Black River by Will Dean

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Black River by Will Dean, book three in the Tuva Moodyson series of books. I am loving this series, a very unique kind of scandi-noir with a character who has more to her than meets the eye. My thanks to tha publisher, Point Blank Books, for providing an early copy for review, and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the tour. Here’s what the book is about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

Black River is an electrifying return for relentless reporter Tuva Moodyson, from the author of DarkPines and RedSnow.


Tuva’s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim has gone missing.


Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?


Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books

My Thoughts

Well. If you thought that moving to a big new job in Malmö was going to end Tuva’s long and conflicted association with Gavrik. think again. Within minutes of the book starting our heroine finds herself drawn back into that strange Swedish town with a call she never, ever, wanted to take. Her best friend, Tammy, is missing and it is almost as if no-one cares. it is not until a second woman goes missing, an all white, all swedish woman, that people start to take note and the hunt for both Tammy and Lisa amplifies.

Now, I will be honest. I thought that Will Dean had shown us just about every quirky side to Gavrik that it was possible to see. I was wrong. Oh so wrong. I haven’t counted on Snake River and the endless nightmare that is Utgard Forest, the gift that just keeps on giving. Snake River is home to more unusual and colourful characters, although I thought that the troll carving sisters were colourful enough. But then I’d never figured on ‘The Breeder’, Sally Sandberg, who is in a class of her own. She puts the snake in Snake River, snake guts to be specific, and probably amplifies the number of species of snake to be found tenfold over Sweden’s native population. I have no problem with snakes, they’re actually really lovely creatures. But deadly. And in large quantities more than a little bit creepy.

Heading back to Gavrik to me is a little like sitting back and watching Twin Peaks. You have that strange array of characters, all of whom are suspicious in their own way and who you wouldn’t want to necessarily spend extended periods of time with. From snake breeders, to car collectors, container restorers and through. to foot fetishists (ewww), Gavrik seems to have them all. Instead of Dale Cooper and his cherry pie, we have Tuva Moodyson and her wine gums. The Double R Diner is replaced with. the slightly less exotic Gavirk branch of McDonalds, but the feeling is still the same. Small town, claustrophobic, everyone knowing everyone else’s business, slightly racist mentality.

And there are so many quirky characters, that Sally Sandberg actually seems one of the most sane of the bunch Tuva comes across. I actually really liked her as a character. She made me smile. As well as freaked me out a little with her dry and dark humour. Suspicious character? Hell yeah, but, any more so than her neighbours, the cousins, or her son who used to date Tammy but has no interest in finding her? Well you’ll need to read and make up your own mind on that one.

I do love Will Dean’s writing style and it keeps going from strength to strength with each book. You really feel that you are in the heart of the action, at the centre of Gavrik, experiencing all that Tuva sees, hears (occasionally) and smells, such is the strength of the narrative. You feel every moment of tension, every emotion and fear that plays out in Tuva’s mind, and get that pulse racing moment of fear when she finds herself in terrifying circumstances. I even felt the draining effect of the perpetual sunshine of midsommar, the boundary between day and night completely blurred. And you do come to understand a little more about Tuva, even though she is a woman who still does not fully understand herself. It’s a perfect blend and it had me completely drawn into the heart of the story.

It’s not a fast paced story – that’s wouldn’t suit the book – even though this is a ticking clock kind of mystery if ever there was one. Every moment longer that Tammy and Lisa are missing, increases the risk of them not being found alive or worse still, never being found at all. And yet, grim discoveries aside, life in Gavrik continues at its own pedestrian pace, people stopping to enjoy the midsommar holiday in amongst all of the madness and fear caused by the two missing women. But it all combines into something that just works. It’s not gruesome, it’s not violent. It doesn’t need to be. The strange and quirky nature of the town and its inhabitants – it just fits perfectly. I think that this is possibly my favourite book to date.

So I’m going to give it one of these …

My red hot reads badge. #TeamTuva fans are going to love it. Roll on next when I can lay my mitts on book four.

About the Author

WILL DEAN grew up in the East Midlands and had lived in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden, where he built a house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest. His debut novel, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball’s Book Club, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker Prize and named a Telegraph book of the year. The second book in the series, Red Snow, is now out in paperback.

Author Links: Twitter

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