Book Review: Dark Pines

DARK PINES | Will Dean
(Tuva Moodyson #1)
01.04.2018 | OneWorld Publications Point Black
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Tuva Moodyson is a journalist who has had to relocate to the isolated Swedish town of Gavrik in order to be closer to her ailing mother. The town is surrounded by the Utland Forest, which is massive and a huge source of sustainment for the town through hunting and harvesting. When a pair of eyeless hunters are found murdered in the woods this sleepy town is suddenly on high alert.

In the midst of hunting season, Tuva must gather her courage to fight her fear of the woods, as she leads the investigation into these murders for the local paper. This type of story is the kind of thing that makes or breaks careers. In the town of Gavrik it is also the kind of case that can break your connection to the town if you’re an outsider, as Tuva is quickly finding out. As Tuva gets closer to discovering the murderer strange things start happening to her. Is she being followed? Could Tuva’s life be in danger?

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DARK PINES is the launch of Will Dean’s series surrounding journalist Tuva Moodyson. The reader finds her feeling like an outsider in her new home of Gavrik, where if you’re not a local, you just don’t quite fit in. Moodyson is thrown into an elaborate murder investigation when a local man is found murdered in the woods with his eyes removed. This crime has connections to a handful of murder from 90’s and it is up to Tuva to put her reputation on the line as she looks into the backgrounds of the locals.

This book is incredibly atmospheric, as the reader can feel themselves being transported to Sweden and creeping through the Utland Forest with Tuva. Dean writes this town and forest in a way that immediately makes the reader feel on guard. You feel like someone is watching you and Tuva. Not only is there a sense of tension due to atmospheric qualities, but this feeling is also present because of the way Tuva is portrayed as an outsider in this town. The reader can feel her isolation. They can feel Tuva being turned away and shut out. This is one of those instances where the reader is just as lost for answers as the main character because they are both outsiders in this small town.

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Tuva Moodyson is not your typical lead for a Nordic Noir book, which is why I think she is so compelling to read about. Tuva is not particularly brave while investigating the murders, but she does trust her guts. Tuva challenges those around her, i.e., the police and town residents, to see the clues and hints that she sees. She desperately wants the town to look into the corrupt individuals in Gavrik, but is consistently met with responses that hint that she should mind her own business. Watching Tuva push herself to go to the places she doesn’t want to, bend the law following a lead, and force herself to keep going no matter the obstacle is empowering and satisfying.

DARK PINES is a classic atmospheric Nordic Noir mystery. This book is filled with an intricate murder mystery, small town drama, and creepy characters, perfect for reading in the winter months. If you’re looking for something a little slower paced to go with the chilly weather then put this one on your TBR!


This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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