Dark Pines by Will Dean

Review published on January 5, 2018.

I am not an obsessive about Scandi Noir but I do know this novel might well attract a lot of readers.

It is the first in a possible series of Tuva Moodyson thrillers and she’s a fascinating character. Young, deaf and in a small Swedish town Gavrik Tuva is working on the local weekly newspaper reporting on the closure of businesses in a town seeming to be dying on its feet alongside the timings of the annual elk hunting season.

Driving home one night she swerves to escape a collision with an elk and then hears a gunshot in the nearby Utgard forest. The next day a man is found shot dead with his eyes gouged out – reminding local residents of the unsolved murders during the 90s when three other men were killed in the same way.

“TV, coffee and alcohol: the holy trinity of cold countries” says the author who himself hails originally from the East Midlands until he married a Swedish woman and built a cabin in the forest himself! So there is a hint of the outsider with Tuva coming into a closed community that guards its privacy and its secrets.

Trying to establish a career – although not one she plans in this town – Tuva sets out to report and investigate on the crime and comes against a lot of people who don’t (like us) warm to her charm and slightly innocent approach to life. She is also battling the emotional pain of her mother’s illness and the loneliness of a dark town immersed in death.

There are many suspects who are perhaps a little over the top (especially the weird wood-carving sisters who make trolls!), but the plot builds steadily and we feel immersed in the forest and its hunters and visitors – welcome or not…..

A good personal read and for one who doesn’t normally read novels set in such localities I’ve been converted but the more discerning book club readers may not find it quite such a challenge.

Philipa Coughlan 4/3

Dark Pines by Will Dean
Point Blank 9781786072535 pbk Jan 2018


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