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 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.

The Dark Lake Details

TitleThe Dark Lake
Author
FormatPaperback
ReleaseJun 1st, 2017
PublisherAllen & Unwin
Number of pages440 pages
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Fiction

The Dark Lake Review

  • Liz Barnsley
    June 7, 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.
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  • 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!
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  • 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.)
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  • Krystal
    April 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.
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  • marlin1
    April 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.
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  • Jo
    May 28, 2017
    Entirely and utterly pleasing from start to finish. I anxiously wait for the next book from Sarah Bailey!
  • BellaB2
    April 2, 2017
    “The Dark Lake” is an excellent crime novel that uses many tropes familiar to the genre, but also injects enough originality to feel fresh. Importantly, it keeps you wondering about the central mystery – who murdered Rose Ryan – yet when it becomes clear, close to the end, it feels like it should have been obvious all along. The outcome is credible and believable.Gemma Woodstock is the police officer tasked with finding the murderer. She grew up in this relatively small town, and early on her se “The Dark Lake” is an excellent crime novel that uses many tropes familiar to the genre, but also injects enough originality to feel fresh. Importantly, it keeps you wondering about the central mystery – who murdered Rose Ryan – yet when it becomes clear, close to the end, it feels like it should have been obvious all along. The outcome is credible and believable.Gemma Woodstock is the police officer tasked with finding the murderer. She grew up in this relatively small town, and early on her senior officer observes that anyone who grew up there is occasionally going to have links or connections to cases they investigate. Here, however, Gemma has concealed just how strong her links to the murdered woman are, and just what an impact the case is having on her. Perhaps she shouldn’t be the lead investigator, despite her talents; and so she lies to everyone, unable to remove herself from the case.Gemma is the archetypal detective – she drinks too much, she’s having an affair, her relationship with her (public) partner is rocky, she’s not always the greatest mother. As you delve below that, she becomes much more interesting. Her ambiguity about parenthood is something rarely explored in this context, and the reasons for her rocky relationship much more complex than being due to an affair conducted from boredom.This is an atmospheric and brooding novel; although set in contemporary Australia, there’s a timelessness about this that makes it feel like it could be set in almost any era, in almost any small town. Many readers will feel they recognise it.This is a powerful novel with strong characters and a strong plot which is a vehicle for examining relationships and the impact of past trauma. Fans of the crime genre should love this, but it should also appeal to readers looking for a realistic and complex exploration of character and relationships.
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  • Ash
    March 26, 2017
    I received this book for free in a goodreads giveaway. And of all of them so far, this is the hardest one to find something to say about--which is not in itself a criticism, of course.Look, The Dark Lake isn't going to revolutionise crime novels or anything, but it's a solid, engaging, well-written read. The narrator is deeply flawed but never offputting, the town and its heat and its internal politics are rendered with great clarity, and the mystery itself is clever, though that's not personall I received this book for free in a goodreads giveaway. And of all of them so far, this is the hardest one to find something to say about--which is not in itself a criticism, of course.Look, The Dark Lake isn't going to revolutionise crime novels or anything, but it's a solid, engaging, well-written read. The narrator is deeply flawed but never offputting, the town and its heat and its internal politics are rendered with great clarity, and the mystery itself is clever, though that's not personally why I read this sort of thing. It's all about the journey, as they say. An insufferable statement, but a true one.Actually, there were a few moments within this book, strangely in the sections where the narrative shifts perspectives just for an odd chapter every now and then, where some emotion rose in my chest and my face, from the perfectly rendered grief, the dislocation in time and space it causes, the distance and the flailing for a grip. Not once throughout did I feel that the story was an obvious fumbling debut of a book. It's assured, a little overdone at points, but mostly well-handled and well-executed.
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  • Wendy
    March 18, 2017
    For a debut novel, this Australian thriller was really good. The characters were believable and the plot caught my attention from the beginning. I found the ending was rather abrupt but there was a good twist which tied the whole story together. Gemma, the main character wasn't the most likeable of characters as she couldn't really let go of the past and a lot of the story seemed to dwell on her constant searching for happiness.When a beautiful teacher is found dead in a lake, Gem, a detective i For a debut novel, this Australian thriller was really good. The characters were believable and the plot caught my attention from the beginning. I found the ending was rather abrupt but there was a good twist which tied the whole story together. Gemma, the main character wasn't the most likeable of characters as she couldn't really let go of the past and a lot of the story seemed to dwell on her constant searching for happiness.When a beautiful teacher is found dead in a lake, Gem, a detective is called in to investigate. Gem knew the girl though as she was linked to her own past. Together with her partner Felix, whom she was having an affair with, they work on solving the crime.The author has a great way with words and I am sure her future novels will be just as successful as this one. Well done!
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  • Alyssa
    March 17, 2017
    I loved reading this book. Anybody who enjoys watching shows like Broadchurch should definitely read this book. Nail biter the whole way through
  • Ann
    June 5, 2017
    I liked this story. The hero, Gemma is a police detective that has flaws and regrets. In other words, she's human. She has built her career by staying in her hometown and the latest case has her investigating the murder of an old classmate. As Gemma investigates she worries that a few of her high school secrets may be revealed. A well written police drama with lots of personal and local color thrown into the mix. Has all the needed elements to have Gemma return and become part of a series as she I liked this story. The hero, Gemma is a police detective that has flaws and regrets. In other words, she's human. She has built her career by staying in her hometown and the latest case has her investigating the murder of an old classmate. As Gemma investigates she worries that a few of her high school secrets may be revealed. A well written police drama with lots of personal and local color thrown into the mix. Has all the needed elements to have Gemma return and become part of a series as she accepts the past and grows.
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  • Tony Nielsen
    May 12, 2017
    It's hard to believe that The Dark Lake is Sarah Bailey's debut novel because it's so good. Sarah is a young writer out of Melbourne, Australia, and on the strength of The Dark Lake she has a very bright future ahead of her.The narrator of the story is detective sargeant Gemma Woodstock. Gemma has a partner named Scott, a young son named Ben, and she is in the midst of an secret affair with her fellow cop, and detective partner, Felix.As a detective Gemma has already established a reputation as It's hard to believe that The Dark Lake is Sarah Bailey's debut novel because it's so good. Sarah is a young writer out of Melbourne, Australia, and on the strength of The Dark Lake she has a very bright future ahead of her.The narrator of the story is detective sargeant Gemma Woodstock. Gemma has a partner named Scott, a young son named Ben, and she is in the midst of an secret affair with her fellow cop, and detective partner, Felix.As a detective Gemma has already established a reputation as a go-getter but she also has confidence issues, even though she is back in the small New South Wales town in which she grew up. When a local school teacher is found strangled and bludgeoned to death Gemma and Felix are the lead team charged with solving the murder. For Gemma it's even more complicated because she went to school with the slain woman, Rosalind, and they had a history.Sarah Bailey does a brilliant job of creating real and genuine characters, a whodunnit plot that changes from page to page and a believable storyline of Gemma's conflicts. A top notch debut from an exciting new talent.
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  • Anne
    May 22, 2017
    4 stars.I really enjoyed this book. Although, it was stretched out with unnecessary detail in some parts.
  • Ruth Barnsley
    May 14, 2017
    This was an awesome story had me guessing right to the end 👍😎💕loved it and I would read more of Sarah's books 📚 Thankyou for this book I won through goodreads looking forward to seeing more of Sarah Baileys stories
  • Jay Dwight
    March 30, 2017
    Really enjoyed this novel from a debut author. A school teacher is found murdered in the town lake, her body strewn with roses. Local policewoman Gemma Woodstock, a school friend of the victim years before, is assigned the case. A narrative that totally engaged me, I'd call this a slow burn - we follow the investigation in detail, as the mystery slowly reveals itself. Not a story with many twists and turns, rather a story that felt very real, from both a character and storyline point of view.
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  • Tegan Hogan
    March 14, 2017
    Thanks to Bookstr for my ARCThis book was much needed. After a few weeks of page turning fast paced books that kept me up all hours too finish and left my family neglected, it was good to have a light read thats pace was slower.While this wasnt a page turner, it was a really good story and the characters easy to follow.A girls body is found in the lake. Gemma and Felix are the police assigned to the case and Gemma knows the deceased. The case brings up the past for Gemma but its not full of twis Thanks to Bookstr for my ARCThis book was much needed. After a few weeks of page turning fast paced books that kept me up all hours too finish and left my family neglected, it was good to have a light read thats pace was slower.While this wasnt a page turner, it was a really good story and the characters easy to follow.A girls body is found in the lake. Gemma and Felix are the police assigned to the case and Gemma knows the deceased. The case brings up the past for Gemma but its not full of twists. Its a great read.The story kept me entertained and i would read it again
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  • Kaycee
    March 13, 2017
    Really undecided as to whether or not I actually enjoyed it. the main character was downright confusing at times, and made me wonder if people actually had thought processes like this. I just don't know. I do know that I ended up calling the ending, so yay me?
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  • Jen
    June 13, 2017
    A debut novel by Sarah Bailey, The Dark Lake provides a compelling psychological drama.DS Gemma Woodstock is a complex and not always entirely likable character. Her mother's death when she was thirteen and her boyfriend's suicide a few years later cast a pall on several aspects of her life. Her job is extremely important to her; she likes the details of investigation and is respected and valued by her boss. On the other hand, Gemma often seems insensitive, callous, or needy, and the decisions i A debut novel by Sarah Bailey, The Dark Lake provides a compelling psychological drama.DS Gemma Woodstock is a complex and not always entirely likable character. Her mother's death when she was thirteen and her boyfriend's suicide a few years later cast a pall on several aspects of her life. Her job is extremely important to her; she likes the details of investigation and is respected and valued by her boss. On the other hand, Gemma often seems insensitive, callous, or needy, and the decisions in her private life are often questionable.The discovery of the body of Roselind Ryan, an enigmatic young teacher, shocks the community. Rose and Gemma were high school classmates, but not friends. Rose was the kind of person who charmed and intrigued others: beautiful, elusive, very private. Gemma and her partner Felix are beset with a litany of questions, but few answers. Who would want to hurt Rose Ryan? What brought Rose back to her hometown? Is there anyone at all who had a close relationship, a more than superficial knowledge of Rose? Certainly not her family or her colleagues. Rose's murder and the subsequent investigation have an emotional effect on Gemma, reviving memories of the past. The puzzle of Rose Ryan consumes her, but Gemma has some secrets of her own, past and present, that she is keeping.An impressive first novel--a gripping psychological police procedural. Well-written and deftly plotted. Recommended. :)Read in June; A Garden Carried in the Pocket post scheduled for Sept. 14NetGalley/Grand Central PressPsychological/Police Procedural. Oct. 3, 2017. Print length: 400 pages.
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  • Amy Morgan
    May 30, 2017
    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. What a great debut novel by Sarah Bailey! This story is set in a small Australian city where a beloved teacher has just been found murdered. Gemma a local detective not only knows the victim but has a dirty little secret from her past that she needs to keep covered up during her investigation into her old schoolmate's death. A great storyline, fast paced enough to keep you enthralled but also a well developed plot and characters. I look forwar Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. What a great debut novel by Sarah Bailey! This story is set in a small Australian city where a beloved teacher has just been found murdered. Gemma a local detective not only knows the victim but has a dirty little secret from her past that she needs to keep covered up during her investigation into her old schoolmate's death. A great storyline, fast paced enough to keep you enthralled but also a well developed plot and characters. I look forward to seeing what is to come next from Ms. Bailey!
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  • Michele
    May 22, 2017
    http://www.thingsmadefromletters.com/...
  • Anna
    June 13, 2017
    "In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French"Nope, stop right there. The Tana French reference as part of the blurb really set this one up for failure, because Tana French is incredible with character development. Therefore, I had high expectations for the protagonist (Gemma) that did not measure up. I never felt like I knew her, I just knew things about her which is decidedly different from French's novels. I get it, Gemma loves her son and is having an affair. Beyond that, I "In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French"Nope, stop right there. The Tana French reference as part of the blurb really set this one up for failure, because Tana French is incredible with character development. Therefore, I had high expectations for the protagonist (Gemma) that did not measure up. I never felt like I knew her, I just knew things about her which is decidedly different from French's novels. I get it, Gemma loves her son and is having an affair. Beyond that, I didn't get the best sense of who she is as a person. Additionally, Rosalind never gets developed at all which I guess is the point; she's supposed to be ambiguous. Finally, I found the climax to be anti-climactic as well. I know these are a lot of criticisms but I did enjoy the slow build-up of the book, the atmospheric gossip-y small town setting, and the writing itself. I'm comfortably giving it 3 stars for "I liked it" but it wasn't anything that will stand out for me in terms of excellence. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC!
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  • Sami Paul
    June 11, 2017
    Not bad for an aussie 'whodunit'. Very mild in violence which sucked but I was hooked until the end. Not my favourite crime novel but the author is an aussie newb so I feel I've got to cheer her on for her efforts
  • Cathy
    June 5, 2017
    A flawed character makes for good reading. I really liked this crime novel and I like the way it is a drama, like real life. This is a debut and another fantastic Australian author to follow. Will look for her next book.
  • Stephanie
    June 11, 2017
    Took me a minute to realize how she was portraying the main character- however it kept me intrigued. Good book and a page turner.
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