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Body of Lies by Sarah Bailey

26/02/2024
Body of Lies by Sarah Bailey

Most readers thought that they had read the last of hot mess detective Gemma Woodstock in the third book of Sarah Bailey’s series Where the Dead Go. Particularly as Bailey followed that up with the potential start of another series in The Housemate. But Gemma is back, this time (according to the acknowledgements) for the last time. In Body of Lies, Gemma is back in her home town of Smithson, with a new baby, the possibility of promotion and an irresistible series of mysteries.

Body of Lies revolves around a great mystery hook. In the opening scene a woman is run off the road at high speed. She is found alive at the scene but dies on the way to hospital. But before any further investigation is done the body is stolen. Gemma Woodstock, still on maternity leave and with an eight month old baby, happens to be visiting her father in the hospital when all this goes down and cannot help but get involved in the investigation. Despite the misgivings of the lead investigator, her boss Jonesy allows her to participate in the investigation. But as always with Emma plenty of other things are going on, from her father’s health to the fact that her partner Mac, who now investigates cold cases, is acting strangely.

From her first appearance in Bailey’s award winning debut The Dark Lake, Gemma Woodstock has been an intuitive detective with a complicated backstory who often finds her impulsiveness getting her into trouble. That backstory gets deeper in this final outing as elements of the plot revolve around her mother who died when Gemma was a teenager. And Gemma’s impulsiveness now potentially has more dangerous consequences as she has a baby to consider.

Smithson felt like too much of a metropolitan country town in The Dark Lake and that feeling is not dispelled in this Body of Lies. Some of the plot revolves around the construction of a world class research facility of the type that capital cities would fight over. And the resolution of all of the mysteries while satisfying also requires a major suspension of disbelief over what might go on in these towns (or anywhere).

But overall in Body of Lies, Bailey delivers a compulsive, twist filled procedural with an engaging (if sometimes exasperating) main character and a colourful supporting cast. And if this is the last that readers see of Gemma Woodstock (she is positioned to return if Bailey decided to bring her back) then this provides a fitting send off that has laid to rest all of the skeletons of her past.

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Body of Lies by Sarah Bailey

$34.99
8

8.0/10

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Body of Lies by Sarah Bailey

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