book from Sarah Bailey!

  • Liz Barnsley
    Jun 07, 2017

    I really loved The Dark Lake – One of those brilliantly layered human drama’s that are within the psychological thriller genre. Sarah Bailey has created some memorable and relatable characters who will stay with me – especially the victim Rosalind who even after resolution will linger in your head and make you wonder.

    Gemma as a main protagonist is, to be fair, divisive. Haunted by memories of a past she can’t fix, living in a family situation she is not sure of and involved in a slightly obsessi

    I really loved The Dark Lake – One of those brilliantly layered human drama’s that are within the psychological thriller genre. Sarah Bailey has created some memorable and relatable characters who will stay with me – especially the victim Rosalind who even after resolution will linger in your head and make you wonder.

    Gemma as a main protagonist is, to be fair, divisive. Haunted by memories of a past she can’t fix, living in a family situation she is not sure of and involved in a slightly obsessive affair, when the beautiful Rosalind is found dead it throws up some difficult challenges for her that may be beyond her ability to cope with. I felt sorry for her and at random times annoyed with her – she is certainly prone to human error both in her working and personal life. This really worked for me I was with her all the way even on the occasions I wanted to slap her.

    The mystery element is clever, haunting and unpredictable – I loved the setting, descriptively speaking the author puts you right there and the surroundings added to the slightly melancholy feeling the narrative gave, that emotional core that I love to find in a book.

    Overall The Dark Lake is one of the good ones – addictive and intelligent with a heavy dose of drama and a twisted mystery that may well have you guessing right up until the end. Nothing not to love here.

    Yep. I’m a fan. Highly Recommended.

  • Bianca
    Jun 17, 2017

    It took me longer than expected to finish this novel, mostly because I was busy.

    is a good debut novel. A beautiful, young teacher is found dead close to the local highschool. The main police investigator is a former school mate of hers - Gemma Woods - who's a detective at only twenty- eight years old.

    I liked that the main character was an imperfect police woman, with some dirty laundry in the closet. Unfortunately, despite her being the narrator, I never really warmed up to her.

    It took me longer than expected to finish this novel, mostly because I was busy.

    is a good debut novel. A beautiful, young teacher is found dead close to the local highschool. The main police investigator is a former school mate of hers - Gemma Woods - who's a detective at only twenty- eight years old.

    I liked that the main character was an imperfect police woman, with some dirty laundry in the closet. Unfortunately, despite her being the narrator, I never really warmed up to her. There was something off about the voice.

    Around the 26% mark, I had an inkling on who the killer was. I'm annoyed that I was right, although I didn't try to figure it out.

    So while I wasn't completely taken with this novel, it was still a decent read.

    3.5 stars

  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    Jun 18, 2017

    ‘It’s amazing what you can keep buried when you want to.’

    A beautiful young woman’s body, strewn with red roses, is found floating in the lake near a small rural town. Her identity is quickly stablished: she’s a teacher at the local high school, named Rosalind (Rose) Ryan. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock was at high school with Rose, but despite this connection she wants to investigate the case. Rose has been murdered, but by whom and why? Why did Rose quit her teaching job in the city to retu

    ‘It’s amazing what you can keep buried when you want to.’

    A beautiful young woman’s body, strewn with red roses, is found floating in the lake near a small rural town. Her identity is quickly stablished: she’s a teacher at the local high school, named Rosalind (Rose) Ryan. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock was at high school with Rose, but despite this connection she wants to investigate the case. Rose has been murdered, but by whom and why? Why did Rose quit her teaching job in the city to return to teach at Smithson High School? Why was the body strewn with red roses: many people seemed to admire Rose, but no-one seems to have really known her.

    ‘Beautiful things are hard to keep alive.’

    Gemma Woodstock is an interesting, flawed character with her own secrets. Some of those secrets become apparent early in the novel, and while I found aspects of Gemma irritating, I liked her. Here’s a flawed woman, juggling family and work (not always successfully) trying to figure out who killed Rose. The deeper she digs, the more people she finds with a possible motive for murder. The deeper she digs, the closer she comes to revealing some of her own secrets that she would rather keep hidden.

    ‘Keep trying to figure out who killed perfect, precious Rose Ryan.’

    I thought I had it worked out part way through the book, but I was wrong. Once all the pieces fell into place (no spoilers) it makes its own sense. A satisfying read, which left me wondering what the future might hold for Gemma Woodstock. This is Ms Bailey’s debut novel, and I’ll certainly be hoping to see more from her in the future.

    Jennifer Cameron-Smith

Top Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.