Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Dark Lake: A Gemma Woodstock Mystery

Good Morrow!  Beneath the Summer Sun by Kelly Irvin is the second book in Every Amish Season seriesIt will be published on January 16.  Scone Cold Killer by Lena Gregory will be available on January 23.  It is the first book in All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series.

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.  You can get the prologue and first five chapters of The Dark Lake in a free preview (click here).  I give The Dark Lake 2 out of 5 stars. 

Thank you for visiting today.  What did the gingerbread put on his bed?  A cookie sheet!  I will return tomorrow.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader


  1. hi avid reader , what about your star rating for this book

    1. I give The Dark Lake 2 out of 5 stars. Thank you for asking!