Publication: Point Blank Books 07 December 2017
An isolated Swedish town.
A deaf reporter terrified of nature.
A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest.
A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods.
It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.
Wow! Amazing! I have been hearing about this book for some time, so when the publisher brought forward the publication date, I knew I had to bump it up my reading list and I am so glad that I did.
Dark Pines is just my kind of book. Dark, atmospheric, suspenseful and with a protagonist you very quickly come to adore, I read this book all the way through without pausing for breath.This is Nordic noir at its finest. Contemporary drama that grabs you and doesn’t let go until, panting for breath, you lie wrung out on the floor.
Tuva Moodyson is a journalist on the local paper in the very small town of Gavrik. She has left a good job as a London journalist to come to Sweden to be close to her dying mother. Theirs is not an especially close relationship, but they are all the family each other has and Tuva is determined to be there for her mum.
In Gavrik she churns out the usual local paper stories; the start of elk hunting season; church notes, how the paper mill is doing, how the local sports teams are faring. She knows she is blessed by having in Lena a good editor who recognises the quality of her writing and is prepared to let her work through the bigger stories.
Gavrik is surrounded by dark pine forests, eerie, forbidding spaces it is far too easy to get lost in and full of biting insects, rotting vegetation and carcasses and both cold and damp. When, in the midst of elk hunting season, a dead body is discovered with gunshot wounds to the chest and the eyes gouged out, it is not long before local people start to speculate about the relationship between this death and the so-called Medusa murders some 20 years ago in the same town.
Tuva is responsible for writing up what will be the papers main focus for many weeks and to do so she has to really get into the lives and attitudes of the people connected to the story. What a cast of characters she meets as she investigates. From the reclusive David Holmqvist with his peculiar culinary habits to Alice and Cornelia Sorlie, carvers of specialised figures to the head of the main hunting team, Hannes Carlsson and Viggo the local taxi driver. These and other characters are all put under Tuva’s spotlight as she bravely tries to overcome her very real fear of the forest and the creatures that live in it in order to get to the heart of her story.
Along the way she also has to grapple with a growing hostility from the town’s business people, concerned that Tuva’s writing may be giving the town a bad name.
I love Tuva’s complex character. She is brave and feisty, has absolutely no idea of how to take care of herself and I want to know more about her and her life.
Will Dean’s writing is tense, well- crafted and full of very creepy moments. The plot is taut and fast-moving with plenty of false leads and twists. Writing in the first person really works for Tuva’s character and I loved her best friend Tammy, also an outsider to the town, whose perception of the challenges she faces is hard hitting and in your face.
I really loved this book and hope there will be more of Tuva (and Tammy) to come.
About the Author
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying Law at LSE, and working many varied jobs in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife. He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.
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