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. Brilliantly rendered, THE DARK LAKE has characters as compelling and mysteries as layered as the best thrillers from Gillian Flynn and Sophie Hannah.
I started seeing a bunch of buzz about this on social media and some of the book blogs I follow so I became vastly curious to see if it actually lived up to the hype particularly as the author was being compared to Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins two of my favorite mystery writers.
Bailey has created an interesting yet flawed character in Gemma which helps as this novel is mostly from her point of view; there’s few things worse than hating the main character with an otherwise intriguing storyline wrapped around them. Gemma isn’t perfect and you may have moments when you’d like to shake her but her humanity does shine through enough you can still feel some sympathy for her. The way Bailey intersperse her backstory really helped bring the story alive and make various points seem more meaningful. The way she occasionally provides you the point of view from a different character added a cool balance but also kept you on your toes so it didn’t get too predictable.
The melancholy feel certainly adds to the suspenseful setting as you try to figure out where Bailey is leading you. I can definitely understand the comparisons to some of the best female suspense authors of our day right now and it’s one of the better debuts I’ve read so I’ll be looking out for her next one.
Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for allowing me to review this book.
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*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com