Book Review: The Dark Lake, by Sarah Bailey

A jogger discovers a body by the lake in a small town, launching an investigation that uncovers more secrets than any town should have.

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A murder mystery that will have you turning the pages as you try to unwind not only the tale but the lives of the characters. You are drip fed pieces of information.

This story by an author from Melbourne is set in a New South Wales small town during a particularly hot summer. Each chapter is written on a timeline from the beginning of the case to the end, but has pieces of previous related information interspersed for good measure.

The story starts with a runner finding the body of a school teacher on the edge of a lake. She has been in the town since being a child, always an enigmatic personality. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock also has many deep secrets buried in time that, as the murder investigation unfolds, keep floating to the fore. Like the lake, the darkness and the depth of the secrets held here will have you spellbound. As you put the pieces together, you wonder where the guilt actually lays and if justice could ever be done for all those who died in the passing of this timeline.

As you delve into the proceedings and life of the lead investigator, you will find her somewhat fractured life and personality drawing you into the heat and confusion of not only the summer where this murder took place, but also into those that have passed before and have built to this event. As with any small town, this story shows the inevitable closeness of residents and their families and the layers of secrets that haunt each one of them.

I usually can predict who the murderer will be but, in this case, was blindsided by the revelation and left feeling sympathy for the victims that were scattered throughout this lengthy confluence of events.

Highly recommended, the comment on the cover, “A town of secrets waiting to explode”, is a fitting taste of what waits inside.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  9

Released by: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: June 2017
RRP: $32.99

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