Saturday, 11 August 2018

Book review : Dark Pines - Will Dean

A little while ago, I was lucky enough to win a copy of the gripping thriller Dark Pines in a twitter competition and, along with the book, author Will Dean kindly sent me a little piece of Scandinavian pine forest to really immerse myself into the story ! With the atmospheric descriptions of a frigid Swedish village on the edge of a dark and menacing forest, it was the perfect reading during the recent heatwave, as it gave me the impression I was brushing ice crystals off my eyelashes rather than sweating my socks off !

The leading lady is deaf newspaper reporter Tuva Moodyson, currently working for a small-time local newspaper while she is staying close to home for her ailing mother, but hoping for bigger and better things. All journalists live in the hope of finding the one story that will make their career and Tuva has struck gold. Two bodies are discovered in the thick forest around the town, both presumably killed by the same murderer as they both have their eyes removed. Even more worryingly, these horrific crimes echo an unsolved murder from twenty years ago. Is it a coincidence, a copycat murder or is a serial killer back on the prowl?

You need to be a special kind of person to enjoy living almost off the grid in the remote Swedish backwoods, so as Tuva looks around for suspects, she unearths a motley crew of eccentric residents, including a pair of Norwegian troll-making sisters, a reclusive ghost-writer, a taxi-driving single dad and numerous macho huntsmen. As she uncovers secrets and reveals the darker side of life in the remote village to the outside world, Tuva seems to be annoying the locals, including the police. Is she getting closer to unmasking the culprit or are her gut feelings way off the mark?

It's a slow-paced, rather claustrophobic tale with only a handful of residents, and therefore suspects, in the village, surrounded by the sinister, unfathomable depths of Utgard forest. As Tuva constantly returns to the same suspects and the same places, you get the sense that there is no escape and the sheer size and density of the forest makes its human dwellers seem insignificant. Tuva feels constantly unnerved as she strays away from the road and into the trees and as a reader, it is easy to understand and ultimately share the intrepid reporter's sense of unease. Tuva is an intriguing character - I'm sure she has her own share of deep dark secrets hiding just out of reach - and, as this book is the first Tuva Moodyson mystery, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series and discovering more about its multi-faceted central character.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Point Blank (14 Jun. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1786073854
  • ISBN-13: 978-1786073853


  1. I love the sound of the characters! Looks like a really good one; thanks for the review.

  2. I love books like this where they're thrilling and give off lots of tension!

  3. I haven't heard of this book, but it sounds just my kind of reading. I love a Scandi background and a less conventional protagonist. Will definitely add to my must-read list.

    1. I thought you weren't supposed to be buying any more books until you've read all the ones on the shelf already ! lol (I'm exactly the same !)

  4. sounds great! i can never find the time to read these days


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