Where The Dead Go by Sarah Bailey

‘The girl pushes blindly through the wall of trees, tripping over her feet.’

DS Gemma Woodstock, now living in Sydney, has just returned home to Smithson to attend the funeral of her son Ben’s father Scott.  She’s in a new relationship, but not yet sure how committed she is.  She’s restless, claustrophobic and wants to do the right thing by Ben.

In the Australian coastal town of Fairhaven in NSW, a fifteen-year-old girl, Abby, goes missing.  The following morning, her boyfriend is found murdered.  The police in the area need help, her old boss is approached, and Gemma volunteers.  Within hours, she and Ben are on their way to Fairhaven.

Gemma has a young, inexperienced team to work with.  Everyone knows everyone else in this small town, and there’s no shortage of speculation about who might be responsible for the murder.  But where is Abby?

This is a case with plenty of twists.  Gemma learns of another missing person case in the area: a young couple who disappeared and were never found.  And there are secrets being held which may have an impact on the investigation.  Gemma herself has some personal issues to resolve as she tries to juggle parenting Ben with the demands of the case.

Gemma Woodstock is a complex character: dedicated, insightful, and flawed. Her tenacity enables her to work through the information (and disinformation) received.  I enjoyed this novel.  I did work out some elements before the end, but not all.

This is the third Gemma Woodstock novel.  I wonder what Ms Bailey will write next?

Jennifer Cameron-Smith