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The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
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The Dark Lake (edition 2017)

by Sarah Bailey (Author)

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15321111,241 (3.47)4
Member:datrappert
Title:The Dark Lake
Authors:Sarah Bailey (Author)
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2017), 400 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
At least three people fell in love with Gemma, but I reckon they're the only ones who would. She's not a likable character and the story would have been better if tightened by a third. ( )
  Faradaydon | Aug 28, 2018 |
Sarah Bailey has written a compelling story that sucked me right in. In no time at all, I had to know the answers to all the questions Bailey raised, two of which are just what happened between Gemma and Rosalind when they were in high school? And who disliked Rosalind enough to kill her now?

It's amazing that I did find The Dark Lake so compelling because I didn't like any of the characters. The character I disliked the most was Gemma herself. I had to keep reminding myself that she was only twenty-eight and emotionally still a child. There are some traumas that occur during childhood that make children grow up quickly. There are others that stunt the child's emotional growth, and Gemma is one of these people. I deduced why she was behaving the way she was, but all her angst was too much for me. To Gemma, her teenage years were absolute perfection and she does everything she possibly can to ensure that she can't have perfection now. Oh. So. Tiresome. (And, oh, if only I could've dredged up some sympathy for her.)

The Dark Lake is a very well-written story with a smooth, fast pace and a mystery that is worth solving. However, if you're the type of reader who must have at least one character you can like and trust, this may not be the book for you. ( )
  cathyskye | Jul 30, 2018 |
SPOILERS

This police procedural set in Australia features Gemma, a DS, who is investigating the murder of Rosalind, a woman she went to school with. Gemma is still obsessed with the suicide 10 years ago of her high school boyfriend Jacob, who had dated Rosalind after breaking up with Gemma. Gemma regards Jacob as the love of her life and feels guilty because she wrote him a note shortly before he died purportedly from Rosalind, breaking things off with him. Gemma is living with Scott, for whom she appears to have no affection whatsoever, and she and Scott have a toddler called Ben, whom Gemma believes she loves, but not to the extent of spending much time with him. Gemma is having an affair with her married partner Felix, although when he breaks things off towards the end of the novel she wonders if he was using her - I think the using was mutual.

Gemma is not very likeable, although Felix and Scott are, but she is (we are told this) very good at her job. Nevertheless the investigation drags on and on - this novel could easily have been 50% shorter - and becomes repetitive. We are led to believe there will be an explanation for the mystery of Rosalind's enigmatic character, but it turns out she was a psychopath. While this did fit the facts, it felt like a bit of a cop-out.

I would probably read another by this author, but I hope the next is a bit pacier. ( )
  pgchuis | Jul 13, 2018 |
Secrets long held can be your undoing. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock finds herself investigating the murder of a high school classmate. Her story bounces back and forth between the current investigation and that final year in high school. Gemma found Rosalind an enigma as a classmate and even more as a victim.

In the autopsy room alone with her Gemma is taken back to that last summer.

“Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.”

“Our secrets circled madly around the bright white room that morning. Rocking back and forth on my heels as I stood next to her, I knew how far in I was again, how comprehensively her death could undo me. I looked at Rosalind Ryan properly for the last time before breathing deeply, readying myself, letting her pull me back into her world, and I sank down, further and further, until I was completely, utterly under.”

Gemma’s past and Rosalind’s are entwined; young love, teenage suicide, and now infidelity and forbidden passion. Gemma has to come to terms with her past before she can come to grips with the present.

This story is powerful, complex and believable. It is much more that a police procedural. Told from several POV we see the ripple effect a death can have on a community.

High recommended. ( )
  Robert3167 | May 12, 2018 |
The Dark Lake is the debut novel of Australian author Sarah Bailey. Gemma Woodstock is a Detective Sergeant in the small rural town of Smithson. One of the local teachers, who also happens to be an old classmate of Gemma’s, is murdered and the ensuing investigation causes Gemma’s past to come crashing back to haunt her. I can’t say I liked Gemma and some may question her morals but I didn’t dislike her. I was certainly intrigued to find out what made her tick. She was complex, complicated, obsessive and slightly off kilter. It was very risky having such a flawed protagonist however Bailey has pulled it off with ease. Gemma is basically a good person but sometimes good people can do bad things and unintentionally hurt others. Bailey weaves the themes of Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers, deception, lies and tragedy throughout the story. The story moved at a slow pace. There is a lot of moving back and forward in time with back-story filling in the gaps and building on the mystery. I was captivated by the prose. Bailey has a way with words that had me mesmerized. It is easy to lose yourself in the writing alone. I pretty much guessed the murderer but I couldn’t work out the motivation and it didn’t spoil the story or the tornado like ending. Another Gemma Woodstock novel is in the works and I’m looking forward to seeing how Gemma moves on with her life and to immerse myself in some more captivating writing. ( )
  Ronnie293 | May 10, 2018 |
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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.… (more)

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