Book review: Body of Lies by Sarah Bailey

Tuesday, February 20, 2024 Permalink

Just when we thought Gemma Woodstock’s story was over, she’s back in Body of Lies. Well that’s to say Sarah Bailey gave Gemma a well-earned rest while she wrote The Housemate, which was published in 2021. But she’s back. In Smithson with Mac her babydaddy, her new baby Scarlett and son Ben. She’s on maternity leave though and grappling with a decision about when and whether to return to her job – in Smithson or elsewhere. She knows she’s uprooted Mac and feels guilty about that. And now he’s distracted and Gemma fears the worst.

Book review: Body of Lies by Sarah BaileyBody of Lies
by Sarah Bailey
Series: Gemma Woodstock #4
Published by Allen & Unwin
on 27/02/2023
Source: NetGalley, Allen & Unwin
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 1761188445
Pages: 480
four-stars
Goodreads

A car crash victim clings to life and is rushed to hospital but can't be saved. Hours later, her corpse is stolen from the morgue. No one knows who the dead woman was or why her body was taken.

Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is back in her hometown of Smithson on maternity leave when the bizarre incident occurs. She is intrigued by the case but reluctant to get involved, despite the urging of her journalist friend Candy Fyfe. But in the days after the body goes missing, the town is rocked by another shocking crime and Gemma can't resist joining the investigation.

Candy and Gemma follow the clues the dead woman left behind. As they attempt to discover the identity of the missing woman, Gemma uncovers devastating secrets about the people she thought she knew best. The closer Gemma gets to the truth, the more danger she's in. She desperately needs to confide in someone—but is there anyone she can trust?

She gets drawn into a case here though as she happens to be at a hospital when a corpse is taken from its morgue. The book opened with the car crash that resulted in the corpse so we already know it wasn’t an accident. Then a newborn is discovered near a local lake. Links between the two cases seems unlikely but the murder of the hospital CEO adds yet another layer.

In the background there’s a state-of-the-art new medical research facility being built (with Smithson seeming an unlikely location to play host) and suspicion about a ‘retreat’, where residents keep to themselves.

We dip into small town politics and Gemma finds herself at odds with another detective, who’ll soon be her competition for their boss Jonesy’s job. If she stays, that is.

I really enjoyed this and Bailey does a great job at timing reveals. Secrets are being kept from Gemma here and so we readers are as surprised as she is at some twists offering links back to her.

I note in her acknowledgements that Bailey says this is Gemma’s final story… though I wouldn’t mind seeing more. Perhaps a ‘reboot’ in a few years time?

Body of Lies by Sarah Bailey was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 

four-stars

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