The body of a popular and beautiful teacher, Rosalind Ryan, is found in the lake by an early morning jogger. The small town of Smithson is shaken by the turn of events. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock requests to be assigned to the case but hides the fact that there is a deeper connection between her and the murder victim than just high school classmates from years ago. While investigating the case, Gemma attempts to hide other secrets from the past that were supposed to be buried. As her dark past tries to catch up to her, Gemma’s present isn’t devoid of problems. Amidst the lies and secrets, Gemma must try and solve the murder along with her partner Felix. But can she do it without losing her own mind?
Crime fiction is my ‘downtime’ read and I read this book last month. I enjoyed the setting and the manner in which Bailey takes the reader on the investigative journey. Gemma is a complex protagonist and while I like flawed characters, there was something about Gemma that rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it had to do with what I was going through personally in my life, but I didn’t appreciate some of her lies. I understood the complexities though, her emotional detachment and some of her behaviours. I really like that Bailey has a female protagonist that’s not nice. Unfortunately, I couldn’t warm up to any of the other characters either. For instance, the murder victim didn’t evoke any empathy in me. And finally, I picked the murderer well before the end which then had me a bit frustrated about having to wait to find out.
It’s still an enjoyable debut novel and a light read trying to figure out whodunit and why. If you like crime fiction, you might want to give this one a go.
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Until next time,