Plot, pacing, a sentient sense of place and a cast of complex characters propel the compelling new thriller from Sarah Bailey, INTO THE NIGHT.
Last year, Sarah Bailey’s debut novel, THE DARK LAKE was published.
Critically acclaimed, including by yours truly, who wrote: “Bailey has created a highly plausible, humanly flawed heroine in Gemma Woodstock, a compelling mix of brave, vulnerable, ambitious and torn”, readers nation wide wished and hoped that there would be a sequel.
That wish has been granted, the hopes realised, with INTO THE NIGHT, a novel that cements Bailey’s reputation as thriller writer of high calibre.
INTO THE NIGHT has Gemma Woodstock now stationed in Melbourne, part of the Homicide Squad, partnered with the sardonic, cynical Detective Sergeant Nick Fleet.
Investigation into a homeless man’s murder in Carlton takes a back seat when the killing of an emerging movie star takes place on a movie set in the CBD.
The movie is a zombie apocalypse extravaganza, called Death is Alive, and there is a sly nod and wink to On The Beach, by the naming of the imported female star, Ava James.
Ava Gardener is infamously attributed to saying Melbourne was the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world.
The description of Ava James also alludes to other films- “despite her tears she tilts her chin in reflex with her handshake., with the confidence of a Bond girl.”
Like classic Agatha Christie, INTO THE NIGHT has a corps of characters that are suitably suspect – family members, spurned lovers, jealous film crew – and Bailey keeps them all on the boil.
Fleet is an exceptionally well drawn figure, fleet of acerbic, sarcastic and sardonic thought and word, and just as fallible as his partner in the personal fuck-up stakes.
I would have liked to see more of the character of Jonesy, her home town police chief, her superior and mentor, so nicely drawn in The Dark Lake, snatched from the claws of cliché by deft touches of irony and a prescient propriety, but that was not to be in this instalment of Gemma Woodstock’s adventures.
Despite the flinty Fleet and the rounded usual suspects, it’s Woodstock who is the bedrock of INTO THE NIGHT and Bailey continues to explore her heroine’s individual struggles as estranged wife, mother and daughter while plying her trade in the big league, building a career and navigating the pitfalls and short comings of her chosen profession.
INTO THE NIGHT is dedicated to the city of Melbourne and Bailey is adept at describing the diseased arteries of the city, the close to the bone habitat of the homicidally mundane
Warning: Pick up INTO THE NIGHT at bedtime and you’ll be reading into the night. It’s a cause not a cure for insomnia.
INTO THE NIGHT by Sarah Bailey is published by Allen & Unwin