Dark Pines by Will Dean
Published by Point Blank on 4 January 2018 - ISBN: 978-1-78607-253-5 (PB)
The author, who is British, has made rural Sweden his home since 2012 and this is his debut novel. Right from the start the reader is thrust into sub-zero temperatures, a dank and thick forest the size of an English county, the rituals of elk hunting, eyeless corpses and a young blonde investigator, Tuva Moodyson. But she’s no ordinary lass. She’s a reporter, afflicted by deafness and wearing hearing aids, who works on a local newspaper in the small town of Gavrik, where everyone knows everyone. She links the latest killings to similar ones that occurred in the forest twenty years earlier and pokes her nose into where she’s definitely not welcome, like the creepy, isolated inhabitants of Mossen deep in the woods where the bodies are discovered. She treads a delicate path between exposing the truth and staying on the right side of the local community who’s averse to its town being depicted as unsafe and depraved. Tuva’s hearing aids must remain dry if they are to function properly and she’s hampered by the never-ending rain and damp. Nevertheless, despite her fears and the hostility of the locals, she intrepidly presses on alone, a thorn in the side of the local police force, and, in terrifying circumstances, homes in on the perpetrator. Some readers may find that at times the pace slows down and take a while to pick up but when it does the author cranks up the pressure and piles on the sinister elements rendering the conclusion satisfyingly unexpected. This is a stunning chiller of a thriller and, intended as the first in a series, readers will look forward to more of Tuva, and her unique style of sleuthing.
Reviewer: Serena Fairfax