Into The Night, Sarah Bailey
‘I know. My truth radar is all over the place.’
Fleet smirks but he cuffs me gently on the shoulder. ‘Truth radar. We don’t have those in the big smoke, champ. We just assume everyone is lying. Statistically it’s more likely.’
Sarah Bailey’s award winning debut novel, The Dark Lake, is one of a number of crime novels set in rural Australia which have been published in the last few years. In her second novel, Into The Night, Bailey takes a giant leap and transplants her main character, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock, to Melbourne where is she now a member of the Homicide squad. Although at first it seems like a giant leap, it’s not altogether surprising that, after the events of The Dark Lake, Woodstock would exchange the claustrophobia of a country town for the anonymity of a city. There is however a cost to this with Woodstock feeling a constant sense of dislocation and need to prove herself in her new role.
Into The Night begins in the early hours of a freezing winter morning. A homeless man has been killed by a single stab wound and Gemma Woodstock has been called out to investigate. Also in attendance are DS Fleet and DI Issacs, the boss of the homicide squad, and Woodstock’s nervousness and the uneasy relationship with her new colleagues is evident from the beginning. This continues later that day when they’re reviewing the case at homicide headquarters and it’s at this point that a second, and much higher profile, murder takes place and Woodstock and Fleet take charge of that investigation. The end result however that the death of a homeless man could be sidelined, and this concerns Woodstock. Added to this another ongoing murder investigation with a potential witness who’s frustratingly difficult to find.
I very much enjoyed reading Into The Night. Gemma Woodstock, despite her flaws and mess of a private life, is a character I’m happy spend time with as a reader. The storyline follows a nice arc and Melbourne itself is an important part of the overall story. Sarah Bailey’s ability as a writer to paint a scene is also excellent and in an early chapter, the description of the smell pervading the building, and the reason for it, when Woodstock attends an autopsy is smellingly accurate. It’s something I’ve personally experienced and it’s not easily forgotten. After reading The Dark LakeI recall Tweeting that I looked forward to where Sarah Bailey took Gemma Woodstock next, I wasn’t disappointed and I certainly hope there’s more Gemma Woodstock novels to come.
Sarah Bailey's acclaimed debut novel The Dark Lake was a bestseller around the world and Bailey's taut and suspenseful storytelling earned her fitting comparisons with Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins. Into the Night is her stunning new crime novel featuring the troubled and brilliant Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock. This time Gemma finds herself lost and alone in the city, broken-hearted by the decisions she's had to make. Her new workplace is a minefield and the partner she has been assigned is uncommunicative and often hostile. When a homeless man is murdered and Gemma is put on the case, she can't help feeling a connection with the victim and the lonely and isolated life he led despite being in the middle of a bustling city. Then a movie star is killed in bizarre circumstances on the set of a major film shoot, and Gemma and her partner Detective Sergeant Nick Fleet have to put aside their differences to unravel the mysteries surrounding the actor's life and death. Who could commit such a brazen crime and who stands to profit from it? Far too many people, she soon discovers - and none of them can be trusted. But it's when Gemma realises that she also can't trust the people closest to her that her world starts closing in... Riveting suspense, incisive writing and a fascinating cast of characters make this an utterly addictive crime thriller and a stunning follow-up to The Dark Lake.