Into the Night…
About the Book:
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.
I was a big fan of The Dark Lake, it was a top read for me last year and I am thrilled to discover that Into the Night more than lives up to its predecessor. Dark, gritty, teeming with atmosphere, Into the Night is police procedural crime fiction at its very best.
Gemma has moved on from her hometown and we now follow her around the streets of Melbourne as she works on a massively high profile case alongside a new partner in a new squad. She’s just as damaged as before and I loved her just as much as I did the first time around. Gemma is filled with opposing forces: tough, yet vulnerable; craving connection, yet rejecting it at every opportunity. She wants a normal life yet can’t ever fully picture herself inhabiting it. Yet, I feel these complexities within her character hone her focus as a detective. They make her sharper, more instinctive, and more inclined to understand the depths and range of human emotions that come into play when picking apart a crime. I really enjoyed the growing dynamic between Gemma and her new partner Fleet. He’s another complex character and I liked that Gemma couldn’t quite figure him out. He’s a bit of a contradiction himself, easy to love and easy to hate, he walks that line with a definite air of not giving a shit about what anyone thinks, and I took to him immediately. I enjoyed this working partnership immensely, but Gemma and Fleet share many of the same bad habits, so I’m not sure if we’re going to see more of them together, or less.
Sarah Bailey has a real knack at bring her settings to life. This novel just oozed with atmosphere, particularly Melbourne at night. I had such a strong sense of place while reading, and even though I’m familiar with Melbourne, I expect that someone who isn’t would get a good grasp on the city and its vibe from the pages of this novel. I loved that whole anonymity that Sarah brought to the fore, not only with Gemma, but with other characters as well. A city teeming with people that never sleeps affording the perfect cover for those who want to disappear and be alone, be unnoticed, who they are stripped away and reinvented into whoever and whatever they want to be for the duration. This concept merged with the setting in a powerfully heady way creating a most immersive experience.
There’s an undercurrent of sadness bleeding into tragedy that runs through this novel, much in the way it did with The Dark Lake. It mirrors real life and adds a layer of authenticity to the story. What police face, on a daily basis, is front and centre in this novel, and reading it will make you appreciate their bravery in doing a job that has very real dangers at any given time. This is smart crime fiction, sophisticated in its imagining and its delivery. I’ve always enjoyed police procedurals more than thrillers within the crime genre and Gemma Woodstock is the type of detective an author – and a reader – can go the distance with (that’s a heavy hint Sarah!). The follow up to an outstanding first novel is always tricky, the anticipation of it living up to the bar of expectation, but we’re over that now. We have two terrific novels, the start of a cracking good crime series, and I’m excited to see what more there is to come.
Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of Into the Night for review.
About the Author:
Sarah Bailey is a Melbourne based writer with a background in advertising and communications. She has two young children and currently works as a director of creative projects company Mr Smith. Over the past five years she has written a number of short stories and opinion pieces. Her first novel, the bestselling The Dark Lake, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2017. Into the Night is her second novel.
Into the Night is published by Allen and Unwin and is available in paperback and eBook.