I talk a lot about how I like to devour books, but this time I think a book has devoured me! I was completely transfixed by Into the Night, to the point that I felt totally consumed.
Into the Night is an absolutely perfect follow up to Sarah Bailey’s stunning debut, The Dark Lake. Of all the crime books I read last year The Dark Lake was a real stand-out for me. There are often concerns after a strong debut – will the author be able to reach the high expectations set by their first book? In this case the answer is a resounding HELL YEAH!
Into the Night is every bit as addictive and suspenseful as The Dark Lake. With her talent for weaving intriguing and multi-layered plots combined with complicated and compelling characters, Sarah Bailey’s writing is both keenly insightful and wholly engrossing. And if that sounds like a lot of complimentary adjectives to squeeze into a few sentences, get ready for more! I’m just getting started ….
There are so many reasons why I love these books, but the main one is because the protagonist, Gemma Woodstock, is just such a masterpiece! I love being in her head, it’s such a dark and troubled place. People talk a lot about the stereotype of the hardboiled detective – damaged and hard-living, burdened by a dark past etc. Honestly, I love it. It’s a description that fits so many of my favourite fictional people and I think a character like Gemma Woodstock is the perfect example of how a good writer is able to play with the tropes and create something amazing. Gemma is a genuinely enthralling and utterly authentic character. Flawed and messy and devastatingly human … she feels so real to me!
Into the Night sees Gemma in a very different situation than where we left her at the end of The Dark Lake. She has moved away from her small hometown to accept a new position in Melbourne. Lonely, wounded and weary, she is struggling to adjust to her new life while still haunted by the past. She has some difficult new co-workers to deal with and must adapt to a new environment. And, of course, there are new murders to solve!
It was a big risk to lift Gemma out of her hometown and away from her friends and family, plonking her down in a whole new setting – but it’s a risk that totally pays off! Into the Night strikes that perfect balance between the fresh and the familiar that makes a sequel feel different and unexpected, while also staying true to the spirit of the first book. It would have been much easier to keep Gemma at home but might also have felt stale and repetitive. Instead, we get to see Gemma in a whole new situation, facing new challenges, which is a great recipe for character development. Everything is grittier and dirtier in the city. Compared to the country town setting of The Dark Lake, Melbourne seems seem harsh, lonely and mean.
In short, Into the Night is very different from The Dark Lake. New setting, new faces and a very different kind of mystery to solve. It’s different and yet also the same because the writing remains tight and riveting, the plot is clever and intricately crafted and most importantly, Gemma Woodstock is every bit as awesome I remember!
Perfect for fans of Jane Harper, Candice Fox and Dervla McTiernan, Into the Night is a brilliant sequel to The Dark Lake and I am very, very much looking forward to whatever Sarah Bailey decides to write next!
Listen to our podcast interview with Sarah Bailey on Into the Night:
Into the Night
The riveting follow-up to The Dark Lake, acclaimed debut novel and international bestseller.
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.
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.