Black River by Will Dean

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Black River by Will Dean

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: The third and, in my humble opinion, best in the Tuva Moodyson series so far, this is a dark and atmospheric trip to the Swedish countryside, in the company of the fascinating Tuva - a journalist whose complexities Dean explores with considerable skill. Chilling, thrilling, and unputdownable.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: March 2020
Publisher: Point Blank
ISBN: 978-1786077110

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Longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021

Tuva Moodyson returns - and this third book in the Tuva Moodyson mystery series delves deep into her personal life, returning her to the isolated town of Gavrik and into a desperate search for her missing best friend. With the Midsommar sun blocked out by the dark pines of the forest, Tuva fights to save her friend. But who’ll be there to save Tuva?

It pains me to make such a confession, but I’m actually not a huge fan of crime fiction. Save for a few writers (Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Rankin, PD James), it’s not one that has ever thrilled me hugely - but Will Dean’s series of books have been a very recent addition to my list of crime stories that I love. They say the devil is in the details, and it’s the details in the Moodyson books that make them such addictive reading - from the claustrophobically small town of Gavrik, through to the changeable pine forests and the ever-complex lead character of Tuva, there is forever a reason to keep turning the page, and that’s before one even gets into the mysteries at the core of these books.

One thing that always leaves me impressed by these books is how Dean deals with Tuva’s deafness - something which could be used as a blunt instrument by many a writer, but under Dean’s pen becomes a carefully used aspect of a character that, whilst it does feature in the plot, does not feel like a plot device in the slightest. In moments it can switch from being almost a benefit to Tuva, and then becomes something almost chilling in the effect that its isolation can have. That isolation is used with real skill, as is the personal element in the mystery, as it’s Tuva’s best friend Tammy who has gone missing. Dean has brought Tammy to life in great detail over the last two books, so it’s almost as shocking to the reader as it is to Tuva - she’s a reliable presence, and her absence hangs over the first part of the book. Without spoiling too much, investigating the disappearance places Tuva in huge amounts of danger, which is rather hard to read - but thankfully wraps up well, leaving the reader primed for another trip to Tuva’s town of Gavrik.

For further reading, there’s no better place to start than book one in the series - Dark Pines by Will Dean

Will Dean's Tuva Moodyson series in chronological order

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