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. Tuva must 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?
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it's from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. He is the author of Dark Pines.
Having loved Dark Pines by Will Dean, I was overjoyed to return to the isolated, intensely claustrophobic small town of Gavrik in Sweden. After the Medusa Murders investigation and the death of her mother, 26 year old bisexual and deaf since childhood reporter, Tuva Moodyson, has acquired the much desired ticket out of Gavrik, a journalist position in the bigger town of Malmo. However, plagued by guilt over her mother, the end days working at the Gavrik Posten and living in the town is a more bittersweet experience than Tuva expects as she finds herself on the scene of the apparent suicide of Gustav Grimberg as he jumps off the chimney of his factory. He is the chief of the liquorice company that Gavrik depends on, and which employs so many of its residents. The unjustly maligned pariah, the strange, hairy ghostwriter David Holmqvist with his decidedly odd culinary tastes, is writing a history of Grimbergs Liquorice and its family members that the company is depending on raising much needed revenue.
Holmqvist is experiencing difficulties getting close to the remaining women in the family, intent on and adept at maintaining their privacy. Tuva, being financially strapped, persuades him to hire her to address this issue as she has the emotional skills to get closer to Anna-Britta, the widow, the goth daughter Karin and the grandmother in the attic, Cecilia aka Cici. As Tuva finds herself on the gruesome scene of a murder at the factory, with the victim's eyes covered by black liquorice coins, referred to as the Ferryman killing, she wonders if there is a connection with the suicide. The Grimbergs have had more than their share of tragedies, additionally burdened by their responsibilities to the town, continuing obsolete and uneconomic working practices in their efforts to meet their duties to the many they employ. In the desperately cold, freezing, snowy, dark and deadly February, a challenge to be endured, it is barely surprising that so many of the locals turn to alcohol. Matters are exacerbated as danger, fear and menace begin to stalk the town, with the Ferryman at large, his sights set firmly on Tuva. Will she survive?
Will Dean excels in creating a strong sense of chilling menacing atmosphere and evoking the location so superbly, the gloom, the culture, such as the local traditions of making snow skulls, his rich descriptions ensure that you are immersed in this place with its wide cast of weird and odd characters. The author's abilities in compelling and gripping characterisation ensure that the reader's attention is held with ease. The bizarre Grimberg family, living in splendid isolation have unusual protection practices, and prove to be a remarkable mix of the vulnerable, offbeat and the courageous. Tuva feels the loss of those she has become so close to Gavrick, Lena, Tammy, not to mention her new love interest, as life moves on for her. I eagerly await the next in the series as she embarks on a new life in Malmo. This is a fantastically appealing series with a wonderful addition that I recommend highly to crime fiction fans. Many thanks to Oneworld Publications for an ARC.
Since the success with her investigation and reporting into the Medusa Murders in Book 1, 'Dark Pines', Tuva Moodyson is offered a more lucrative job offer at a bi-weekly newspaper in a new town. It's time for Tuva to move away from the claustrophobic, consuming, small town of Gavrik. However, before she can leave this small town a public suicide occurs and there is a murder. Strangely, both victims are found on the grounds of the Grimberg Liquorice Factory, with liquorice coins found on their person.
Tuva only has two weeks to investigate before she has to move for her new job. She is drawn to the Grimberg family, now consisting of three generational females, that additionally live within the grounds of the factory. She soon learns that the factory and the family are shrouded in secrets and mystery. Can Tuva escape Gavrik and start a-new, or will the small town consumer her?
Will Dean has maintained the brilliance of Tuva as a character. She is the deaf reporter at the local small-town paper and is still courageous and tenacious in her investigations and reporting. This book introduced an eccentricity to new characters, but also brings back some of the old characters encountered in Dark Pines- those that come from the cut-off, hidden, Utgard Forest.
This book was very atmospheric and gritty, the same as in Dark Pines. You could easily feel the freezing cold and all of the snow and ice.
I awarded this book 3 stars as it took a while for me to get into the book. Also, I found that not all of the answers provided were fully given, so I was still left wondering and wanting more.
I really, really wanted to like Red Snow. But, I faced the same problem with this book as I did with Dark Pines. It's too slow. It's repetitive. And, I find myself just not completely taken with Tuva Moodyson. And, it's hard to really enjoy a book when the main character just doesn't click with you.
Now, many, many love this series so I'm probably just not the right reader. It could be because I'm Swedish and I totally miss the exotic part of this book since I do shop at ICA Maxi often and yes it's cold and snowy here. However, often it felt like much of what was going on was so mundane. Tuva going on about what a shitty town it is. Everyone staring at her ear (she has a hearing aid) like they never seen anyone with one before and how bloody cold is it. Yes, it's winter. Move on, do not mention it all the time.
The book started off great. And, I thought that here we go. Wow, what an interesting start. And, somewhere along the way I just felt that my interested started to decline. The mystery really never got to me. I wanted to the family that owned Grimberg factory to be weird and creepy, but they never really got to be more than mildly odd. And, the explanation in the end? Sorry, it was a bit of a letdown.
I wish I could have liked this book better; however, it didn't rock my socks. So, sadly I can't give it more than 2-stars.
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
This is an excellent follow up to ‘Dark Pines’, the first novel in this series introducing us to Tuva Moodyson, the deaf journalist working in the small Swedish town of Gavrik. It’s mid winter, February when you can die in your car following a breakdown or skid off the icy roads unless prepared with food, water and blankets. The tiny town is centred around a crumbling old liquorice factory which employs most of the town, along with a pulp mill further north. Claustrophobic at the best of times, the town is even worse in winter with people scurrying between their work places, the supermarket, the single pub and their homes in multiple layers of winter clothing. When a gruesome murder follows a suicide at the liquorice factory everyone hunkers down even more, knowing there is a killer in their midst.
This is chilling Swedish noir, dark and suspenseful with a range of creepy characters in a strange little town. There is a sense of the bitter cold and an underlying foreboding soaking into the novel. After three years working on the regional newspaper, Tuva has finally got her wish of landing a job on a national paper and will be moving to Malmö in two weeks time. In the meantime, alongside her regular job for the newspaper, she is doing research for a local author writing a book on the Grimberg family who have owned the factory for centuries, which not only allows her access to the remaining cast of bizarre family members but also to snoop around the factory investigating the macabre murder. Following a suspenseful ending, I’m looking forward to following up with Tuva as she moves on to Malmö for a new start.
This is the second book in the Tuva Moodyson series. I enjoyed the first one very much and have already preordered the next in the series. The location is again the remote, small town of Gavrik, Sweden. The freezing temperatures, the isolation, the snow and ice, the nearby forests abundant with wildlife are vividly described. There is a sense of gloom and menace along with the ever-present bone-chilling cold of mid-February.
I admit I encountered a roadblock about 40% through this compelling mystery. I was reading it while the temperatures outdoors were even lower than those mentioned in Gavrik, and while I was dreading going outside to scrape ice and snow off my car. If reading as a means of escape was my intention, this atmospheric novel was too much reality. I would have loved it better on a hot summer’s day. I resumed it today when the temperature zoomed to a balmy -2 C this morning.
Tuva, a deaf, bi-sexual reporter had moved to Gavrik to be near her dying mother. She took a job with the small-town local newspaper and was successful in writing about the weird Medusa murders. She is now looking forward to moving on to a new position as reporter further south and enjoying city life in Malmo. She has no love for the isolated life in Gavrik but has made a couple of good female friends, Lena, her boss and mentor at the newspaper, and Tammy, who runs a Thai food truck. She was just beginning a new romantic relationship and is going to miss those people. There is very little to do in this cold, remote area. The main pastimes seem to be drinking liquor, eating candy and spreading rumours. Crime is rare, but Tuva arrived at a time when there were two new murders connected to a couple of similar cold cases. Now there are more deaths, arsons and suicides to keep her busy investigating, and filing stories for the local newspaper.
The main employer in the town is the licorice factory owned and run by the eccentric Grimberg family. It was once an up-to-date, money-making enterprise with equipment and procedures that were modern for the past era. It has not been updated, and its work practices and equipment have become obsolete. The Grimberg’s feel responsible for their large, overworked staff. They regard it as their duty to keep their workers employed, or the town would die.
Tuva witnesses the apparent suicide of Gustav Grimberg, the chief of the factory, when he jumps off the chimney roof. Holmqvist, a ghostwriter is planning to publish his first book under his own name. This book will be a history of Grimberg Liquorice and its family members. The proceeds from the book will hopefully help the company financially. Holmqvist is unpopular with the townspeople, and he is not making headway in interviewing the three remaining women in the family. He hires Tuva to get close to these very private women for any information she can add to his book. These women are Gustav’s widow, Anna- Britta, the grandmother, Cici, and the Goth daughter, Karin. This family has seen more than their share of tragedy but they gradually open up to Tuva.
Soon, Tuva is at the ghastly scene of a murder at the factory. The victim’s eyes are covered with licorice coins, his throat slit, and a dog’s tooth inserted in his throat. The townspeople become fearful that a killer nicknamed the Ferryman is preying on the town, and gossip and rumours are rampant. Tuva and others wonder if the two deaths are connected. There are some suspicious car accidents in the dead of winter that add to the fear. The grandmother, Cici, is injured in a fall downstairs and claims she was pushed.
The author, Will Dean, lives in the woods in Sweden and knows how to write a chilling, atmospheric story. He makes you feel the cold and the stifling claustrophobia in a small town with some eccentric people. The characters are compelling, and the fear and dread underlying the mystery are always present. This works well as a stand-alone but I feel the previous book be should read first. Recommended.
Having very recently read the first in the deaf investigative reporter Tuva Moodyson series "Dark Pines" and having a few issues with her, the main character, I wasn't sure whether this book the follow up to it, "Red Snow" would be the one that would change my opinion of her. Although I did enjoy the story line much more in "Red Snow" and wanted to see it through to the end, I still found her very difficult to endear to and found her to be a moaning, dull and boring character that hadn't changed from her last outing. The dark, bleak, dreary and icy cold Swedish weather did nothing to encourage me to visit the country and the over descriptions and details of the small rural town of Gavrik and surrounding forests filled with oddball and unlikeable characters did not compliment the atmospheric feel of the novel for me at all. Constant putting clothes on and taking them off, scraping windscreens and dry and chapped weather beaten skin did become tedious after the first few mentions. There was one character however that I did take to and that was elderly Cici Grimberg, her eccentricity and attitude was fun to read. I certainly don't want to give the impression that I have a problem with Will Dean's writing because that's far from the truth. He obviously writes with first hand experience of living in long, dark and freezing cold Swedish winters and he's put an obvious amount of passion and effort into a series that I know is going down really well with readers. I suspect this will be just as much a hit as "Dark Pines". I myself, just haven't clicked with Tuva and should the series have had a more endearing main protagonist I would have enjoyed so much more. To die hard crime readers who enjoy slow, unappealing character driven novels not necessarily set in cosy conditions will probably enjoy this series, I wouldn't say don't read - follow Tuva for yourself and hopefully you'll like her a lot more than I did.
3.5 stars for the storyline which did keep my interest.
4/5 stars for this atmospheric & personality-filled crime novel! I thoroughly enjoyed this read: its immersive atmosphere, its quirky and compelling cast of characters, and its small-town setting all come together to create a genuinely unique and engrossing crime story. While it's definitely a slow-burner, the payoff is worth it!
One note: because it's so focused on small-town life, it's a story that's smaller in scope - aka there aren't as many changes of location, etc. - just something to keep in mind in terms of your own expectations.
Red Snow was hotly anticipated by me that’s for sure and rather than devour it I’ve taken my time, such beautiful writing and a return to Tuva’s world has made for a purely joyful reading experience and having read the last couple of chapters this morning I’m sad to see it go.
Tuva really is an extraordinary character, Red Snow finds her involved with an intriguing family dynamic as she prepares to leave Gavrik behind her and move on. A suicide, a murder and a hidden agenda makes for a tough investigation for her and it is fascinating and addictive.
Turns out Dark Pines was not a fluke, once again Will Dean brings an immersive and descriptively beautiful sense of place to proceedings. Red Snow is a chilling read in more ways than one, you live it right alongside Tuva – the town of Gavrik, it’s surrounds and it’s people brought to vivid and emotional life.
The story is a dark, complex and compelling one, the plotting is superb and often unexpected. Overall Red Snow puts Will Dean right at the top of a crop of emerging talent within the literary crime fiction world- fantastic stuff, a pure pleasure from first page to last and it could be said that I’m a bit of a fan.
Suprisingly, 5-stars. The pacing is slow and easy, the prose superb. I was at first disappointed in the book, then captured completely. Best of all, there are some truly fine quotations from the book that I've listed below.
This is a wonderful excursion into a small town dominated by a strange and powerful family. A family beset long by tragedy after tragedy, we assume due to their own poisonous wealth and arrogance, but no.
There is a mystery here, a villain, but the real story is in the complex characters so well presented. Will Dean extends the character of Tuva, and her friends and associates. The fear of the unknown villain in a small town presses down almost unbearably on these people, and their reaction to it is both human and poignant.
The first half of the book is slow and steady, focusing on character development, and punctuated by a suicide and brutal serial murders. The pace picks up around each murder, but then we are back into the smouldering mix of characters, none of whom seem likely to be serial killers.
Some characters are new, without great depth, and Tuva's interest in all but one of them is good. There are hints of gentle romance for Tuva, lonely Tuva, and then suddenly in Chapter 36 the author presents one of the most wonderful and superb romantic episodes I’ve ever read.
I sat almost frozen for this utterly brilliant, heart-in-my-throat, barely daring to breathe while this intimate joy of discovery unfolds. Marvellous, fabulous, thrilling. I read it 3-4 times. I'm going to read it again now.
Then Chapter 36 follows, also brilliant, with the aftermath of that sudden beautiful romance, poignant and real, enveloping the two characters and their friends. Superb.
The prose relaxes back into the expansion of the characters, especially the surviving membrs of the Grimberg family. We learn more of their ancestry, and their fates, inseparable from the town of Gavrik, and the liquorice factory they own.
This family is suprisingly interesting, each individual locked into the fabric of the factory in their own ways, each tied to the other through suffering and loss. I came to love them in spite of their apparent arrogance and power. Tuva does, too.
The mystery proceeds, and the villain is uncovered in an unexpected place, and a terrifying time for Tuva herself. But all ends well, as well as it could.
Chapter and quote: 2 ‘Stay with me,’ I say, louder and more forcefully than I’d expected, but it’s no use, he is the most dead person I have ever seen.
3 It’s a routine, like a fighter pilot’s pre-flight checks. I scrape the windscreen and mirrors and front windows and spray blue antifreeze on the rear ones. Then I get in and turn the wipers on and release the handbrake and set off. There is no noise and the dash says minus twenty-two.
Everything’s white. It looks like God poured a bottle of correction fluid over the whole town, and who the hell could blame him.
4 The factory seems larger today, that disused chimney on the right side staring the whole town in the eye, complicit in a death, responsible by way of its obscene and pointless height.
5 The oldest stones are unreadable, moss-crusted and pocked. They’re not remembered, the people underneath, too many degrees of separation between them and the living world. Most are not quite upright. They’re forgotten and they are falling as slowly as anything in the world could ever fall.
11 He walks to the arch and I do as he says. It’s not swine cold today, just about minus-seven cold. It is discomfort chilblain cold not death cold.
16 People talk a lot about dignity in death and how some folk fight and battle with cancer and I’m not sure Mum fought it exactly, it’s more nuanced than a fight, and I don’t see how she lost. It’s not a win or lose thing. It’s not a sport. She had a miserable life but cancer’s a mean twisted fuck and it came to her and then it left her alone and then it took her so fast at the end that I didn’t even have time to tell her I’ll live on for her, or that I enjoyed my early childhood or that I forgave her. That I loved her. Maybe love’s the wrong word. I should have told her that I understood her. That I would survive on my own.
17 She’s wearing a striped long-sleeved T-shirt with ten or eleven necklaces and a bear-claw brooch pinned in the centre of her back, and a skirt or tutu thing with layers and layers of organza, and spiderweb tights and black boots with a small heel. Her hair is amazing, a kind of ’60s beehive, but twisted, with pins and butterfly grips and one of those crazy helter-skelter straws stabbed in the top.
19 They look happy in the picture, young and in love and uncomplicated, and that just makes me feel more alone here in this barely-functioning life; empty fridge and empty savings account, no partner. I guess their generation grew up faster but I feel a deep and very real fear
that I’ll be like this my whole life, some transient hack drinking too much with no family whatsoever,
25 ‘What are the doorknobs made from?’ I ask. She turns to me and grins a Cecilia grin, like a Doberman in attack mode but they manage to make it almost pretty. ‘Grimberg teeth,’ she says. ‘No tooth fairy in our family, we could never afford her. The knobs are the milk teeth of me and Father and all of Grandfather’s other descendants since way back when. We have a thing for teeth. It’s sweet, really.’ It is fucked up and a long way from sweet.
28 Their furry thoraxes are pulsating and their breathing rate has slowed to what looks like a human’s breathing rate, their tiny lungs inflating and deflating inside them at the same tempo as mine; and that is unnerving.
31 I thank the sisters and follow the tractor. The snow gets scraped away and the brilliant white daylight clears my head. I love this tractor rumbling and ploughing in front of me with its horsepower and its heft. It’s a goddam pleasure to walk behind it. It’s a privilege.
32 I move grey hairs from her face and even though she’s been disassembled, she is still a piece of art, still a composition, still beautiful. It’s as if an installation has been air lifted from a distant gallery in some cosmopolitan place and then dropped from a great height.
46 I hate the idea of someone I love dying by suicide because I hate the idea that someone I love could be in that much pain.
I have been eagerly awaiting this second story in the Tuva Moodyson series, by Will Dean - and it didn’t disappoint! Dark Pines was a great introduction to the likeable and ambitious newspaper reporter, with a riveting and fast flowing debut story. This second story set in the same town features many of the original names with some new additions, and is just as gripping a read. I hope book number 3 is in the making! Great Scandi Noir, highly recommended.
Ever since I finished Dark Pines last year, I’ve impatiently been awaiting this follow-up and another opportunity to hang out with the absolutely fabulous Tuva Moodyson. Let me tell you, it was most definitely worth the wait!
Nothing much seems to have happened in Gavrik since we visited it last time but that’s all about to change when Tuva Moodyson witnesses a suicide. The head of the Grimberg family jumps off the roof of their factory to his death. The Grimberg family has had its fair share of hardship throughout the years. But what would prompt a seemingly successful man to take his own life?
Then another man is found murdered. Two liquorice coins cover his eyes. Is this a message? If so, what does it mean and who is it for? With the Grimberg factory providing for most of Gavrik’s residents, could someone possibly have it in for them? And if so, why? With a new job lined up in the south, Tuva has little time to investigate the deaths and dig for some answers. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that the Grimberg family values its privacy dearly, making it look like they all have something to hide.
Nothing is quite what it seems in Red Snow. With intriguing and complex characters and a deliciously intricate plot, this novel had me staying up way too late in a desperate attempt to finish it. But I just had to know what was going on. I didn’t count on Will Dean’s devious mind though, which meant that the final pages came at me like a knockout punch to the gut that left me winded but also caused so much adrenaline to course right through me, I felt like I could have gone out and run a marathon!
Tuva is such a brilliant character. Determined, sassy, bit stubborn maybe but a female protagonist to be fiercely proud of and root for. She even managed to make me a little emotional when trying to deal with the death of her mother. There were moments where I wanted to wrap her up in a big, warm hug and tell her I completely understood and it would all be okay.
Red Snow is tense, full of suspense, gloomy and chilling. The claustrophobic atmosphere of small town living is even more intensified due to the wintery conditions and yet, I may just end up missing this community with its weird and wonderful residents. Still, in Tuva Moodyson Will Dean has created the most delightful character and I will gladly follow her wherever she goes. I can’t wait for more but in the meantime, you can be sure Red Snow will end up on my list of favourite books of the year. Bring on Tuva 3!
Dean’s writing has developed remarkably since Book One ‘Dark Pines.’
Once again the isolated Swedish town of Gavrik plays centre stage to the unfolding tragedies that occur in or near the town’s main employer, the liquorice factory. Setting, imagery and immersion into a Swedish winter is clearly created by the author.
The majority of the cast return and the strength of this book is the intense characterisation, and their development and evolvement. The addition of a few quirky, eccentric and outright superstitious characters is brilliant.
Family, small-town survival, perseverance, tenacity and overcoming adversity permeate the novel. An intriguing plot that is supported by beautiful writing.
3.5★ Another accomplished mystery from Will Dean, but a little slower-paced which made it slightly less compelling for me, thus I'm rating it down a bit compared to Dark Pines.
Six months or so on from the Medusa Murders and the town of Gavrik in central Sweden is suffering through the white months, particularly bitter this year. After her great success in reporting the town's recent grisly tragedy, Tuva is in her final 2 weeks at the Gavrik Posten before moving south to begin working for a quality bi-weekly journal just near Malmö. When the owner of the local liquorice factory, one of the two main employers in Gavrik, falls to his death in an apparent suicide, Tuva knows she won't be having the quiet, uneventful fortnight she might have expected.
In order to facilitate her signature human-interest angle in the reporting of the death, Tuva needs to get closer to the surviving Grimberg family members, and the opportunity to do just that comes along in the shape of David Holmqvist, the region's infamous ghost-writer. He is working on his first ever named-author book, which happens to be a history of Grimberg Liquorice, but the Grimberg women have become uncooperative since the suicide. Tuva offers to take on a research role for him, providing the family/personal colour to what might otherwise become a dull history book. Holmqvist agrees, and Tuva has her way in. She will do the work in conjunction with her reporting job, and also work in her spare time if she needs to.
Then, on her very first official visit to the factory in her role as researcher, an employee is found dead in a disused part of the complex; murdered, with liquorice coins covering his eyes, more stuffed down his throat, and a dog's tooth inserted into a small, deep incision. With the town already on edge, the murder sends the town of Gavrik into a tense tailspin, and Tuva must work quickly to get the full story before she is due to leave.
Although I've already said this book is a bit slower, it still has lots to recommend it. Tuva's character has a lot of growth, not only from the things that happened to her in between the two stories, but also from the potential for romance with the new cop in town, and from the way her friends and colleagues embrace her as she prepares to move away from Gavrik. Then there's the location. The author actually lives in the middle of an elk forest (much like Utgard Forest, I imagine!), so he's well-qualified to observe and use the idiosyncrasies of his real Värmland location to build a fictional setting that is 100% authentic. While Dark Pines gave the reader a summer version of Gavrik, with everyone being eaten alive by the insects, in Red Snow we are in the depths of winter, when everything is white, people don't bother to shower very often and their skin peels away from the cold. It is incredibly atmospheric. Finally, can I just say, liquorice factory.
Once again I chose audio for this series. Maya Lindh's narration is familiar and charming with her slightly accented English that gives her away as a non-native speaker only when you hear the occasional example of unusual pronunciation. Her voice is synonymous with Tuva for me now, so I imagine that if I were to read a text copy of #3, it would still be her voice in my head. (But I won't - audio all the way for this series!)
With a number of returning characters and frequent references to the events surrounding the Medusa Murders of Dark Pines, I wouldn't recommend trying to read this as a standalone, or reading out of order. But do read it!
Just when I thought I couldn’t love Tuva and Will Dean more, there comes along a book that makes me hug both of them very tightly indeed. Whilst sharing liquorice with them both.
I couldn’t wait to start sharing the Red Snow love – just wait until you see what that title refers to as well! It’s not as obvious as you think.
There’s a great mystery in this one with shades of book one loitering in the background. Tuva has a new job in Malmo but before she leaves,someone falls from the roof of the local liquorice factory. then another body is found with liquorice coins in its eyes. There’s so much to love about the unique angle of the murder mystery, the Swedish cultural references and the feeling that that forest in Gavrik is even more menacing that first thought.
Will has totally captured the feel of the remote yet claustrophobic Swedish forest, the small town community and the local business which people both love and hate. Liquorice controls their lives here, yet for some it leaves more than a black stain and a bad taste in the mouth.
Ooh and the cast of characters are some of the most complex and dark I’ve ever met in a book. You never really know what you’re getting. And it all works. It all works beautifully.
Will has even stepped up the Tuva charm. Her observation of a snow dusted dog turd nearly finished me off. And her inner thoughts such as thinking about poking her eyes out if she has to eat dark chocolate. Not to mention the frozen snot trails she sees…
I love Tuva for what she stands for and who she is and I love Will for writing such a fantastically sharp, insightful and gripping novel.
To quote a line in the book, Red Snow is “dog**** deluxe”
As mentioned above I absolutely LOVED Dark Pines and decided to keep Red Snow until the week before the #blogtour so it’s fresh in my mind. I started reading this book on a Friday and had the entire weekend to savour and devour the book, but for some reason it was taking me ages to read it and I didn’t understand why. The storyline was gripping, the characters fascinating, the writing was beautiful and brilliant but what would normally take me 5-6 hours took me almost 10-12 hours to read and then I worked out WHY?
The book was too bloody atmospheric, set in the snowy, freezing cold town of Gavrik, every time I tried to read the book I went to bed and switched on my heated blankets and 20 mins later fell asleep – like clockwork. The book was so descriptive and authentic I could literally feel the icy wind, see the snow falling and landing on the floor and for some odd reason I needed to be warm and snuggled up in my bed to face The Ferryman and read about The Grimberg Liquorice Factory.
There were several absolutely BRILLIANT sections of writing in the book, that I wish I had the foresight to highlight so I can share them with you, but alas I was too engrossed in the story (and my afternoon naps) to do that. The tongue/penis meal made me laugh; the relationship between Tuva and Tams is wonderful, the strength and dedication behind the Grimberg ladies is incredible.
If you enjoyed Dark Pines you will LOVE Red Snow. If you haven’t read Dark Pines – then do yourself a huge favour and read it now.
I would like to begin by saying that I greatly enjoyed "Dark Pines", the debut novel by Will Dean, and I also liked the protagonist, the -almost- deaf journalist Tuva Moodyson. Nevertheless, what made the book so popular and well-received by the audience is the fictitious city of Gavrik somewhere in the northernmost parts of Sweden, described in grey tones and colors by the talented author, who settled in rural Sweden after living in nine different East Midlands villages before the age of eighteen (!).
I swore I wouldn't read another in this series, as the MC Tuva Moodyson was so unpleasant to spend time with in the first (Dark Pines) that I really didn't want to go on another journey with her. However, I clicked on this last night and was the second page in when I realised it was another in the series, and as it had caught my attention I decided to read on. A suicide in a liquorice factory. What could be more weird and intriguing? Tuva, however, is still bizarrely annoying. Think Greta Thunberg with her little scrunched troll face in a bad mood lecturing you about your SUV, and you've got Tuva Moodyson to a tee. But not only is this odd suicide in a liquorice factory, it's mid-winter in the arctic circle, and I do love my novels set in the bitter cold and snow. As always I'll update when done. Done. And thank goodness comes to mind as I say that. I really didn't enjoy this. I finished it. But how much revolting detail about people can you take in one book? Tuva is obsessed with noticing snot freezing on people's faces, their body hair (sometimes so long and thick it blows in the wind), lizard-like skin, or dry skin flaking off to the floor! Then there's the disgusting food she eats: brains, livers, tongues, thyroid glands. Add to all that, there's lesbian sex scenes, which fortunately I was quick enough to skip over, but the entire narrative is woven through with this revolting little woman lusting after another woman. I'm all for lust. I write a lot of it. But I could smell the sweat and musty wool and unwashed sheets while reading this, and along with the weird body obsessions and vomit-inducing food I was struggling. I am sure some people will really enjoy this Scandinavian noir so-of thriller. I just found the main character overwhelmed the entire narrative. I had to work hard to get any thrill out of the yuck. Not for me.
It’s back to Gavrik for another chilling (and chilly) tale …this time a corpse has been found in a licorice factory, his eyes covered with licorice coins # ferryman. I don’t know if Will Dean is deaf, and I suspect he’s not a woman, yet his small-town hack, Tuva Moodyson, is totally believable. Dean is a great writer. His snow-smothered scene-setting slips seamlessly into his action-packed plot. I wonder if he read my review of his previous book, Dark Pines, because he even popped an Agnetha in there to complete our favourite Swedish quartet. So why didn’t I give it five stars? Dean leaves several plotlines totally unresolved – I accept that in this town everyone’s a bit sinister, but I do think there should be some explanation for the repeated focus on particular characters who are, for example, seen passing folders to people whom they bear an unexpected resemblance to. But ultimately, the book’s weakness was the ending. The ending was absurd. The ending takes up about 3 chapters of the book. The other 50 chapters are amazing.
Dark Pines was one of my favourite books of 2017, so I did a very merry happy dance when I received an ARC of Will Dean’s latest book, Red Snow, which was a must-read for me before I even knew of its existence. I absolutely adored Tuva Moodyson, the journalist who starred in Dark Pines and makes her comeback here, getting drawn into yet another dark and sinister crime story in the small town of Gavrik in Sweden’s north.
After the death of her mother and the events that unfolded in Dark Pines, Tuva has come to the decision that small town living is not for her, and secured a new job in Malmoe, in the South of Sweden. Her decision is being reinforced by the inclement weather, the bone-chilling cold that keeps people indoors, the masses of snow that make roads impassable, and the permanent gloom of February that has people seeking out the comfort of their heated homes and UV lamps to beat their dose of seasonal affective disorder. Inside the Grimberg liquorice factory, Gavrik’s biggest employer, business goes on as usual, until one of its owners plunges to his death from one of the factory’s chimneys in front of dozens of workers. Was it suicide or has someone driven him to commit this terrible act? This was going to be Tuva’s last story, until more bodies start piling up and it seems that someone has a serious grudge against the Grimberg’s.
Like in Dark Pines, Will Dean has done a fantastic job is creating a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere brimming with weird and wonderful characters that made this an unputdownable read for me. I loved the fact that a lot of the characters from Dark Pines make a comeback here: there are the woodcarving sisters, the cooking ghostwriter and the creepy taxi driver, but there also is the wonderful Tammy and Tuva’s colleagues, who have supported her during her time in Gavrik. However, nothing compares to the strange family dynamics of the Grimberg family! These people were so weird and so intriguing that I had no idea where this would all lead. I am not exaggerating when I say that these are some of the best characters I have encountered in a mystery in a long, long time. The skill here is that Dean offers just the right amount of information at exactly the right time to keep the mystery tense and suspenseful, but never over the top or requiring the suspension of disbelief. With the amount of psychological thriller I read, I know that this is a fine art that not everyone can achieve, and I savoured it like the rare and wonderful treat it was.
Armchair travellers will be happy to hear that this is a trip to a wintry northern Sweden they are not likely to forget in a hurry. Some of the scenes had me shivering right next to Tuva, trapped in a blizzard in her old car. And the old factory was deliciously creepy, a very unique setting for a suspenseful read that worked a treat for me. And Dean knows just how to add small details to step up the tension – like the addition of the snow skulls suddenly appearing everywhere (who ever knew that such things existed!).
I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but will sum it all up in just four words: I LOVED this book. I really, really hope that this will not be the last we see of Tuva, but that she will make a comeback in a future novel (please, pretty please!). If you love atmospheric Scandinavian mysteries with unforgettable characters that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned, then this one is a must-read!
Thank you to Netgalley and Oneworld Publications for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.
I really enjoyed Dark Pines by the author, which is the first book where we get to meet local reporter Tuva. I loved being whisked back to Gavrik at one of the coldest times of the year. Especially as it made me thankful of the temperatures we get here in the UK.
The story centres round the liquorice factory and the family who own it. It certainly piqued my interest, especially as Tuva seemed to be literally falling over dead bodies at every turn! I mean come on who doesn't like a high body count? The more the merrier for me.
What I loved is that a lot of the weird and not so weird characters we get to meet in the first book, are back again in this book, with lots of new ones. It always surprises me how many books are set in small areas and yet apart from a couple of characters, the rest are always new ones tot he readers. I really like how the author incorporates them all some how in this one which really adds to the story and it felt more comforting somehow as I knew a lot of the characters. Even though over half of them I would still steer clear of as they are very strange to say the least.
The story also pretty much follows on from the last book. It does actually read well as a stand alone though. It has left me wondering though if this the last we will be seeing of Tuva or if the author has more books in a series planned. I'm really hoping it is the latter as I think there is so much more to come from this heroine.
Red Snow is the perfect title for this book. I loved the authors descriptions as it brings Gavrik to life and had me huddling up trying to keep warm. It wasn't only the mention of the snow but the chilling deaths that gave me goosebumps. A truly chilling, nail biter of a read. Please, please, please let there be more to come from Tuva!
My thanks to Oneworld Publications and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
“Between the sisters’ place and the ghostwriter’s place the snow is deep and the grooves are starting to harden. I have no thermometer but I’d guess we’re at minus five and the snow’s coming down hard now..... this is a white-out, a blizzard, a frozen sandstorm....” p216
Nordic Noir doesn’t get much better than Will Dean’s Tuva Moodyson series. Honestly, this is Scandi crime with every ingredient that makes this genre so addictive to me. The darkness, the cold, the remoteness, the cast of eclectic characters... where place and people drive the plot and I can almost feel the slow-burn chill emanating from each page.
Red Snow is the second in the Tuva Moodyson series, set in the central west Swedish region of Värmland, in the remote fictitious town of Gavrik on the edge of dense pine forest. Tuva is a heroine like no other, deaf reporter for the local paper, we get an insight into life of the hard of hearing which adds a dimension that is intriguing.
Gavrik is home to the Grimberg Liquorice Factory and it is this factory that lies at the centre of Red Snow. The Liquorice Factory is the heart of Gavrik, largest employer, run by the Grimbergs for decades, home to mystery and intrigue and antiquated ways of business. There are liquorice stampers, tasters and packers and the eccentric Grimbergs are a story in themselves. When Gustav Grimberg jumps to his death from the iconic chimney stacks on top of the factory, the scene is set for a Scandi Noir like no other.
Brilliant second book, following the sensational Dark Woods that I read a year ago. Already looking forward to book 3. Five liquorice stars for this one.
The sequel to Dark Pines picks up six months after Tuva’s mother dies. It builds upon many of the same characters whilst introducing a few more.
Will Deans lead character Tuva Moodyson is likeable, funny and has a great tell it as it is attitude. WD has created an excellent book series which I would highly recommend to anyone - especially as an introduction to Nordic Noir.
The first of Will Dean’s Swedish set thrillers, Dark Pines, left me distinctly underwhelmed and unconvinced that investigative journalist and deaf bisexual lead character, Tuva Moodyson, had the makings of a strong protagonist. With an oddly jarring narrative that proved rather distracting, an abundance of repetitive detail and a sluggish pace throughout, some excessive and rather unbelievable plot twists into the close made for a overly melodramatic reveal to expose the killer. In contrast to the majority of readers I was neither chilled or thrilled by the novels first-person present tense narrator, Tuva, whom I found insipid, fond of moaning and pretty dull! In short she seemed like another whiny female character who only stands out on the basis of her disability and lacked any journalistic instinct. Although the follow-up, Red Snow, has a marginally tighter plot I found much of the novel a similarly disappointing experience and anything but gripping! From start to finish I felt an abject lack of tension and was glad to see the back of a town with one main road, three shops, a factory, a pulp mill and a handful of outré characters!
After four years in the remote town of Gavrik and working as the sole full-time reporter on the Gavrik Posten, a community focused weekly publication with a limited circulation, Tuva Moodyson is preparing to head to pastures new. Tuva, who is far from sold of the isolated town with a population of nine-thousand that she has dubbed “Toytown” has struck gold with a new job at a bi-weekly publication near Malmö. Still coming to terms with the death of her mother from terminal illness and the associated guilt of not having visited her more despite their fractured relationship, Tuva has improved the papers circulation and (apparently) made a name for herself with her incisive reporting on the Medusa Murders, all with the human interest angle at the forefront of her mind.
But with just ten days until her exit, twenty-six-year-old Tuva bears witness to the suicide of Gustav Grimberg, proprietor of the largest employer in town, Grimberg Liquorice Factory from one of the two factory chimneys that overshadows the town. With the business a concern on which much of the community depends and just about the only thing that makes Gavrik viable it sends shockwaves through the town. When Tuva’s ally, Constable Thord Pettersson, hints at suggestions of incitement triggering the fatality and warns her not to meddle with the intensely private Grimberg’s given the communities reliance of the family Tuva fails to take heed of his words. She quickly realises that to gain any insight into a story that is attracting the nations media interest she needs access to the Grimberg women to get the low-down on the secretive empire and legacy of lives cut short, from Gustav’s father, Ludwig, committing suicide two decades ago to his son and heir, Ludo, drowning as a boy.
With creepy gastronome ghostwriter, David Holmqvist, who was left a social pariah by false accusations in Tuva’s first case having signed a contract to produce a part-history and part-memoir of the family and a future potential stream of revenue for the company, success of the book is paramount. Engaging Tuva to dazzle the Grimberg’s with her sparkling charm(!) and undertake freelance research on his behalf, Holmqvist sets her on a mission to uncover their notoriously private world. Yet before spiky Tuva can make inroads with the bizarre trio of women - commanding fifty-three-year-old widow, Anna-Brita, twenty-year-old daughter, Karin, with a predilection for Goth fashion, and kooky and spirited mother, eighty-two-year-old Cecilia (“Cici”), the cold-blooded murder of an employee and former school bully within the confines of the factory walls shatters the fragile calm.
With the body discovered by Tuva with Grimberg coins placed over his eyes, a fistful of black liquorice stuffed in the mouth and a canine tooth lodged into his neck, Twitter soon latches onto the #Ferryman hashtag to speculate on the mysterious perpetrator in a crass play on the Greek myth. And before long it seems that the Ferryman has got another victim in his sights as all manner of macabre machinations seem to follow Tuva’s every step and she is forced to reconsider whom can she really trust. Tuva has ten days, not only to solve a crime but to make it out of Gavrik alive and with her sanity intact. Will she survive her toughest test yet, and just what are the Grimberg females taking all manner of superstitious precautions to guard themselves against?
As winter in the fictional Swedish town of Gavrik and a place that is surrounded by the dense Utgard forest takes hold, the oppressive darkness, claustrophobia and bitter chill of icy temperatures play havoc with travel and necessitate layer upon layer of clothing. The local tradition of carving snow skulls from packed snowballs adds a suitably threatening tone to daily events. For much of the novel I was irritated by the constant mentions of Tuva turning her hearing aids on, battery failures and so forth which only served to draw attention to her disability. Surely this should all come as second nature to someone who has been deaf from birth and I felt like readers attention was consciously made aware of it, whether in an attempt to elicit sympathy for Tuva, simply prove how brave she is or to tick the box of making for a unique protagonist. Tuva’s personal alliances seem to be dictated by those that find themselves similarly regarded as outsiders in a close-knit community, specifically best-friend Tammy with her Thai parentage, shunned ghostwriter, David Holmqvist, and this time around, new female cop, Noora Ali, whose Iraqi immigrant parentage sets her apart.
Two books into the series and I have no wish to read anymore of Tuva’s exploits and wish Malmö the best of luck! As for Gavrik, a few more streets and a bit more action is drastically needed to liven the whole town up. The all-pervading darkness, local lunatics. isolation and threat of nature should make for a deliciously creepy atmosphere but for me the whole thing simply comes across as laughable and ridiculously overdone. I felt that the denouement got a little farcical and I wasn’t convinced that the killer would have been able to orchestrate such a significant number of convoluted acts in a very small town, however the killer’s motive felt far more credible.
I would not advise reading Red Snow as a stand-alone as a knowledge of the events, and a familiarity with the characters of Dark Pines certainly benefits the reader.
My eleventh book of 2019 and RED SNOW by Will Dean has completely blown me away.
A suicide by a prominent member of society and owner of the liquorice factory, and a dead body that has been bludgeoned from behind and laid out with liquorice coins covering his eyes, and this is just the beginning for the residents of Gavrik. Tuva Moodyson has only just begun to move on from what happened before and is looking forward to moving on to a new place and a new newspaper. But she cannot leave this town behind without uncovering the truth behind the deaths and unravelling the mystery of the Grimberg family at the centre of it all. As she finds a way inside the factory to discover the truth, Tuva will place herself in the centre of danger but will she be able to escape in time?
Dark, twisted, atmospheric, and compelling, RED SNOW by Will Dean is the perfect page-turner for thriller and domestic noir fans alike. The characters are truly unique, some strange and disillusioned, some blunt and more likeable, and the setting is a character in its own right that comes alive in the harsh conditions and makes you look over your shoulder around every turn. There are plenty of twists and turns, secrets that come to the surface, and feelings of uncertainty and doubt, and all of this combines to make this story completely unputdownable.
RED SNOW by Will Dean is everything I heard it would be and more so don't waste any time and buy it now (and you may as well buy the first book featuring Tuva, Dark Pines - you won't regret it!).
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from the tour organiser
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read and share my review with others.
Wow this book! Tuva is one heck of a female heroine and is such a wonderful, charismatic, funny, and determined character. I loved reading about her adventures in this book and I truly love how hard core she is! She has a wonderful personality and it is clearly shown in Red Snow.
Red Snow takes place in the small Scandinavian town of Gavrik, where it is bone chilling cold and snowy. We are introduced to the liquorice factory owners and their family, where at the very beginning of this book a death takes place. Was it a suicide, or was something more sinister in play? Tuva is determined to find out.
Although this is the second book in the Tuva Moodyson series, it can easily be read as a standalone book. Some of the same characters from the first book, Dark Pines, are in this book as well which I quite enjoyed. Some of the characters are questionable at best and many have their own fair share of secrets and deceit that they bring to the story.
I do hope there are more books in this series, as I love Tuva’s character and I am not yet ready for her to leave just yet. We need more Tuva!
If you haven’t had your eyes on this series yet be sure to check it out and get your hands on a copy. You will not be disappointed.
Totally in love with Will Dean’s writing and the audio books read by Maya Lindh are a delight!!! Just such an amazing atmosphere Love it love it love it I seen a review that mentioned that cold and how cold it is, was mentioned too many times in this book, I actually feel that it was very fitting considering one of the most important scenes and the fact that the events happen in February.
Not much to say here, other than that the book is even better than the first one of the series! I know the style is overly descriptive, but I think it's beginning to grow on me and did not bother me as much as in the first book of the series. 5/5 stars!!
I really wanted to like the book after enjoying Dark Pines. I love Tuva Moodyson as a character and the plot started well. A mysterious suicide, the weird superstitious Grindberg family. Then a murder of an unlikeable bully plus the return of characters from the previous novel. The troll making sisters and the weird offal eating ghost writer David.
Once again the author captures the atmosphere of a town in the middle of a cold Swedish winter. There is a lot of repetition with hearing aid issues. The story develops well with lots of suspects a greedy lawyer, weird janitor, odd family members and some of the staff in the licorice factory. A licorice factory that employs 400 people in the middle of nowhere. That is a lot of licorice!
This time round Tuva is leaving for a job in Malmo and trying to solve a murder. A new love interest for her, more eating of offal with David, jealousy from her friend Tammy, loss of her nice truck to a rust bucket, an odd Vivienne West octogenarian fashion queen who also spends her time spying in the town from her attic at the factory. Through in a dysfunctional family fixated on saving the town and it’s a heady mix.
I hated the ending it just for me left too many loose ends.
When I read Dark Pines I was so drawn into the story that I felt like I was in that Swedish forest with Tuva. Red Snow took me right back there from the first page and I felt like crying out “I don’t want to leave!” when I turned the last page! Will Dean certainly hit it out of the park with this second book and if possible, it was more in depth and entertaining than the first. Some quick wit from Tuva had me smirking and the character descriptions were so spot on I felt like I was seeing them. I wish for about 50 more of these Tuva books (no pressure Will)! Thanks ever so much to Will Dean for this signed copy. I will treasure it alongside DP:)