I’m not really sure why I haven’t read the first in this series, Dark Pines. I can only assume that I have had some form of fugue because after reading RedSnow, I realize that I have missed out BIG TIME! Huge thanks to Anne over at Randomthingstours for inviting me on to the tour and making me realise what I had been missing, and also to the author and the publisher for the ARC for review.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Red Snow is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Dark Pines, selected for ITV’s Zoe Ball Book Club
One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?
Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.
Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuvamust go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?
As soon as I opened this book I was immediately plunged into sub-zero temperatures and I got the feeling that this was going to be a chilling read in more than just one way! It is Tuva Moodyson’s last week in the town of Gavrik and she is preparing to escape from the claustrophobia of the small town to the bright lights and bustle of the city. But when the local liquorice factory owned by the Grimberg family becomes the focus of something very dark, it soon becomes clear that Tuva’s escape may not be as clear-cut as she once thought. Will Tuva be able to escape the town or is there someone there who is targeting her too? The plot is dark and compelling as Tuva begins to uncover a series of quite unfortunate coincidences. Something bad is happening in this small town.
I mentioned at the start of my post that I hadn’t read Dark Pines, so did this spoil the second in the series for me? Not at all. While there is no doubt that having a knowledge of the case before and the characters would have added a little extra to my reading experience, the plot was such that it could be read as a standalone with enough background information to ensure I was involved in the book.
This is one of those books where the town is as much of a character as the people are. There is a very real sense of isolation both in terms of its location, cut off from the rest of the world, but also in relation to the individuals who live and work there. It is almost like a little micro-culture of its own with characters so entrenched in their own way of living, it would feel very much like stumbling into another world should you arrive there by accident. The scenes in the forest were terrifying, I could actually feel myself there in the darkness.
There was something so darkly straightforward about the characters. There was a refreshing honesty about them, a real directness in their approach. Relationship dynamics were fascinating to read and it helped me form a very clear picture inside my head. Tuva made me “hmmm” at times. To start with, I couldn’t quite make up my mind if I liked her or not but one thing is for sure she engaged me and drew me into her life and by the end of the book I was #TeamTuva all the way!
The deeply intense and atmospheric prose paints a picture so crystal clear that it is easy to get lost within the pages and find yourself in the middle of Gavrik, wandering the streets with the town’s residents. It provides a sense of place so realistic that you will be piling on the layers to keep yourself warm just to read it! Will Dean certainly brings the pages alive for the reader. Perhaps the most disturbing sense of realism for me came from food! Now not much makes me shudder and in Red Snow, it wasn’t the gory deaths or scary stuff oh no, it was the vivid description of the meal prepared for Tuva by David Holmqvist that had my stomach doing somersaults! Seriously, WillDean, I’m gagging at it still!
The dark beauty of the narrative will immerse you in the plot and indeed in the location, with a sense of claustrophobia as winter takes a grip of this small town and your senses.
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About the author:
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying law at the LSE, and working many varied jobs in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife. He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.