Book Buzz
Image. Advertisement:
Book Buzz is a promotional newsletter supported by the publishers.

About the book | Advance praise | About the author | Excerpt | Proof copies

The Dark Lake is a stunning first novel by a young writer from Melbourne. Brooding, suspenseful and explosive, Sarah Bailey’s crime thriller is a haunting story of one woman’s descent into a world of secrets and lies. Its twisted, propulsive plot, intriguingly flawed characters and regional Australian setting will draw readers in from the very first page.

The Dark Lake has already created an enormous buzz here and overseas. A huge offer from the US and spectacular reader raves make this debut novel most likely to be a bestseller in 2017.

‘We so believed in the potential of this manuscript that we made a significant offer to pre-empt world rights for The Dark Lake in Australia and then sold US rights to a leading American publisher for a high six-figure deal, which has resulted in a flurry of interest and offers from other territories—just the first piece of well-deserved good fortune that we feel will be going the way of The Dark Lake and its talented and brilliant author, Sarah Bailey.’—Jane Palfreyman, Publisher

About the book

The Dark Lake
Sarah Bailey, June 2017

There had been a few minutes when I was alone with her in the autopsy room. I’d felt wild. Absent. Before I could stop myself I was leaning close to her, telling her everything. The words draining out of me as she lay there. Her long damp hair hanging off the back of the steel table. Glassy eyes fixed blindly on the ceiling. She was still so beautiful, even in death.

Our secrets circled madly around the bright white room that morning. Rocking back and forth on my heels as I stood there next to her, I knew how far in I was again, how comprehensively her death could undo me. I looked at Rosalind Ryan properly for the last time before breathing deeply, readying myself, letting her pull me back into her world, and I sank down, further and further until I was completely, utterly under.

A beautiful young teacher has been murdered, her body found in the lake, strewn with red roses. Local policewoman Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock pushes to be assigned to the case, concealing the fact that she knew the murdered woman in high school years before.

But that’s not all Gemma’s trying to hide. As the investigation digs deeper into the victim’s past, other secrets threaten to come to light, secrets that were supposed to remain buried. The lake holds the key to solving the murder, but it also has the power to drag Gemma down into its dark depths.


Advance praise for The Dark Lake

Early praise for The Dark Lake from Allen & Unwin staff:

‘I read The Dark Lake in a single sitting, one great gulp of pure reading pleasure. I loved the frazzled female cop as narrator, not a hard-bitten tough guy or neurotic smartarse detective but a flesh-and-blood young mother you’d like to have a drink with: flawed, human and very real. I loved that she took me down a dark and twisting road, told me things I couldn’t completely believe, and made me doubt everything I thought I had figured out. This is a different kind of crime novel and a stunning debut that will find and thrill readers all over the world. All I can say is: Dive into The Dark Lake!’—Jane Palfreyman, Publisher

‘I really loved this. A deeply satisfying piece of Australian noir with a wonderfully compelling plot and characters who really lived in the reading and stayed with me long after I put it down. It made me think of Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore. An exceptionally well-constructed and evocative mystery.’—Karen Williams, Marketing Director 

‘A pacey, gutsy, drama-filled read; reaches a new level of Aussie crime writing.’—Patrick Gallagher, Chairman

‘Sarah Bailey’s debut ticks all the boxes—eerie mystery, great Australian setting, strong female lead and thrilling twists that kept me guessing until the very end. A must-read!’—Lillian Kovats, National Account Manager

The Dark Lake is an utterly unputdownable crime novel with a flawed but compelling heroine, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock. I hope I will meet her again.’—Louise Cornege, Senior Publicist

‘Is it happening? Has it happened? A haunting story of a descent into secrets and lies, told in a stream of consciousness style that will keep you guessing to the end and, like me, eagerly awaiting the next book!’—Michelle Ashman, Account Manager

‘I found The Dark Lake incredibly engrossing and compelling reading. Loved the tangled, twisted plot and it captured that small town dynamic perfectly.’—Miranda Van Asch, International Agencies Director

‘I read this in two sittings—it was riveting! I can’t believe she is a first-time author. What a find! What a winner!’—Tina Gitsis, Business Development Manager

Credit: Alise Black

About the author

Sarah Bailey is a Melbourne-based writer with a background in advertising and communications.

She has two young children and currently works as a director of creative projects company Mr Smith.

Over the past five years Sarah has written a number of short stories and opinion pieces.

The Dark Lake is her first novel.



Read a teaser for The Dark Lake 

A hot summer. A shocking murder. 

A town of secrets waiting to explode.

Here’s a sneak peek.


Proof copies

Be the first to read…

Be one of the first to read The Dark Lake. Email us at for your chance to receive one of ten proof copies.




Contact us


Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

Editorial assistant
Anthea Yang

Classifieds, jobs and notices

Display advertising

Select newsletters

Select which newsletters you’d like to receive here.
Unsubscribe from individual newsletters here.
Or unsubscribe from all newsletters here.

View articles

Purchase a subscription to Books+Publishing to view all articles on the website.

If you need help with your subscription, please email the Subscriptions team.