Fractured relationships abound in this novel, the second book in the Gemma Woodstock series.
We have a murdered homeless man, elderly and kind, knifed in the early hours of the morning. Gemma is not assigned lead detective on this case so straight away we can see her mopey side. Next murder is a high profile case. A good looking young actor, Sterling Wade, is killed on the set of a movie being filmed locally in Melbourne. This will take priority as it’s a media nightmare. Gemma is lead on this one but descriptions of her personality don’t exactly have her leaping off the page.
In the first book, The Dark Lake, she was a lead detective in a rural town in Australia. Gemma transferred to another detective position in busy Melbourne after her relationship with her partner Scott fails. She leaves her young son Ben with Scott and has issues with the separation yet doesn’t seem to want custody, only visits. It’s a good transition from book one to this story.
In my opinion, Gemma Woodstock’s personal issues detracted from this story. You do want a little bit of the personal side of your main character, that’s one of the things I like about the DCI Banks series, but Gemma’s internal turmoil could have been toned down. I was actually warming more to her partner Nick Fleet, incorrigible as he is. Hoping he shows up in the next book and we get more information about his back story.
If you like multiple story lines with more than one murder investigation then you will enjoy that aspect of the book. Hoping Gemma conquers her many demons and becomes confident and energetic. We need some flaws in our main characters but Gemma’s issues are legend.
Much thanks to NetGalley for this advanced copy. Opinions are mine and I was not compensated for the review. This book was published in December 2018.