The Dark Lake
Author: Sarah Bailey
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
My Rating: 5/5
A hot summer. A shocking murder. A town of secrets waiting to explode.
The Dark Lake is the debut novel from Australian author Sarah Bailey. Captioned as ‘an addictive crime thriller’, this author certainly has a bucket-load of talent. I could not put this down.
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!