Today it is my great pleasure to be opening the blog tour for Red Snow, the latest book in the Tuva Moodyson series by Will Dean. My thanks go to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to publishers Point Blank for providing an advance copy for review. Here is what the book is all about:
About the Book
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?
I was quite late to the Tuva appreciation party, having not read (or in my case listened to) Dark Pines until around the end of May last year. I’d seen my fellow bloggers rave about the book and I’d even heard the author, Will Dean, talk about the book at Granite Noir. Even did a reading which, I have to admit, did catch my attention. So when I had the opportunity (courtesy of a long drive to Stirling and back) to listen to the audio book, I grabbed it. Very glad of it I was too. So when I heard that the follow up, Red Snow was on the horizon, I was straight in with a preorder (several in fact as I’ve ordered both kindle and hard copy and will likely buy the audio at some point too …). No hesitation. No doubts. But, following the undoubted success of such a cracking debut, could the book live up to my expectation?
My honest answer, the only answer I could give really, is yes. Yes it did. Red Snow recaptured everything that was special about the first book but set around a whole new mystery for Tuva to solve. Atmospheric, quirky, and at times claustrophobic, the book took readers on a journey which was fresh yet nostalgic, with a slow building tension that would keep you guessing right to the unexpected ending.
The book sees our protagonist, deaf journalist Tuva Moodyson, nearing the end of her time in the strange little town of Gavrik, her life soon to start over in the big city. By a strange twist of fate, an act of kindness on Tuva’s part, she finds herself witness to the death of one of the town’s most prolific employers, the owner of the Grimberg Liquorice Factory. When a second man is found dead at the factory, Tuva finds herself at the centre of the case, investigating a family and town history which is as much stepped in rumour and legend as it is truth.
Now I don’t want to say too much more about the story than that as I think you really should read for yourself in order to allow the full picture to emerge, just as it did for me. The deaths as less, how shall I put it, gruesome (?) than in Dark Pines perhaps, although the death of the second man does have a kind of strange and twisted edge to it in which you wonder quite what message the killer or killers may have been sending. I would say that the pacing of this book felt a little slower too, but it suited the style of the story perfectly.
As with everything in Gavrik, the story itself is quite character driven. First of all you have Tuva, a woman of contradictions, both serious and strong and yet often shown giddy and emotional. We learn more of the relationship with her mother, and are also treated to a show of how she behaves when she has a crush. If is quite sweet, almost childlike in her innocent obsession, her desire to catch a glimpse of the object of her affection. It makes her act seemingly out of character, but also puts her relationship with her best friend, Tammy, on the line. I really like Tuva, her determination and her focus, working through and around her disability rather than letting it limit her. Whilst it was still apparent, and at times a hinderance to her, it felt less obvious to me as a reader this time around, noticed by strangers but almost invisible to the rest of us, friends (fictional) and readers (real – hopefully) who have accepted it as a part of who she is.
There are other quirky characters that readers of the first book will recognise such as the wood carving Sisters from the forrest, strange and reclusive author David Holmqvist, and taxi driver, Svensson, whose obsession with Tuva is a little creepy to say the least. Then there are the new characters, in particular Karin, daughter of the deceased factory owner, and her grandmother, Cici, who is as eccentric as they come but not one who should be underestimated. In fact the whole family is eccentric and a little hard to understand, the reasons for which are revealed slowly throughout the book. Superstitious and weighed down by an overwhelming sense of duty, it is little wonder that they are aloof.
What I do love about this book, and its predecessor, is the skill that the author has for creating a sense of place and a daunting and oppressive atmosphere. The isolation of the town itself, especially when faced with such intense weather conditions, as well as the closed shop mentality which prevails within the factory, all make the story feel real, dark, heavy even. It sets the tone for the story, brings the reader right to the heart of the town, and drives the intrigue, the freezing cold and heavy snows as great a foe as any that Tuva could face. It feels authentic and helps to build the feeling of dread which follows the characters throughout.
If you loved Dark Pines then I think you are going to love Red Snow too. It is everything you would expect – tense, atmospheric, cleverly plotted and very character driven. With Tuva on the brink of a new life, away from the odd town of Gavrik, I’m intrigued to see where the series could go next. Certainly the possibilities are endless in a big city, and in that regard, it is probably the right time for the story to move on. How a new start, away from those she knows and loves, will affect Tuva … Well I guess we’ll have to wait and see, huh?
If you’d like a copy of the book for yourself, it is available now at the following retailers:
About the Author
WILL DEAN grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying at the LSE and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife. He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.
Author Links: Twitter
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