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The Dark Lake
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The Dark Lake (2017)

Series: Gemma Woodstock (preview 1)

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3723149,806 (3.56)22
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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Title:The Dark Lake
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The Dark Lake (FREE PREVIEW - Prologue and First Five Chapters) by Sarah Bailey (2017)

Recently added byTrixieP, Arina40, ShannonRose4, PaperboundPeregrine, private library

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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Dark Lake is a mystery with an interesting case as well as an interesting investigator who quickly becomes obsessed with the case, It's a rural town with everyone knowing everyone and all seeming to have something to hide. Gemma is beginning to find that sometimes cases can really get too close to home. The only thing I found unbelievable about the characters was Gemma's son's father and their relationship....or lack of a relationship. I just couldn't see a woman this strong willed falling for such a wimp. Otherwise a really good start to the series. ( )
  Carol420 | Jun 26, 2020 |
DS Gemma Woodstock has a connection to Rosalind..the woman found dead in the lake. She is not at all thrilled about this turn of events as that is something she is desperate to hide. Dark Lake. is a mystery with an interesting case as well as an interesting investigator who quickly becomes obsessed with the case, It's a rural town with everyone knowing everyone and all seeming to have something to hide. Gemma is beginning to find that sometimes cases can really get too close to home. The only thing I found unbelievable about the characters was Gemma's son's father and their relationship. I just couldn't see a woman this strong willed falling for such a wimp. Otherwise a really good start to the series. ( )
  Carol420 | Apr 4, 2020 |
I fully expected to enjoy this book so I'm quite surprised I didn't. I loved the setting but that's about all. It was quite slow and I didn't particularly care for the main character so it was difficult getting through this. I feel like I may have enjoyed it a bit more had it been written entirely in third person. - and focused less on Gemma's personal life. Considering how slow the book was I was hoping the ending would make up for it but if I'm being honest the big reveal was a bit of a let down.

*ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  maebri | Mar 10, 2020 |
4.5 stars.

A stunning debut by Sarah Bailey set in Smithson, Australia, The Dark Lake is an absolutely riveting police procedural starring the deeply flawed but sympathetic Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock.

A police detective in the same small town she grew up in, Gemma is used to sometimes knowing victims of crimes she investigates. However, she is shocked to learn the murder victim in her newest case is Rosalind Ryan, a former classmate of hers. Gemma and her partner Detective Sergeant Felix McKinnon are soon stymied by the lack of evidence at the scene. Equally frustrating is their inability to get a sense of who the victim was prior to her death. Seemingly loved by all who knew her, there is scant information about her life and her relationships. Then there is Gemma's puzzling personal history with the victim which is slowly revealed as she hunts for Rosalind's killer.

Gemma is a brilliant detective but her personal life is a mess. She lives with her partner Scott and their young son Ben, but she is definitely not firmly committed to her relationship since she is currently embroiled in a passionate affair. Although Gemma loves her son, she is not overly maternal and she is more dedicated to her job than she is to either Scott or Ben. As the bits and pieces of her somewhat tragic past are revealed, the reasons for her fear of commitment become clear. Gemma is a sympathetic character but it is easy to become impatient with her lack of honesty in both her personal and professional lives.

The investigation into Rosalind's murder is virtually at a standstill from the start. Despite her family's wealth, she lived a seemingly quiet life with no friends or romantic entanglements. Most everyone at the high school has nothing but kind things to say about her, but the discovery of possible trouble at her previous job raises some very intriguing questions. An unsubstantiated rumor about Rosalind's involvement with one of her students is just one of the avenues of inquiry that Gemma and Felix explore as they try to unearth a possible suspect or even a motive for the murder.

The Dark Lake seamlessly weaves back and forth between events from Gemma's past and the murder investigation in the present. The search for Rosalind's killer often takes a backseat to Gemma's unsettled personal life, but these glimpses into Gemma's past and present are absolutely fascinating. Sarah Bailey does a bang up job of keeping the killer's identity and motive for the crime carefully underwraps until the novel's adrenaline laced and action packed conclusion. An outstanding beginning to the Gemma Woodstock series that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
I was thrilled to discover that this new crime series is set in Australia. I read The Dry by Jane Harper and loved it and after that did I want to read more crime novels from Australia. The Dark Lake is the story about a woman that is found dead in the lake, and for Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is this a case that will become very personal. Since she grew up in the town did she, of course, know Rosalind Ryan who was the same age as her and who came back to town a few years before. But, it's more than that. Gemma has a connection to Rosalind, but that is something she is desperate to hide.

This is the kind of crime novel I love to read, with an interesting case and a DS that gets obsessed with solving the murder and at the same time having a troublesome home life not to mention a connection to the victim. And, there are secrets in the rural town with everyone seeming to have something to hide. And, sometimes cases can get too close to home.

The Dark Lake is the first book in the Gemma Woodstock series, something that I was very glad to learn. I loved Gemma's messy home life and her affair with a colleague that threatens her life with Scott and their son Ben. Gemma is trying to balance her personal life and at the same time solving a murder. Not the easiest thing to do for her. I liked this book and I will definitely read the next book in the series!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Baileyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hosking, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.

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