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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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