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The Dark Lake

Book 1, Gemma Woodstock

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


A tight-knit community is shocked by revelations from decades past in this "enthralling" (Associated Press) literary mystery that "will keep you racing toward the end" (Lisa Gardner).

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.

Customer Reviews

Not a fan!

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey is the first book in A Gemma Woodstock Mystery series. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock lives and works in Smithson, Australia. Gemma receives a call regarding the strangulation death of Rosalind Ryan. She was found by a jogger floating in Sonny Lake with red roses surrounding her body. Gemma went to school with Rosalind and were once friends (as well as rivals). Rosalind had recently returned to town to teach drama at Smithson Secondary College. Rosalind was a woman who spoke her mind and recently put on an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (she was quite insistent about it). Gemma starts to dig into Rosalind’s life. Despite her popularity, Rosalind was something of an enigma. Why had Rosalind quit her job in Sydney and returned to Smithson? Gemma is determined to track down the killer despite the threats to her own life and that of her son’s. Will Gemma find the killer, or will she end up the next victim?

The Dark Lake had an extremely dislikeable main character. You know you do not like a character when you keep hoping the killer will do her in. Gemma’s personal life was a mess and it spilled over into her work. She is living with one man (father of her son) while having an affair with another man. There are numerous sex scenes and it seems to be all Gemma can think about (it was obsessive). Gemma came across as unstable. I do want to mention that the book does contain foul language (a pet peeve of mine). I found there to be a lack of action and suspense. The mystery comes across as complex, but the solution is obvious. The book seemed long and drawn out (lacking in suspense and action). The same details kept being repeated. The focus of The Dark Lake was on Gemma and her messed up life instead of Rosalind’s murder. The book had potential. It just needed a major rewrite and severe editing.

The dark lake

Great read! The characters with all their flaws were the real thing.

The Dark Lake

Interesting. I like the date at each chapter.

Other Books in This Series

The Dark Lake
View in iTunes
  • $6.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Women Sleuths
  • Published: Oct 03, 2017
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Print Length: 448 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: Book 1, Gemma Woodstock
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings