Dark Pines by Will Dean

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Dark Pines by Will Dean

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A dark, compelling and character-driven thriller set in the wilds of Sweden - Dark Pines goes above and beyond the standard crime book, inviting the reader to a small Swedish town with brilliantly drawn characters and an intriguing mystery at the heart of events.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: January 2018
Publisher: Point Blank
ISBN: 978-1786072535

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Tuva Moodyson works for a local paper in small town Sweden - there to be near an ailing Mother, but desperate for the big break that will have her moving on to pastures new. Just outside of her town, Gavrik, two bodies lie deep in the forest - brutally murdered and their eyes ripped out. They bring back dark memories for a town that has seen this crime before - and Tuva is desperate to find the killer. At first, she's just out to write a good story - but as the crimes continue she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the forests outside of Gavrik, filled with stranger characters and dark secrets. Will she find the killer before they find her?

Author Will Dean grew up in East Anglia, before moving to rural Sweden with his wife. That outsider's perspective is brought to Dark Pines, with Tuva's observant eye allowing the reader a slightly distanced glimpse into the goings-on in Gavrik, which serves the story well and immediately endears Tuva to the reader. One, remarkably well-handled detail, is that Tuva happens to be deaf. Rather than, as I find often happens in books that feature a character with a disability, focusing on the impairment almost to the point of fetishisation, Dean has done his research and shows a balanced portrayal of the deafness – with positives to contrast the negatives that most writers would only bother to focus on.

Tuva isn't the only character to be drawn with care – setting his tale in a small town allows Dean to create a varied and fascinating cast – all suspicious enough to be considered as suspects, but there's an air of realism here that ensures these characteristics are never forced – Tuva's position as a journalist enables her to delve through these secrets and mysteries, interacting closely with the characters and really delving deep into the community – taking the reader with her and creating a reading experience that's both exciting and highly immersive.

I don't read a huge amount of crime books, as I've been disappointed too many times by uninspired mysteries and flat climaxes. Dean has restored my faith a little here though – keeping the plot tightly twisting throughout, leading to a climax that's tense, thrilling, and hugely satisfying. I'll be very excited to see what Tuva Moodyson does next – I just hope whatever it is keeps her in the small town of Gavrik, as I grew oddly attached to the small town of strange characters, so expertly created by Will Dean.

The next book in the series is Red Snow.

Many thanks to the publishers, and for further reading I recommend The Snowman by Jo Nesbo and Don Bartlett (translator) for some similarly well written Scandi-noir, packed with intriguing characters and tense mysteries. You might also enjoy The Teacher's Secret by Suzanne Leal.

Will Dean's Tuva Moodyson series in chronological order

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Buy Dark Pines by Will Dean at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Pines by Will Dean at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Dark Pines by Will Dean at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Pines by Will Dean at Amazon.com.


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