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.
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This is my first foray into Nordic Noir and I am sure it won’t be my last. In his debut, Will Dean has created a vivid but haunted and claustrophobic town in Gavrik, Sweden and a lively, spirited and forthright character in Tuva Moodyson. The story might be gruesome and overwhelmingly creepy, but that doesn’t stop it from being humourous in places.
“My mouth’s dry and I’m hot in my sweater. I’m reversing into a crash with an elk in my face.”
Despite the few lighter moments, the plot is generally quite dark and there are some very freaky characters throughout the book – almost literally everybody is a suspect in the ominous Mossen village and I did not work out whodunit.
“‘Well,’ I say. ‘It’s not like the killer will be wandering around the forest with a sign and a pocketful of eyeballs is it?’”
The story starts with a bang – and gives you a really good feel for the place and for Tuva – but I did find it a little over-long in the middle. That said, the final fifth or so was absolutely thrilling and frankly terrifying, and I raced through it. I will definitely read more from Will Dean and from Tuva.
Thank you to NetGalley and Oneworld Publications / Point Blank for the ARC of Dark Pines.