Into the Night (Gemma Woodstock, #2) (2024)

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5 stars

519 (14%)

4 stars

1,559 (44%)

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1,201 (34%)

2 stars

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36 (1%)

Displaying 1 - 30 of 402 reviews


1,574 reviews7,014 followers

July 12, 2021

I found this to be a gripping Australian police procedural, featuring Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock, of the Melbourne Police.

The opening finds Woodstock in bed in a hotel with an unnamed businessman, when she is called out to a murder scene. An elderly rough sleeper has been stabbed in a particularly vicious way. Woodstock’s professional partner, D.S. Nick Fleet, who is already at the scene, immediately thinks the murder is drug-related, although there is no hard evidence to suggest that it is. Their boss, Chief Inspector Toby Isaacs, puts them both on the case, and is eager that they should wrap it up as quickly as possible. It appears there is a witness, a female down-and-out who was a friend of the deceased and is very upset. She only knew the victim as Walt and has no further information as to his identity.
Woodstock and Fleet get stuck into the case, but have not progressed very far when a sensational murder is committed in Melbourne. Sterling Wade, a very much up-and-coming soap turned film star, adored by teenagers and women all over Australia, is stabbed on the set of a big-budget film, destined to promote him instantly to Hollywood. His girlfriend, Lizzie Short, who is also appearing in the film, is devastated, as is the female lead, Ava James, a famous Hollywood star. The crime was actually caught on camera, but in the scene Sterling was actually being attacked by a gang of zombies, all wearing masks and carrying knives, so although the police watch it many times over, they can get nothing from it.
Woodstock is at first thrilled that she and Fleet are put in charge of the case – less so when she realises how difficult it is going to be, and she also regrets being taken off the rough sleeper case, as she has a strong social conscience. Sterling Wade was actually a country boy, coming from a farming family in Karadine, a small town in New South Wales, which happens to be close to Woodstock’s home town of Smithson.
This is an extremely convoluted plot, dealing not only with the crimes, but with Woodstock’s psychological problems. Psychologically, she is a complete mess, which could be off-putting if it were not for the absorbing mystery.


841 reviews191 followers

February 4, 2019

3.5 rounded up to 4 stars
This book moved slowly in the first half. It shows a great deal of information about the endless hours a team of police officers put into a high profile murder case. A very popular movie star has been murdered while filming a movie scene. DS Gemma Woodstock of the Melbourne, Victoria, Australia police and her partner, DS Nick Fleet, are leading a team of officers trying to find the murderer.
DS Woodstock has a messy, self destructive personal life. She has moved from Smithson, New South Wales to Melbourne in what is described as a transfer. Transferring from a police department in the US from one state to another in the US would actually mean resigning from one police dept. and getting hired by the second. Maybe the rules are different in Australia. While in Smithson she had an affair with her police partner and ended up destroying her relationship with her lover and father of her child. Scott, her child's father, has custody of their son Ben. The Smithson events are detailed in the first book in the series, The Dark Lake, which I have not read.
Woodstock and Fleet do solve the murder and there is a satisfying ending. It took me 2 weeks to read this book, Reading about Woodstock's self destructive behavior was depressing, although I am aware that many police officers do have messy personal lives.
This was not a page turner of a book, but was a very authentic police procedural.
One quote: "A strange side benefit of being a detective is the voyeuristic glimpses you get into the highs, lows and all the tiny details in between that make a life."
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank You Tiffany Sanchez and Hachette Book group for sending me this book.

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Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

1,651 reviews259 followers

October 30, 2018

Despite loving "Dark Lake" - the first Detective Gemma Woodstock in the series and being thrown straight into a murder at the start of this book, I found it overall to be slow, and rather repetitive.
When a homeless man - Walter Miller- is found brutally murdered for no apparent reason, Senior Detective Gemma Woodstock is tasked with finding his killer. However a second, similar murder of up and coming actor Sterling Wade, whilst filming for a zombie movie, takes the focus away from Miller's death and into a world of celebrities, fame and high profile egos.
Set in Melbourne, Australia there is plenty of atmospheric descriptions to set the scene and it is a very character driven story focusing on Gemma's previous relationship with the father of her little boy Ben and how she copes mentally with being separated from her son. She is basically a walking disaster, going from man to man, unable to maintain a normal relationship. Her working partnership with Detective Fleet was also very fractured but I actually liked him and preferred him in the story to Gemma.
Something just didn't hit the mark for me in this one as much as it did in the previous book though the last couple of chapters and the ending did redeem it slightly, even if a little predictable.
Sarah Bailey writes exceedingly well and allows for the reader to engage in an easy to follow story, however it was too slow for my overall enjoyment and I'm not sure if I wish to follow Gemma in a further instalment in her troubled life.

3.5 stars

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2,414 reviews680 followers

July 22, 2018

"Into the Night" is an excellent follow up to Sarah Bailey's wonderful debut, "The Dark Lake". Her protagonist, DS Gemma Woodstock has moved from small town Victoria to Melbourne to make a fresh start. However, she is finding it difficult to fit in with her new partner and boss and badly misses her son Ben who she left with his father. When a homeless man is stabbed to death for no apparent reason, she feels she must find his killer. Before she can do that, another man is stabbed to death, Sterling Wade, the leading actor in a Zombie movie, stabbed by one of the Zombie mob that surrounds him in a live action scene. No one is able to identify the extra who killed him; everyone was wearing make up and swarming around the actor. Gemma and her new partner DS Nick Fleet, find themselves looking into the lives of those involved in the movie and Sterling's family and history in their hunt for a motive and a killer.

This is a well crafted murder mystery and police procedural. The investigation is slow to ramp up, with too many suspects and a few wrong turns and Gemma and Nick become frustrated at trying to figure out why Wade was killed. Bailey shows us all the flaws in her characters persona - Gemma lonely in the city, drinking too much and indulging in risky one night stands with men picked up in bars and Nick prickly and distant at first, but coming to appreciating Gemma's insight and toughness. The ending tied up the case in an unexpected but satisfying way and there are signs that Gemma is in a better place and more comfortable with her current life.

With thanks to Allen and Unwin for an uncorrected ARC to read

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Erin (from Long Island, NY)

500 reviews197 followers

July 26, 2021

I enjoyed this 1 even better than the first! The mystery is great, & the characters (both the "suspects" and the detectives..) Man oh man! I really hope we're just getting started with this series- I'd love to watch Gemma go on with her life.

Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

2,056 reviews302 followers

June 28, 2018

4.5 stars
I noted in October of last year that I was keen to hear from Sarah Bailey, the author of The Dark Lake, very soon. It seems my wish has been granted and less than a year later we have a second novel from Bailey. Into the Night is the impressive follow up to Bailey’s debut novel. If you are a fan of quintessential Australian crime fiction, you must read Into the Night and its predecessor, The Dark Lake.

Detective Gemma Woodstock returns, following on from the events that occurred in The Dark Lake, the first novel penned by Sarah Bailey. We soon learn Gemma has made the move from the regional town of Smithson, to the city of Melbourne. She is damaged and flawed, but is determined to make it in the big smoke. However, not only is her personal life back home in Smithson a mess, her new life in Melbourne isn’t faring too much better either. With a difficult partner, a boss who keeps his staff at arm’s length and a whole a new team to negotiate, Gemma’s new workplace is proving hard to crack. Gemma’s workload changes when she is assigned to a high profile case involving a celebrity who has been killed in an odd set of circ*mstances. Gemma must put aside her mixed feelings for her partner, Detective Fleet aside, in order to put this actor’s case to rest. In the process of solving this baffling case, Gemma faces the realisation that those she thought she could trust may have betrayed her.

In terms of quality Australian crime thrillers and police procedural focussed novels, Sarah Bailey is a commanding force. I witnessed the greatness of Sarah Bailey’s writing when I read her debut novel, The Dark Lake late last year. It easily earned a place in my top reads of 2017 and I can now confirm that Into the Night will be sure to secure a spot in my top reads of 2018. Self doubt and the pressure to follow up on a hugely successful first novel can be to the detriment of writers, however, Sarah Bailey shows us that she is a force to be reckoned with in the Australian crime field. Watch out Jane Harper!

Although I really loved the small town regional setting of Smithson in Bailey’s first book, I think it was an astute move to transfer the action of this second novel to the city. It shows reader the natural progression, as well as character growth of the main protagonist, Detective Gemma Woodstock. The small town feeling is only mentioned in glimpses, when Gemma makes a return visit home and that’s when we see some familiar faces. However, the bulk of the novel is set in the city of Melbourne. This is an Australian city I am yet to visit. Bailey’s descriptive prose ensures that my inexperience is brushed aside. The city comes to life before your eyes. It is both murky and mysterious. Bailey draws our attention to the dark undercurrents that lurk beneath the surface of this vibrant city. This area of the novel is incredibly rich in detail, so all you can do is sit back and immerse yourself in Bailey’s prose.

What impressed me about this second offering from Bailey was the crime aspect itself. Bailey highlights the common police practices and procedural elements in dealing with an unsolved murder case. It is immersive and enlightening. I really enjoyed the workplace issues that Gemma contends with. Gemma clearly has some difficulties in establishing a solid working partnership with Detective Fleet, along with her need to seek approval from her boss, who is deliberately distancing himself from his team. As the newbie on the block, Gemma must also work hard to establish her position in the team. In terms of the murder mystery itself, it was interesting to see how different cases command polarising resources and priority levels. The intricacies of each of the cases presented in this novel are great to unpack.

Onto Gemma herself, Into the Night would not be same if it didn’t have Gemma at the helm. Like the first book, Gemma continues to show us her flaws, her inconsistencies, her questionable choices and vulnerabilities. Bailey is so in tune with her lead, that she seems to live and breathe all aspects of her primary protagonist. Into the Night takes Gemma to another level, it is a story that pits Gemma against new challenges, fresh experiences and we get to see her in yet another light. I really appreciated this aspect of the novel and it shows us just how devoted Bailey is to her characterisation. On the secondary character front, I thought Bailey did a very good job in her interactions and dialogue between Gemma and her side cast. The periphery characters such as Fleet, Josh, Scott and Ben are all vital to the novel. This also applies to the suspects in the cases Woodstock is working to solve.

Bailey manages to perform that careful balancing act between a fresh new crime case to solve, with enough follow on to satisfy readers keen to learn more about the complicated lead, Gemma Woodstock. Into the Night is another stand-out novel from Sarah Bailey, an author who has captivated me yet again. I’m definitely coming back for third helping of anything Bailey chooses to serve up next!

*I wish to thank Allen & Unwin for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Into the Night is book #68 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge

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8stitches 9lives

2,856 reviews1,660 followers

November 1, 2018

Into The Night, the second novel in the Detective Gemma Woodstock series, was just as enthralling as The Dark Lake and certainly exceeded all of my expectations. As references are made to past cases, I would recommend reading the previous book before this one otherwise, it could become quite frustrating. Main character and protagonist Gemma comes across as quite cold and unlikeable, but it is clear she is a complex individual and is trying to find her way out of a maze of problems. Some of her issues are stereotypical of the detective/crime genre, however, I must admit I found her very interesting albeit damaged. She is intelligent, tenacious and dedicated to her job, but her personal life is a calamitous affair. What makes her a memorable character, in my eyes, is that she understands herself, her flaws, her limits and is brutally honest about them, and I recognised some of myself in her in terms of us both being introverts.

Set in the film industry based in and around Melbourne, Australia, Bailey touches on the topic of exploitation and sexual assault that has been exposed as existing in the industry and which gave birth to the "Me Too" movement. Told in first person from Gemma's perspective, it is a straightforward read with plenty going on to keep the reader engaged. There is a focus on details and realism and the author has made sure to ground the book to make it as authentic and believable as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed the parts in which Gemma and Fleet sifted through the lies, rumours and gossip in order to try and find evidence to make the case. Needless to say, it was easier said than done! There are plenty of surprises and revelations that came around very unexpectedly and I enjoyed the unpredictable nature of it all. It's a rarity these days that a book can creep up on me and take me by surprise, but Bailey did it with aplomb. Crafted and paced to perfection and thoroughly gripping, I was sad when it came to an end. I look forward to the upcoming additions to the series. Fully deserving of five stars!

Many thanks to Corvus for an ARC. I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


407 reviews51 followers

April 23, 2024

Into the Night is the second book to feature Gemma Woodstock following on from the dark and powerful The Dark Lake. She has recently moved from a small town in Victoria to the city and is still in the process of settling into the more hectic lifestyle, feeling her way in the job as she tries to prove her capability.

Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is a Melbourne police detective but she is also the typical hardboiled detective. She has a difficult partner so prefers to operate solo, her boss operates at arms length and is hardly supportive, overlooking her for lead roles on cases.

By her own admission she’s a flawed character having separated from the father of her son and, although she regularly Facetimes Ben, her son, it’s nowhere near enough. She drinks, she feels a need to go out at night picking up random men in bars, yet she can’t seem to bring herself to commit to a regular relationship with men she knows.

She and her partner pick up a high profile case involving a young up and coming actor. Taking the lead on this type of case is a daunting experience but it also helps to focus the mind on her job. This is a murder case that has the eyes of the world on her and the media scrutiny is intense. She’s committed to doing the right thing by the actor and that means trusting her partner, working more as a team and acting more responsibly.

This is a typical police procedural that follows a predictable path once the investigation begins. As joint leads, Gemma and her partner get down to the process of allocating the usual tasks necessary to try to winkle out small snippets of information that might provide a break. It’s a process that establishes Gemma’s investigative strengths and helps to provide momentum to the case.

The high profile nature of the case means that there’s plenty of scrutiny on the team and on Gemma in particular. Oddly, though, breakthroughs come from Gemma’s personal life and other peripheral cases that appear to be unrelated. I felt this melding together of the disparate threads was borderline overly coincidental, but are woven into the fabric of the story with convincing enough proficiency as to be acceptable.

I found Gemma Woodstock to be a fascinating character, a character who is seriously complex and should be a quivering wreck given the anxieties and feelings of guilt she carries around with her. Fortunately she’s also blessed with a great deal of strength that enables her to overcome some pretty confronting moments as she deals with a few surprise twists.

Into the Night carries over the dark themes that were established surrounding Gemma in The Dark Lake. A flawed protagonist means that it’s necessary to accept a few distractions, forgive the poor life choices as added colour and celebrate the deductive insight that’s demonstrated as she goes about her investigation.

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899 reviews30 followers

August 1, 2018

So strong was Sarah Bailey's first novel, The Dark Lake, that I was more than happy to have another outing with DS Gemma Woodstock just a month or so later. And Into the Night didn't disappoint.

Where the first book was all small-town heat, this one is big city chill, as Gemma's new home - Melbourne - shivers through winter. Gemma has left her family behind in Smithson and moved to the city for a change; a change in work and a change in life. She's finding her way in a new team, with a new professional partner, and trying not to spend too much time alone in her inner-city shoebox apartment.

When a homeless man is brutally murdered, Gemma is first on the scene and hopes it might be her chance to take the lead on the investigation. But not this time. Then, just days later, a local but well-known actor is killed on the set of a major film being shot around Melbourne, and suddenly Gemma and her partner DS Fleet are in the spotlight, leading the biggest case of their careers.

The investigation and procedural aspects of the story were satisfying and believable. I couldn't pick the killer until their identity was revealed. There were lots of red herrings and connections where I was not expecting them to appear. Gemma has also grown as a character. I still can't relate to her in terms of some of her actions and decisions, but I feel like I understand her a bit better than last time. But the thing I liked the most about this book was the locale. I'm a sucker for a novel set in my own neighbourhood! Bailey doesn't give us broadbrush, generic Melbourne, either. There's so much detail, locals will recognise buildings and perhaps even particular park benches. However, the reader doesn't need to be familiar with Melbourne to appreciate the setting. Bailey shows the way.

This is a very assured follow-up to Bailey's debut. Highly recommended.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for an uncorrected proof to review.

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Veronica ⭐️

1,121 reviews260 followers

March 24, 2024

More book reviews at: https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp...
Into the Night by Sarah Bailey is her second novel featuring Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock.
Gemma is a hot mess all the way through this novel. She is very hard to like.

"..... there's a blandness about my appearance - I'm easily forgettable."

" I am too hard. Too empty. Too remote. Too selfish."

She's always so down on herself, spending her free time with random hook-ups and too much booze.
Gemma is leading the case of the murder of a homeless man but is soon moved when a high profile actor is murdered on set and this case takes precedence.

There are themes of the vulnerability of homeless people and sexual harassment in the workplace but neither is fully explored.

For me Into the Night was not a thrilling page-turner however it is a shrewdly crafted police procedural. Some well placed red herrings kept me second guessing throughout the story.

The city of Melbourne is superbly portrayed showcasing its buildings, sounds, colours and the eclectic busyness of the city streets.

I couldn't get my head around Gemma's work partner DS Nick Fleet. He is rude and obnoxious and Gemma really needed to dress him down. There is a scene with Gemma and Nick that comes out of the blue, there is no lead up to this incident and it seemed so unrealistic.

The story does end with some action packed drama but it was a slow slog getting there.

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3,763 reviews270 followers

May 29, 2018

Into The Night is the second book in the Gemma Woodstock series by Australian author, Sarah Bailey. Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock has been on Melbourne’s Homicide squad for about three months when popular soap actor, Sterling Wade is stabbed on the set of a movie being shot in Spring Street. It’s a complicated case, but she’s pleased, finally to be given the lead, even if she has to share it with DS Nick Fleet. While she doesn’t seem to have any rapport with him, maybe this case will allow them to work together better.

City policing is quite different from what she’s used to in her country NSW hometown of Smithson: better resources and more cops to do the work. They are going to be stretched on this one, though: in excess of four hundred people on the scene, made up or wearing masks to look like zombies. They may have it on film, but just what will that show them? And they need to ensure they don’t neglect their other open murder cases: the escort who fell to her death from retired justice, Frank Jacoby’s apartment balcony; and the homeless man stabbed in a tunnel.

While a witness had seen a person in a hoodie stabbing the old man, no one had yet been arrested. And unfortunately, the witness who implicated Jacoby himself in the escort’s death has had her reliability questioned. But the Wade case had the opposite problem: too many witnesses who saw very little; and an ever-expanding list of suspects with credible motives.

Once again, Bailey offers fast-paced crime fiction with a realistic plot that twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and the pages turning. While one case is solved almost accidentally, some good detective work in their most challenging case uncovers both clues and red herrings that eventually lead to a heart-stopping climax. Suspects in the entertainment industry will guarantee that vanity, obsession with fame, jealousy, lies and secrets all feature. There’s also plenty of grief but how much of it is genuine, and how much faked? Bailey also demonstrates how greed and fear can trump justice in a case of sexual harassment.

Gemma can be a bit prickly and doesn’t necessarily endear herself to those important to her (or to readers, for that matter): she’s left behind her son Ben with his father in Smithson when it became apparent that her relationship with Scott was irreparable; she’s drinking way too much, and has started smoking again (but at least she’s not doing drugs); she holds a devoted admirer at arms-length while she feeds an apparent addiction to having sex with strangers. This darkness has deep roots but a hopeful ending predicts a positive resolution. This is an excellent follow-up to The Dark Lake and fans will be eager to see what Bailey does next.
This unbiased review from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen&Unwin.

Paul E

186 reviews65 followers

December 15, 2019

I really wanted to like this book, because I loved "The Dark Lake" so much. But the premise behind this story was a little ridiculous and the direction Sarah Bailey drove the protagonist Gemma, was just unattractive and maybe too unbelievable (I get that it is interesting to create a character filled with angst and pathos but it just didn't follow the person portrayed in the first story).

Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

2,350 reviews674 followers

June 26, 2018

Wow!! I love this series and Gemma Woodstock is such a great character. This one had me thinking everyone was the killer.

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Alex Cantone

Author3 books42 followers

September 12, 2020

It’s true what they say, that we are more alike than we are different: the same vices, habits and secrets turning up over and over again. But every now and then something stands out as odd. Something jars. Loose threads that seem to lead nowhere but keep you coming back all the same…

Not a great fan of the first person/present tense style of writing: male characters tend to be over the top / gung-ho types and female leads sound neurotic. Which brings us to Detective Gemma Woodstock, who we were introduced to in The Dark Lake, a claustrophobic murder mystery set in the fictitious NSW town of Smithson (loosely based on Lake Cargelligo?) Here she has relocated to Melbourne – big city, bigger fish and is part of the homicide team, paired with Detective Nick Fleet – a walking ashtray who sees himself as a ladies man, and they are the least of his bad traits.

Within the early pages the plot is revealed with two fatal knife attacks less than 48 hours apart, one a homeless man, the other a former soapie star on the cusp of a Hollywood career, killed on the set of a zombie movie being filmed in Melbourne. Another thread is the death of a young woman who fell from a balcony of a retired chief justice, where details are sketchy and a key witness missing.

Much of the story revolves around the culture of celebrity, with stars, starlets, extras, hangers-on, family secrets, drug and alcohol abuse, even a #metoo# moment with a director. In contrast there’s a passing concern for the homeless sheltering in doorways in the cold and wet of a Melbourne winter.

Woodstock is as tedious and shallow as in the first book, often drunk and engaging in one-night stands with strangers, yet feeling miffed when her father and former partner Scott, single-parent to their son Ben back in Smithson, have got on with their lives and are better off without her.

Back to the plot: half way through Woodstock gets an inkling that the stabbings are linked and three-quarters of the way has a revelation about her new boyfriend, an aspiring lawyer who seems too good to be true. Inevitably, the walking ashtray makes a pass at her which she rejects – not wanting a toxic mix of work and passion – and they steer towards a confrontation with the killer(s) before drifting apart.

That said: I liked this one better than her debut novel, despite the heavy emotional content (a soap opera in itself). What really did me in was the way these two, in pre-covid days, drive an unmarked car around Melbourne with parking spaces opening up before them, seemingly by magic. Where was the rattle and clang of Melbourne's trams, the clusters of pedestrians at intersections, scuttling like lemmings across the road? Or those “no right turn” signs turning navigation into a nightmare?

Verdict: a passable read but too light on atmosphere for my tastes (more Shostakovich than Slipknot).

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1,160 reviews173 followers

December 5, 2018

Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is working in Melbourne now, trying to negotiate relationships with her new boss, Chief Inspector Toby Isaacs, and her partner, Detective Sergeant Fleet. She has been in Melbourne for three months; this has meant leaving behind her five-year-old son, Ben, and his father, Scott. She's keeping busy with a series of cases, including that of a homeless man, Walter Miller, who was brutally killed and one with the famous actor, Sterling Wade, who was stabbed while filming a high-profile zombie film. Alone and away from her son, Gemma throws herself into her work, but will these difficult cases prove too much for her and her emotional well-being?

"I was high-functioning but deeply broken and eventually something had to give. When the opportunity to transfer to Melbourne arose, I needed to take it. Living in Smithson was slowly killing me."

This novel picks up a few years after the first Gemma book. Gemma has been haunted by the Rosalind Rose case featured in Bailey's superb first novel, The Dark Lake, as well as her affair with her former partner, Felix. We find her lost and floundering. This serves a dual-purpose for us, the reader. We get to read a novel with a complicated, realistic character in Gemma. She's true to herself. On the other hand, she's not always the easiest to like or even empathize with. This is a woman who has left her child behind, after all. I have to congratulate Bailey on having Gemma not make the easy/safe choices in life, or the ones you typically see in detective novels. Not only do we get a strong yet vulnerable female character, we get one who is flawed, real, and struggling to find her way in the world. I certainly didn't always agree with her choices, but I do enjoy reading about them.

Even better, Gemma features in an excellent complicated and captivating mystery, with several cases that keep you guessing. The prominent one is the Sterling Wade case. Bailey brings in various Hollywood elements, and there are a lot of characters to suspect and pieces to put together. I quite liked not knowing who had killed Sterling. Even the detectives were flummoxed at times: how refreshing. Throughout all her cases, Gemma is working out where she fits in her new department and how she relates to her new partner, Fleet. There's a lot going on, but Bailey handles it all quite deftly. The excellent writing I enjoyed so much in her first novel is on display again here; you'll be impressed at the way she can pull together her story and bring out her characters.

"'Or maybe this case is just f*cking with my mind,' I say, 'and making me think that Agatha Christie plots are coming to life.'"

Overall, I found this book intriguing and refreshing. Gemma is a complicated and complex character who is matched by the intricate cases she attempts to solve. Those who enjoy a character-driven mystery will be drawn to Gemma's prickly exterior, while those who simply enjoy a hard-to-solve case will find plenty to like here as well. Sarah Bailey is certainly a go-to author for me. 4.5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review (thank you!); it is available everywhere in the U.S. as of 12/4/2018.

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2,128 reviews1,939 followers

December 24, 2018

I’ve been meaning to read the first book in the series for quite some time and just never managed to get around to it and then this one just sounded right up my alley, so I took a chance and just started with book two. It was totally fine but I enjoyed this one so much that I’m kicking myself for not having started at the beginning!

There was a lot going on here plot wise, Gemma is a busy detective working on multiple cases and as much as I was intrigued by the cases, what really engrossed me was the outstanding characterization. Gemma is fascinatingly complex and just so well drawn that I was immediately invested in her. The setting of Melbourne was also a standout, I haven’t read many thrillers set there and it’s always nice to read about someplace new and fresh to me. I imagine as the series continues Gemma will become more and more interesting and I’ll definitely be following along. Recommended for thriller fans, especially those who feel like they want something slightly different and written by an incredibly gifted author.

Into the Night in three words: Engaging, Intriguing and Nuanced.


Sandy Grant

25 reviews

March 25, 2024

3.5 stars rounded up to 4, since I would certainly read the author again. Very messy personal life of the protagonist police officer in this acceptably realistic police procedural, based in Melbourne. Always glad to read Australian crime fiction based in our major cities since that’s where the vast majority of us live.

Kylie H

1,039 reviews

January 9, 2022

This is the 2nd book in the Gemma Woodstock series. This instalment is set in Melbourne, where Gemma is trying to lose herself in a big city having left her son Ben with his father. She doesn't believe that she is mother material but struggles with her guilt.
Trying to fit into a new team in a large metropolitan police station becomes a quick must as a high profile actor is murdered on a shoot and Gemma, along with her new partner Fleet is put in charge of the investigation.
I really enjoyed the local setting and references to familiar landmarks. Although Gemma is not exactly a likeable figure, the story is very well executed and told.

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2,061 reviews286 followers

January 13, 2019

Intriguing, mysterious, and dark!

In this latest novel in the Gemma Woodstock series, Into the Night, Bailey immerses you into an intense, sultry investigation into the violent homicide of a movie star and the hunt for a confident, callous killer who seems to have gotten away with murder in broad daylight.

The prose is gritty and raw. The characterization is well done with characters that are driven, flawed, and reckless, includingthe lonely, DS Gemma Woodstock, whosegreatest struggles involveher own personal demons and insecurities. And the plot, including all the subplots, keep you engrossed from start to finish with a multitude of twists,turns, deception, revelations, jealousy, obsession, familial drama, secrets, violence, and murder.

Overall, Into the Night is another sinister, tight, riveting thriller by Bailey that reminds us that the lure of fame and fortune mixed with ruthless ambition can sometimes be a deadly combination.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


2,503 reviews

August 6, 2018

Troubled DS Gemma Woodstock recently relocates to Melbourne reluctantly leaving behind her young son Ben in the care of his father. She and partner DS Nick Fleet soon find themselves embroiled in a highly publicized new case. A much beloved actor and superstar is murdered on the set of his latest film. Having to face the challenges of the entire cast creating a large suspect list, Gemma struggles to find balance at work and at home. This new series will appeal to anyone who enjoys Tana French.

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Elaine Tomasso

3,199 reviews62 followers

August 7, 2018

I would like to thank Netgalley and Atlantic Books for an advance copy of Into the Night, the second novel to feature Detective Gemma Woodstock.

Gemma has transferred to Melbourne and after three months is champing at the bit to be given the lead in a case. She is, therefore, disappointed not to be put in charge when a homeless man is stabbed to death, despite being first at the scene. Her wish becomes a bit of a poisoned chalice when she and colleague, Nick Fleet, are put in charge of investigating the high profile murder of film star, Sterling Wade, on the set of his latest zombie movie because nothing is obvious, including footage of the murder and the stories they are being told.

Wow, what a read. I haven't yet read the first novel in the series, The Dark Lake, so I wasn't sure what to expect but Into the Night has far exceeded any expectations I may have had. Told in the first person from Gemma Woodstock's point of view it is detailed, realistic and gripping with more immediacy and impact than a third person narrative could offer. I love the procedural detail and the sheer scope of he investigation, something that I've never thought of before,is conveyed very convincingly. I know, this makes the novel sound boring but, while it's striking it's just background noise to the meat of the investigation which is Gemma and Fleet picking their way through the lies they are being told, rumours, innuendo and massive press interest. I found Ms Bailey's plotting and attention to detail spellbinding and couldn' get enough.

Not content, however, wih an excellent plot Ms Bailey has created a memorable protagonist in Gemma Woodco*ck. She is a smart, intuitive detective but her personal life is an unmitigated disaster and she seems to have a death wish. She has no interests outside of work, doesn't eat properly, drinks too much, has started smoking again and has a one night stand addictiion. Her head is such a mess that she has left her young son wih her former partner to take a job in another state. I love that Ms Bailey has transposed the typical gender stereotypes. All this should make the prickly loner a very unlikeable character but her searing honesty and self knowledge draw the reader into rooting for her and living every minute with her.

No novel set within the acting community would be complete nowadays without reference to sexual assault and/or exploitation so peripherally Ms Bailey tackles this as well. She makes some interesting points and successfully muddies the waters around the issue.I'm not sure I agree wih all her thoughts but she certainly clarifies modern thinking on the subject.

Into the Night is a gread read which I have no hesitation in recommending.


2,130 reviews92 followers


December 5, 2018

"Obsession and love are good friends..."

In this second book of the series, DS Gemma Woodstock is partnered with DS Nick Fleet as they are assigned to investigate the murder of a film star, Sterling Wade, who was stabbed on the street during a live action shot of a scene. With hundreds of extras on site, but all in costume, there are plenty of witnesses but no one is able to identify who used the knife to kill the actor. There are plenty of suspects and much work for the team in Melbourne as this police procedural shifts into high gear. This case is extremely complicated with many characters and tons of suspicious behavior. Gemma and Nick are kept very busy running down leads, talking to the principals, and looking into the background of those closely associate with Wade. There are also other cases that are ongoing in the department that may or may not be related to their current murder investigation. Can they sift through all the red herrings and figure out who killed Sterling Wade? NO SPOILERS.

I really like this series. My only problem is with the main character of Gemma who continues to be such a mess though I hope that she will get herself together and deal with her issues before the next book. She's fairly typical of female detectives in this genre and hides a vulnerable side masked by self-destructive behavior. She deals with both personal and professional problems in this book along with her tireless efforts to do her job well. She has moved to Melbourne from the more rural Smithson in this book and I feel that has been both helpful and detrimental for her. I'm eager to see what happens with her in the next book! The other characters weren't as well fleshed out though we do find out more about Fleet at the end and I hope the two can have the conversation they desperately need. I love the descriptions of the city and the details -- the writing is quite good and though the book seems to drag in a few spots as Gemma and Nick run into roadblocks, the conclusion was satisfying and believable.

Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the e-book ARC to read and review.

Marc Bougharios

516 reviews

November 9, 2018

This novel is released on December 4, 2018

3.5 stars

I loved The Dark Lake so I knew I would love this pen as well. It’s no surprise that the Gemma Woodstock series is a mystery, so don’t go I expecting a thriller.
It’s a bit of a continuation from the first novel, so if you haven’t read it, iI suggest that you do. It’s also very good.

I knew I would enjoy this one because Gemma Woodstock was a protagonist in it. The case was also very interesting as well and it’s always fun to see how Gemma navigates her way through the case. On the other hand, Detective Fleet, I did not like at all. Near the end of the novel I can guarantee that you will hate him for obvious reason which I will not spoil.

The story is told in the point of view of Gemma Woodstock, a character who I guess you can say is struggling to manage both her personal and professional life. It’s very realistic because I do feel that some cops struggle to do that with the hours that are given to police officers, there really isn’t time to go out or talk to people. So in a way, I sympathize for Gemma Woodstock.

The case was enjoyable to read. I can honestly say that I didn’t expect the killer to be who it was. If you haven’t read The Dark Lake, then I recommend that you do then enjoy the second part of the series!

I will be waiting for a third novel from Bailey and I can’t wait for this one to come and make a splash in the bookstores!

Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

    3-star-reads mystery physical-arcs


3,088 reviews

June 10, 2018

This was a really good follow up to the debut. Gemma has moved to the city, and so we get a different faster pace feel as compared to book one. There are some different plotlines occuring at the same time, with twists and turns. I dont think the writing is as good as book one though, and I still find Gemma a little frustrating at times. The twists are well timed and pulled off, but its onenof those books where you know its one of the 4/5 characters constantly involved, and I could predict it pretty early on. Really easy flowing writing, that will be a good read for anyone wanting a accessible crime thriller.


Author8 books39 followers

June 21, 2018

I haven't read the first book by Sarah Bailey, which is touted in the blurb on this new one as being a 'stunning debut.'
This second one claims to have 'riveting suspense, incisive writing and a fascinating cast of characters.' It's also 'stunning.'
Well, no, it's not any of those things. It's too long, with a lot of meandering conversations that don't move forward quickly. Too often the characters, Gemma Woodstock and Fleet, the man she works with, stand/sit around chewing the fat over the case without actually adding anything to our understanding, or have undramatic interviews with suspects.
The opening murder turns out to be contrived merely to act as a red herring to the main one, and a third case is connected to Gemma through a character who conveniently hasn't come forward as a witness after some weeks.
The conclusion is no great shakes: I'd suspect a lot of readers will guess whodunnit, or come close to guessing, and the endless neurotic behaviour of the main character grows very tedious after a while. You can see why she alienates so many of her family, friends and co-workers.
I know it's a bit of a trend to have a female detective with enormous hangups (I've just been watching the second series of 'Marcella' where the main character is almost insufferable - though she's a much better detective than Gemma), and I've read at least two other police procedurals recently that have female detectives with more angst than a character in a Dostoevsky novel.
As for the very expensive movie being made and all the touting of its importance - good grief, it's a zombie movie. Hardly likely to be world-shattering...!
In spite of Bailey thanking an editor for being an extraordinary proofreader, there are a number of oddities: a woman 'murmurs softly' - how else could she murmur? Three characters become 'the four going to the car' at one point. Another female detective first appears as a dumpy woman and later is admired for her height and statuesque appearance.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.


2,398 reviews63 followers

November 3, 2018

Review on
Loved reading Into The Night by Sarah Bailey. Loved it. Highly recommend reading Into The Night. What I particularly liked is that I was hooked into this story from page one when the scene leaped straight into action. I really generally felt sorry for a harmless homeless sixty two year old man that had been found stabbed to death. Even more sadly the only witness was a homeless lady. I had tears in my eyes for the homeless, it brought back memories of my own grandson who see a homeless man in our town and gave him his pocket money. I was glad to see that Detective Gemma Woodstock is back working on this case. I myself wanted answers as to why someone would kill a homeless man. I enjoyed this thriller so much with a male that has been stabbed to death on a film set, but is it on camera? I began to be a fan of Sarah Bailey after reading The Dark Lake. After reading both books, I’m excited for the next one.

Rachel (not currently receiving notifications) Hall

1,047 reviews85 followers

October 31, 2018

Overlong police procedural lacking in meaningful suspense with a troubled female protagonist. Solid plot but rather a slog.

Left with little choice but to leave her hometown of Smithson, New South Wales by a combination of circ*mstances, past mistakes and personal troubles, thirty-two-year-old Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock has transferred from the small farming community town to the bustling city and diverse culture of Melbourne. Three-months into her tenure beleaguered Gemma is still coming to terms with the implications of her decision to up sticks and leave behind her five-year-old son, Ben, and coming to terms with her new life and city policing where somehow even the crime scenes seem grittier.

Although this second novel can be read as a stand-alone there is little doubt that those who read Sarah Bailey’s debut and the dramatic events of The Dark Lake will have a far better understanding of a troubled protagonist. Dedicated to her job with a flinty exterior that belies her many hidden vulnerabilities and an exacting line in self-awareness, Gemma has a wilfully self-destructive streak. Unable to invest in a meaningful relationship Gemma gets her kicks and company through an endless series of one night stands as she drinks, smokes and neglects to eat, meaning that her Melbourne life is no more stable than the mess she left behind in Smithson.

Determined to prove her worth to her new department and make a positive impact DS Gemma Woodstock is eager for her inscrutable new boss, Chief Inspector Isaacs, to assign her to lead on a case. First on the scene to the senseless stabbing of a homeless pensioner she vows to see justice done and ensure his case doesn’t fall by the wayside or get neglected despite her frustrations when she is once again passed over to act as the principal detective. Hot on the heels of this fatality the high-profile murder of a twenty-three-year-old movie star, Sterling Wade, on the film set of his latest film with a cast of hundreds of extras in zombie costumes soon grabs all the headlines. A household name from his role in a popular soap opera with a glowing golden boy reputation, the investigation into the homicide of Wade is assigned to Gemma and the aloof, infuriating and often sarcastic DS Nick Fleet whom she partners but struggles to win the respect of.

The bizarre circ*mstances of the murder are just one of the areas for Gemma and Fleet to probe as they are forced to take stock of the actors life and the people that surround his world from his actress girlfriend (Lizzie Short), needy best friend (Brodie Kent), his distant family back in New South Wales to the tempestuous director (Riley Cartwright) and American co-star (Ava James) on the set. When the murder weapon is found nearby and the case ruled a cold-blooded murder, the rumours, unexpected disclosures and suspicions soon start to fly as Gemma and Fleet attempt to separate fact from fiction and identify the killers motive in a case with no shortage of likely suspects.

Sarah Bailey makes clear the overwhelming barrage of information that comes across the police radar in an investigation of such a scale and the added complication of handling a case with unprecedented media and fan interest. The novel also makes abundantly clear the difficulties of seeing the wood from the trees when every member of the public wants a piece of the grief and is clamouring to broadcast their proximity or relationship to the victim. From identifying and interviewing the extras, to cross-referencing their statements and checking the alibis of persons of interest, the pressure is on from both the media and the police hierarchy alike, with Gemma and Fleet knowing that the smallest oversight could potentially be the difference between finding a killer or the perpetrator evading justice.

Whilst I was initially very impressed with Sarah Bailey’s overview and the steady narrowing down of the case I felt that Into The Night lacked suspense and the first-person narrative of Gemma does not make for incisive reading as she has a tendency to keep her own personal troubles on the agenda throughout. As the pace of the revelations abates and making headway in the investigation becomes even harder, the slack in the narrative is taken up by Gemma’s own issues and the developments on the case starts to feel of secondary importance to Gemma’s own battles. I honestly felt that not only did the story lack impetus but Gemma and Fleet’s own commitment and drive to solve the case was somewhat lacking with their attention easily diverted.

The undeniably languid pace of Into The Night reprises that of The Dark Lake and is once again partly a character study of Gemma. Now having read both books in the series I was disappointed that I felt no closer to understanding the highly flawed Gemma or her habit of sabotaging the few positives in her life. Despite her initial feeling of dislocations in the city much about the anonymity of a life in Melbourne suits Gemma from the ability to remain invisible in a crowd to the constant buzz of the city that helps to silence the frustration of having failed her son and chosen to make a life over one thousand kilometres away. Admirably honest, it seems that even Gemma knows that returning to her hometown of Smithson is out of the question for her and is still haunted by her focal role in a town where not only did she often personally know the victim and perpetrator of a crime but felt under constant observation.

In this second case Gemma is again unwilling to reveal her own personal overlap with one of the crimes under investigation by her unit and there was little sleight of hand or doubt about her obvious targeting for information. I also thought that how neatly the other two cases being worked on by the team slotted in to the overarching storyline and all connected back to Gemma was a little too contrived. Likewise I was unconvinced by the resolution to the murder of Sterling Wade and despite a high-octane denouement with palpable tension, I was left disappointed by my second encounter with DS Gemma Woodstock and I appeared to solve the case of Sterling Wade well in advance of the Melbourne homicide unit!

Whilst I found many of the police procedural aspects of Into The Night compelling and appreciated the timely portrayal of a world where celebrity grief often borders on hysteria and the prevailing high profile sexual harassment movement of #MeToo in the age of social media, I seriously doubt that I have an appetite for more of DS Gemma Woodstock. Again, this second case was overly lengthy and could have been edited into a far more succinct format with Gemma’s first-person point of view bordering on a misery-fest. Gemma might be human, flawed and trying her hardest but accompanying her is along for the ride is often unremittingly gloomy and rather a slog. Even the banter and wry comedy moments come by virtue of her working relationship with her complicated squad partner, DS Nick Fleet! A so-so read which lacked the suspense, atmospheric tension and gritty colour of The Dark Lake and leaves the jury out on whether I go back for a third encounter.

With thanks to Readers First who provided me with a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Theresa Smith

Author5 books208 followers

May 23, 2018

I was a big fan of The Dark Lake, it was a top read for me last year and I am thrilled to discover that Into the Night more than lives up to its predecessor. Dark, gritty, teeming with atmosphere, Into the Night is police procedural crime fiction at its very best.

Gemma has moved on from her hometown and we now follow her around the streets of Melbourne as she works on a massively high profile case alongside a new partner in a new squad. She’s just as damaged as before and I loved her just as much as I did the first time around. Gemma is filled with opposing forces: tough, yet vulnerable; craving connection, yet rejecting it at every opportunity. She wants a normal life yet can’t ever fully picture herself inhabiting it. Yet, I feel these complexities within her character hone her focus as a detective. They make her sharper, more instinctive, and more inclined to understand the depths and range of human emotions that come into play when picking apart a crime. I really enjoyed the growing dynamic between Gemma and her new partner Fleet. He’s another complex character and I liked that Gemma couldn’t quite figure him out. He’s a bit of a contradiction himself, easy to love and easy to hate, he walks that line with a definite air of not giving a sh*t about what anyone thinks, and I took to him immediately. I enjoyed this working partnership immensely, but Gemma and Fleet share many of the same bad habits, so I’m not sure if we’re going to see more of them together, or less.

Sarah Bailey has a real knack at bring her settings to life. This novel just oozed with atmosphere, particularly Melbourne at night. I had such a strong sense of place while reading, and even though I’m familiar with Melbourne, I expect that someone who isn’t would get a good grasp on the city and its vibe from the pages of this novel. I loved that whole anonymity that Sarah brought to the fore, not only with Gemma, but with other characters as well. A city teeming with people that never sleeps affording the perfect cover for those who want to disappear and be alone, be unnoticed, who they are stripped away and reinvented into whoever and whatever they want to be for the duration. This concept merged with the setting in a powerfully heady way creating a most immersive experience.

There’s an undercurrent of sadness bleeding into tragedy that runs through this novel, much in the way it did with The Dark Lake. It mirrors real life and adds a layer of authenticity to the story. What police face, on a daily basis, is front and centre in this novel, and reading it will make you appreciate their bravery in doing a job that has very real dangers at any given time. This is smart crime fiction, sophisticated in its imagining and its delivery. I’ve always enjoyed police procedurals more than thrillers within the crime genre and Gemma Woodstock is the type of detective an author – and a reader – can go the distance with (that’s a heavy hint Sarah!). The follow up to an outstanding first novel is always tricky, the anticipation of it living up to the bar of expectation, but we’re over that now. We have two terrific novels, the start of a cracking good crime series, and I’m excited to see what more there is to come.

Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of Into the Night for review.


Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

1,634 reviews344 followers

December 21, 2018

I'm not sure what it is about deeply flawed and emotionally resistant female protagonists that I love so much. Getting to know Gemma in book 1 was a pleasure... now in Into The Night, we dive deeper into her mind and phew... she has got a LOT going on. I feel you, girl.... I feel you.

Complete transparency, I was way more into Gemma's story than I was about the case. Celebrity gets killed, secrets come out, fairly predictable ending. However, I was completely fascinated with Gemma and everything she had going on. I'm so pissed off at Fleet .. but that's a whole other matter and you'll have to read this book to figure out why. And don't even get me started on the guy she was "dating"... I can't even remember his name now because I flicked him off my shoulder like a bothersome fly. Complex but lovable, I can't help but adore how Bailey has brought Gemma's character to life and am looking forward to see where Gemma's story goes.

I think some readers will find the pacing to be a bit slow.. and I'd agree. Somehow though I kept swiping the pages in my need to know. I somehow always feel book two in a series seem to fall a bit short after a really strong book one. I don't know if I necessarily feel that way about this even though I did have to force myself to continue at times. If I haven't made it clear yet, ahem, it's Gemma's character that keeps me riveted... I can only assume that the cases will get more interesting to my tastes... either way I'm sticking around to find out.

Another order of Gemma please, hold the Fleet.


Jack Heath

Author67 books720 followers

June 27, 2018

A moody, atmospheric tome with a twisted case to solve and an even more twisted detective to solve it. A must-read for fans of The Dark Lake, and those who like their police procedurals VERY authentic.

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