We’re in Sweden, in the small town of Gavrik. It’s the middle of winter, in the depths of the forest, and there’s barely a sliver of daylight. It’s cold, and the trees are cloaked in a heavy blanket of snow. But none of this can deter Tuva Moodyson, the deaf reporter we all got to know and love in Will Dean’s first book, Dark Pines. Tuva is a kick-ass character, down-to-earth, slightly flawed and just utterly human. And she’s determined to get to the truth, even if it means crawling through the forest at night and taking on creepy residents who clearly have plenty of dark secrets to hide.
Will Dean’s excellent Scandi crime series comes with a bit of a twist, because Will himself is British – though he now lives in a remote forest in Sweden (I wonder where he got his inspiration from!) in a house he built himself. He has one of the most beautiful cats on the planet and he literally uses an axe to open boxes of his books when they arrive in the forest. (If you don’t believe me, you should probably check out his Twitter feed!) His books are authentic, eerie and so readable, and come highly recommended by me!
Red Snow, otherwise known as #Tuva2, is set in and around the liquorice factory in Gavrik. When bodies start turning up with liquorice coins covering their eyes, Tuva is immediately on the case. As she gets to know the Grimberg family, who own the factory, Tuva finds herself in increasing danger as she starts to close in on the truth. With occasional help from her best friend Tammy, new cop-on-the-block Noora and the weird and (dare I say it) wonderful Troll Sisters, it’s up to Tuva to find out who is really behind the murders…
With his second book, Will Dean has produced another cracking novel. He has a real knack for picking up his readers and dropping them head-first into the deep snow of the dark Swedish forest. He’s done a brilliant job of creating Tuva’s character – the thoughtful, practical details of what it’s like to be deaf, the irritating and sometimes offensive comments and questions from those who ‘mean well’, and her struggles to keep her hearing aids dry in the wet, snowy winter all help bring her character to life. She’s had a tough relationship with her mum, and with alcohol too over the years – in other words, she’s completely ordinary. And also totally awesome. If anything, I could have done with a bit more of her, as once the mystery appears to have been solved the book does end perhaps slightly quickly. But fortunately for us all, #Tuva3 is coming next year… so her story is far from over!
Red Snow is a fantastic read, and Will Dean a brilliant writer. So sit down, strap in and head off to Gavrik – I promise you won’t regret it!
Published by Point Blank (an imprint of Oneworld Publications) in January 2019. Thanks to Point Blank for the proof copy, pictured above.