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** My greatest thanks to the publisher and author for my very early review copy of this book **

 

Description:

Red Snow is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Dark Pines, selected for ITV’s Zoe Ball Book Club

TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

 

My Thoughts:

The much anticipated follow up to Dark Pines is set to publish in January 2019, and readers will be delighted to see the return of protagonist Tuva Moodyson who is ready to take up a new job away from Gavrik, the small town where everyone knows each other and more importantly, they know her and her connection to that case. But before she leaves town, she has a story to report on and a mystery to clear up.

I don’t know about you, but I have been eagerly waiting for my return trip to the Swedish forest, and Red Snow is just the perfect book to transport readers to this chilly, wintry setting. The approaching blizzard makes for a dangerous and menacing presence, the townsfolk are on edge with the recent deaths and worrying about the future of the Grimberg liquorice, the main employer in town.
Tuva is not the only character to reappear; many fans will be delighted to see the woodcarving sisters making a return, as does a certain taxi driver and the reclusive writer. But best of all is the return of Tami and her food van, the delights that she cooks up have your mouth watering as you read, but Dean manages to offset this with the inclusion of salted liquorice amongst other things.

The plotting and pace of Red Snow are excellent; you are aware of mysterious goings on and are drawn in by it all. As tension mounts, Dean manages to inject moments of “normalcy”, glimpses into Tuva’s personal life and relationships, making her an even more relatable and tangible character. But at the same time, he manages to show a side of her that shows vulnerabilities and insecurities. Her wit and unique way of seeing things definitely plays a huge part in this book and I was delighted to see it again.

Swedish cultural references add a wonderful authenticity to the story, the descriptions of the snow skulls was both intriguing and creepy! Will Dean has captured the small town feel perfectly, he’s woven some of the most vivid descriptions of settings and people into a tale that is both clever and complex and proved that his is a name to watch!

There’s always a worry when the second book of a series comes out, will it meet the high standard of the first book? Will the characters continue to act in the same manner or will they develop strange tendencies or quirks between books? Rest assured, there is nothing to worry about, Will Dean has penned am impressive second novel that thrills, chills and delights, it is a worthy addition to the series and I look forward to the next book.

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** My thanks to Margot at One World for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

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.

My Thoughts & Review:

Doesn’t that description just scream intrigue?!  I love Nordic Noir, something about the cold and brooding setting just makes these books utterly divine and I was thrilled to get the chance to read an early copy of Dark Pines by Will Dean to experience Sweden in such a suffocatingly frightening way.

From the very outset let me just say that I LOVED this book!  I started reading it whilst the little one went swimming with my husband and was almost shocked when they reappeared to announce it was time to go home.  I had failed to notice the passing of time, not drunk my cuppa or even opened the jaffa cakes – the book was that interesting.

The setting of this novel is intoxicating, dangerous yet beautiful and so perfectly described.  Will Dean brings the woods alive to the point that they’re almost like another character in the book.  The opening pages of the book set the dark tone well, giving readers a real idea of the danger that lurks in the woods and just how easy it is for an accident (or worse) to happen and there be no one there to help you.
The way that the woods are a link between the crimes and the characters is fascinating, and even more so because our protagonist is afraid of them.

Tuva Moodyson is an exceptional character, there was just something about her that I found fascinating.  Whether it was her journalistic skills, her great taste in food or her determination to conquer her fear, but one thing’s for certain, she’s brilliant.  One of the the things about her that stands out is the fact that she’s deaf, and how she views it as nothing more than another part of her character.  By that, I mean that she accepts it, doesn’t like people making a point of it or commending her on being able to speak clearly without any telltale signs of her deafness.  I found the passages about her caring for her hearing aids quite interesting, not something I’ve ever had contact with before so wasn’t aware of how static or electrical pulses could cause irritation for wearers, or the importance of keeping them dry.  Do love the feeling that a book has imparted a little knowledge.

If having Tuva wasn’t interesting enough, there is a cast of colourful characters to delight readers.  From the woodcarving sisters, who I won’t lie, creeped the hell out of me, the very odd taxi driver and his son (there’s a story there that needs to be expanded upon!), and the shut in writer are just some of the extremely intriguing beings in Dark Pines.  And they ways that they are written, my goodness I could see them, smell the aromas around their homes, feel the hostility around them…..exceptional writing!

I mentioned food when speaking about Tuva earlier, and that’s because food plays a big part in the plot.  In moments of panic or fear, Tuva seeks out her friend who owns a food catering truck, and serves up some of the most delicious sounding food that had my mouth watering at the very mention of it.  But so too did the food cooked by Frida.  Not a book to read when you’re hungry!

The mystery element to the plot is exquisite!  There are so many suspects and valid suspicions for each of their possible motives, but Will Dean knows how to lull readers into the calm and quiet without giving anything away.  His plotting is utterly brilliant, I applaud him for keeping me absolutely hooked, second guessing myself and being completely and utterly wrong about the killer and the motive.

This has to be the book you start 2018 waiting for, it’s everything you want from Nordic Noir, a creeping chill that spreads through you as you get pulled in to the story and cannot put it down!  Get Will Dean on your list of authors to watch out for, this is a name you don’t want to forget!!

 

 

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