Into the Night
Author: Sarah Bailey
Publisher/Year: Allen & Unwin, 2018
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.
Reviewer: Natalie Conyer
Into the Night is Sarah Bailey’s second novel. I haven’t yet come across her first, The Dark Lake, but this one was so engrossing I’ve put The Dark Lake on top of my to-read list.
Into the Night also marks the second appearance of police detective Gemma Woodstock, as complicated a hero as you’d find anywhere. New to Melbourne, separated from her small son, and given to hotel sex with strangers, Gemma is in a downward spiral. She’s holding herself together – just – but she’s got doubts about her partner, Sergeant Nick Fleet, and she’s still an outsider to the rest of her team, who are battling an unsolved case involving a powerful high-flyer. Then two people are murdered in quick succession: a homeless man and, in the middle of a crowd-shoot, a famous young TV star. There are hundreds of witnesses and lots of secrets and as she unearths them she discovers that nobody, not even those closest to her, can be trusted.
So many crime novels fall down on plot, but this is where Sarah Bailey really shines. Into the Night is an intricately thought-out, satisfying police procedural, and we follow Gemma as she, Fleet and the team slowly piece together the clues that lead them to the murderer. What could have been just another police-based story is made fresh by the characters, which are anything but stereotyped; by the many plot-layers, which come together in a believable and satisfying way, and by highlighting the noir-ness of Melbourne, Australia’s city of crime.
Gemma’s personal problems underpin the action, and through her female characters Bailey comments on issues facing women in the city today. If I have one quibble with the book, it’s that at least one of these strands is not carried through – but then, in a modern krimi, not everything has to be tied up in a neat bow.
Overall, Into the Night is a solid, compelling, worthwhile piece of work. Highly recommended.