#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery

New Release Book Review: Where the Dead Go by Sarah Bailey

Title: Where the Dead Gowhere the dead go small

Author: Sarah Bailey

Published: August 5th 2019

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 464

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

Four years after the events of Into the Night, DS Gemma Woodstock is on the trail of a missing girl in a small coastal town.

‘Every bit as addictive and suspenseful as The Dark Lake … Sarah Bailey’s writing is both keenly insightful and wholly engrossing, weaving intriguing and multi-layered plots combined with complicated and compelling characters.’ The Booktopian

A fifteen-year-old girl has gone missing after a party in the middle of the night. The following morning her boyfriend is found brutally murdered in his home. Was the girl responsible for the murder, or is she also a victim of the killer? But who would want two teenagers dead?

The aftermath of a personal tragedy finds police detective Gemma Woodstock in the coastal town of Fairhaven with her son Ben in tow. She has begged to be part of a murder investigation so she can bury herself in work rather than taking the time to grieve and figure out how to handle the next stage of her life – she now has serious family responsibilities she can no longer avoid. But Gemma also has ghosts she must lay to rest.

Gemma searches for answers, while navigating her son’s grief and trying to overcome the hostility of her new colleagues. As the mystery deepens and old tensions and secrets come to light, Gemma is increasingly haunted by a similar missing persons case she worked on not long before. A case that ended in tragedy and made her question her instincts as a cop. Can she trust herself again?

A riveting thriller by the author of the international bestseller The Dark Lake, winner of both the Ned Kelly Award and the Sisters in Crime Davitt Award for a debut crime novel.


‘Scott slipped away to wherever the dead go in the early hours of Wednesday morning.’

We come to the end of the road in the Gemma Woodstock crime thriller trilogy, penned by Australian author Sarah Bailey. In this keenly observed police procedural and mystery novel, a convoluted tale of murder runs alongside a missing person’s case. Where the Dead Go is intriguing, magnetic and absorbing. Sarah’s Bailey’s final offering of her top notch crime series goes out with a bang.

Where the Dead Go welcomes back detective Gemma Woodstock for a third and final crime encounter. This time Gemma must face up to some serious personal issues, following a very personal loss that threatens to upend Gemma’s life. With her son now in her full time care, Gemma must tackle increased parental responsibilities and offer emotional support to her young son, while dealing with a complex murder investigation. The small coastal town of Fairhaven is the site of Gemma’s latest case, which sees the dogged detective face up to a complicated investigation. With plenty of tension, mystery and secrets surrounding Where the Dead Go, Gemma Woodstock is tested to her very limits in this final instalment of the series.

Gemma Woodstock, boy is she is force to be reckoned with! Bailey situates her enigmatic lead in a different time and place to when we last connected with this colourful detective. Time has moved forward a few years and Bailey pits her lead against some interesting scenarios. Gemma is dealing with increased care of her son following the loss of his father. It is a big call for the work focused detective, but we see her vulnerable side and Gemma’s shortcomings. Gemma is a very human character and Bailey continues to do an excellent job of shaping her lead to perfection in this last issue of the series. Where the Dead Go manages to evenly spread Gemma’s personal issues with her work problems, while also integrating a rather elaborate case within the narrative. I’m sure it is quite hard to achieve this narrative balance, but Bailey takes it in her stride and I think this novel is a success.

For those who are new to the work of Gemma Woodstock and the writing of Sarah Bailey, I thought Where the Dead Go managed to stand on its own two feet and it seemed to read independently of the previous two novels in the series. I would point newcomers to this series to the first novel penned by Bailey in order to enhance the overall reading experience of these truly great crime novels. For those who are old hats to the series, I’m sure these readers will be impressed with Bailey’s treatment of the lead and the fresh cases.

Sarah Bailey has an aptitude for police mechanics and the procedural aspects of her novels are always completely credible. This was very much the case for Where the Dead Go, I really enjoyed getting into the finer details of the police investigation side of things and no matter how hard I tried to trump the lead, I failed! Bailey is certainly on point in this novel, delivering a good share of plot twists, diversions, blocks, tension and speculation. I think all readers will gain plenty of positive enjoyment out of this novel.

A quick mention of the setting, Bailey shines yet again in this department. I love a good small town Australian crime based novel. Where the Dead Go is dripping in apprehension, discomfort and hostility. It definitely made me feel a little jittery! Much praise to Sarah Bailey for this edgy crime offering.

Where the Dead Go by Sarah Bailey was published on 5th August 2019 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Where the Dead Go, Sarah Bailey visit here.

*Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Where the Dead Go is book #75 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge

4 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: Where the Dead Go by Sarah Bailey

  1. An excellent review, Amanda! I’m yet to read her book series/trilogy. Hmm, I’ve been op shopping a lot lately but I haven’t come across her books. I’ll be visiting the Lion book store soon as I have four bags of books to deliver to them and also I haven’t been since corona virus lockdown. It will be a nice day out 🙂 and fingers crossed I come across her books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, it has been a great series to read! That’s a shame you haven’t come across her books yet. The Dark Lake, her debut, is a must! I’m really hoping one will surface for you. I went to my closest local op shop yesterday as it has finally reopened and I was disappointed by the lack of choice and stock. Perhaps people are not donating as much with COVID? It sounds like you have a lovely donation of books for the Lions, lucky them!


      1. I ended up giving the four bags of books to our local op shop. I said to Steven If I pass on the bags to the Lions book store and I happen to be browsing in there I don’t want to come home with one of my books because I’ve forgotten I’ve read it. LOL.

        Oh, such a shame about your op shop lacking in stock, it’s a bummer when that happens. I find the Lions book store and Lifeline store are the best for finding awesome books, although Lifeline books are $5 plus but Lions books are all $2.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, that’s a lot of books, it must feel go to say goodbye and finally have those books read. Yes it would be funny if you came across one of your own books!

        Yes it is a shame, I haven’t been back since to check on their stock again, but I have too many books here anyway! It’s funny how these op shops vary in prices, our Good Sammy has a deal, 6 books for $10, while the local salvos can charge between $3 and $5 for a book. We don’t have a Lions or Lifeline here.


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