#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery · new release

New Release Book Review: The Housemate by Sarah Bailey

Title: The Housemate

Author: Sarah Bailey

Published: August 31st 2021

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 464

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

Three housemates. One dead, one missing and one accused of murder.

Dubbed the Housemate Homicide, it’s a mystery that has baffled Australians for almost a decade.

Melbourne-based journalist Olive Groves worked on the story as a junior reporter and became obsessed by the case. Now, nine years later, the missing housemate turns up dead on a remote property. Olive is once again assigned to the story, this time reluctantly paired with precocious millennial podcaster Cooper Ng.

As Oli and Cooper unearth new facts about the three housemates, a dark web of secrets is uncovered. The revelations catapult Oli back to the death of the first housemate, forcing her to confront past traumas and insecurities that have risen to the surface again.

What really happened between the three housemates that night? Will Oli’s relentless search for the murderer put her new family in danger? And could her suspicion that the truth lies closer to home threaten her happiness and even her sanity?

A riveting, provocative thriller from the bestselling author of The Dark LakeInto the Night and Where the Dead Go.


With three strong Australian crime novels under her belt, Melbourne based author Sarah Bailey returns with The Housemate. In this new standalone thriller, the reader is presented with a storyline filled with conjecture, misdirection, tangled relations, obsession and darkness. Well written, surprising and engrossing, The Housemate boosts Sarah Bailey’s status as a seasoned Australian crime fiction writer.

Sarah Bailey’s fourth novel follows a complex crime case labelled as the ‘Housemate Homicide’. This tragic and perplexing crime mystery has remained unsolved for almost ten years. A journalist who first worked on the case as a rookie reporter returns to this perplexing crime when one of three housemates involved in this ten year mystery turns up dead on a isolated property. Olive comes back to this case as a seasoned reporter and is assisted by a podcaster named Cooper Ng. It is up to Olive and Cooper to lay the ghosts of the past to rest and finally close this hard case. But as new information merges with old facts, a difficult line of circumstances arise. These disclosures send Olive back to the past, as she confronts her former life. The question remains, what really happened on the fateful night that changed three lives forever? Will Olive put her loved ones at risk by indulging in this strange crime investigation again?  

Sarah Bailey is an author on the rise. Following the success of her Australian crime fiction trilogy which began with her well received debut novel The Dark Lake, Bailey has graced us with a brand-new standalone mystery. The Housemate produces thrill after thrill until the final moments of this engrossing crime case novel. I really enjoyed reacquainting myself with Sarah Bailey’s writing via The Housemate.

I appreciated the initial set up of The Housemate, although it did take a little bit of time to get settled into this new story. The premise was intriguing, complex and full of grey areas. For a standalone crime fiction novel, Sarah Bailey has incorporated all the essential elements that are required to guide a mystery thriller novel to success. With a cracking Aussie backdrop (Melbourne), a dogged lead character, a convoluted mystery and some fancy detective work, The Housemate is fantastic example of a solid crime novel. Expect plenty of thrills, heart stopping moments, strange revelations, red-herrings, detours, plot deviations and exciting eventualities as this book darts towards its finale. What impressed me about this novel was the inserted articles from the central reporter character Olive, which adds to the credibility of The Housemate. Along with the guiding date and time references heading each chapter, there was a strong degree of trust established between the reader and author, despite the murky nature of this story.

Exuding plenty of darkness, suspicion, misinterpretation and danger, The Housemate represents another absolutely thrilling story from an author on the rise.

The Housemate by Sarah Bailey was published on 31st August 2021 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Housemate, Sarah Bailey, visit here.

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

The Housemate is book #81 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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