Strong characters dominate crime story
SOME high school memories remain into adulthood, returning to haunt you about the person you used to be – a situation that Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is uncomfortably reminded of in this enthralling book. Sarah Bailey’s debut delivers a multilayered police procedural with strong characters whose emotions both assist and interfere with their work. The book also balances an intricate story of a community with an intimate look at detectives.
Gemma investigates the murder of Rosalind “Rose” Ryan, found in the lake behind the private school the two had attended and where Rose taught. In high school, Gemma was a bit obsessed with Rose, a popular but private teenager from one of the wealthier families in Smithson, Australia. The case also makes Gemma remember her high school boyfriend, Jacob Mason, who left her for Rose, and the secrets that swirled around his suicide.
Gemma and her police partner, Detective Sergeant Felix McKinnon, delve into Rose’s fractured family, her seemingly adoring students and her aloof personality. Gemma’s insight as a detective directly conflicts with her messy personal life. She lives with her partner, Scott, and their 2-and-ahalf-year-old son, Ben. She wants to be a good mother and companion, but ennui roils off her. Her affair with Felix consumes her, although she knows it could ruin their careers as well as her life with Scott. Her sometimes reckless behaviour also puts Felix’s marriage at risk and could turn his three daughters against him. Gemma’s flaws make her immensely human. -
THE DARK LAKE Sarah Bailey Loot.co.za (R338) Grand Central Publishing