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Into The Night
Gemma Woodstock # 2
BY Sarah Bailey

Grand Central
Dec 4, 2018/ ISBN 9781538759950

Reviewed by  Elise Cooper

Into The Night by Sarah Bailey has Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock returning in this follow up to The Dark Lake. A very interesting aspect to the plot is how a celebrity gets all the attention in today’s society, while someone who is not famous is quickly dismissed.

Bailey noted, “I read about accidental deaths that are eventually ruled as homicides. I imagined what if there were hundred people present, but no one knew what actually happened. I wanted to have the two deaths in the book really contrasted, a wealthy man versus someone homeless. When I was in Los Angeles, I noticed that there were many homeless people, almost one on every block.” Because LA is an entertainment town and now has a homeless problem, readers can relate to this story.

The story opens with a homeless man brutally murdered. Assigned to the case Woodstock must battle the seemingly complacent attitude of those in the press and her own police colleagues. She becomes especially infuriated when a second victim is found, murdered in a similar fashion: Sterling Wade, the good-looking, up-and-coming actor who was killed in the middle of shooting his latest Zombie movie. She and her partner investigate everyone who knew him including his fiancé, his secret lover, and even his parents, who are having serious financial issues.

A powerful book quote, “Those in the orbit of the recently murdered. Out of nowhere, bam, not only is their loved one gone but their own carefully kept secrets are suddenly everyone’s business…I feel sorry for the ones who are unwillingly along for the ride. It’s a brutal journey.”

Bailey noted, “If the person who dies becomes a big story, family and friends get dragged into it. In Australia, there was a story about a married man who died and was known as a big swinger. His family had no idea about his second life. The press went into details about the family’s personal life. I hoped I showed in this story how the media reports about gossiping stories. They should have a clear responsibility to not fan the fire.”

Besides having to deal with her partner’s extreme moodiness, a boss who keeps his staff at arm’s length, and a whole new city with a whole new team, she also has to face her demons. She moved from Smithson, to the city of Melbourne, leaving her young son behind to be raised by his father. Woodstock is not a very sympathetic character since she drinks too much, smokes, and indulges in risky one night stands with men picked up in bars. She is a very damaged and flawed character.

“I wrote Gemma as polarizing. I get a lot of emails from people who tell me they find her frustrating. People who like the book have the same comments as those who don’t like it. They say she is maddening, difficult, and makes wrong decisions. I think she stirs up people to be judgmental because she is ambitious and selfish. Also, what many find challenging is that she is a mother who is not looking out for her son. I spoke with a couple of women who loved their children, but felt they could not be the primary caregiver. I have two children myself and would not personally leave them.”

The final act is full of surprises as Woodstock races to bring down a murderer who’s already claimed two lives and might not be done killing.

Reviewed 2019