I won an ARC of The Dark Lake in a Goodreads giveaway. It was my first ever GR giveaway win after being a member for nearly eight years. Miracles do happen, people.
This is a competently written and plotted crime novel with an authentic Aussie small-town flavor. It’s predictable, but not annoyingly so, and it hits all the right beats and combines enough of the standard tropes to be successful, but I can’t rate it higher.
We spend most of the book in Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock’s head, and after a while that comes to be something of a chore as she spins in mental spirals around the murder victim, her dead high school boyfriend, her affair with her married partner, and her live-in boyfriend/baby-daddy. Adultery-as-character-development is one of my least favorite literary devices ever. The relationship drama is relentless and very soap-opera-esque, so much so that in my head the town of Smithson is populated entirely by cast members from Home and Away (Aussie primetime soap).
And let’s face it: I am never going to love first person present tense.
This is the kind of crime drama you read when you want to hang out with characters whose lives suck more than yours. If you don’t like too much relationship angst cluttering up your murder investigation, maybe steer clear, but if you don’t like too much murder investigation cluttering up your relationship angst, give this book a try. For me, it was just okay. Not bad for a debut novel.