Today is my turn on the blog tour for Dark Pines, the debut novel of Will Dean. I have a review of this intriguing and unusual book so read on and find out what I thought.
Blurb: Six hundred square kilometres of Swedish forest.
An isolated Swedish town.
One deaf reporter terrified of nature.
It’s week one of the elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. Two hunters are found murdered in the forest, with their eyes missing. When Tuva Moodyson, a young deaf reporter on a small-time local paper, investigates the story that could make her career, she stumbles on a web of secrets. Are the murders connected to the unsolved Medusa killings twenty years ago? Can Tuva outwit the killer before she becomes the next victim? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the murderer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.
DARK PINES is a unique take on Nordic noir by a young British crime writer living in Sweden, and the first in an exciting new series, featuring an unforgettable lead character.
My Review: This is an engrossing read which had me reading for an hour or two at a time without stopping, something that is not a common occurrence for me at the moment. I’ve not read a book where the main character is deaf so this was a new experience for me but it seemed to me to be handled rather well. The fact that the character is deaf was clearly an ongoing point in the book as the story is told from her point of view but equally it was not laboured or mentioned too often.
The story revolves around the death of one, and then a second, hunter in the woods during the Elk hunt. The murders are very similar to previous killings twenty years earlier which has the town on edge and accusations being aimed at one resident in particular.
The story being told from the perspective of a journalist rather than the police puts a different spin on it and allows us to see the investigation and the effects of the murders on the town from the perspective of a resident rather than an authority figure.
The woods in which the murders take place are described in such a way that they sound like somewhere you really wouldn’t want to linger, never mind live in. I was happily reading this book on my sofa, nice and cost and warm and the descriptions of the woods had me feeling uncomfortable and like I wanted to leave quickly and I wasn’t even there!
For a first novel this is incredibly well written and plotted. The pace of the story is perfect, steady but not slow. I really liked Tuva as well, especially the bits that made her normal like missing her laundry day or visiting McDonald’s because she really wanted their food. Things like this made her very realistic and easy to warm to. I believe this is the first in a series featuring Tuva and I am very much looking forward to seeing what she does next.
WILL DEAN grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying law at LSE, and doing various jobs in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife in 2012. He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing and it’s from this base that he writes, with the aim of being as self-sufficient and low-cost as possible. He and his wife grow food, forage in summer and autumn, take water from their own well and use their own timber for heating and cooking. His interests other than writing are painting, nature, cooking, travel, repairing old mechanical watches, seakayaking and movies. DARK PINES is his first novel.