The #Bookvent Calendar 2020 – Day 19


#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2020

My day nineteen #bookvent selection takes me back to a series which has a rather memorable lead character and a setting that has more than a not of the Twin Peaks about it. The lead character has made her mark over two previous stories, both of which have seen her in great jeopardy and cemented my hatred of all things bug and liquorice related. This time around it is a case that is highly personal but packed with the same kind of quirkiness and tension that infused the first two books. It might even be my favourite of the series. It certainly kept me on edge. With a story in which setting is almost as important a plotline as mystery that holds it all together, my nineteenth pick is …


Black River by Will Dean


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


Oh I have missed Gavrik and Tuva Moodyson. It is almost impossible to put into words how unbelievably surreal the town and its inhabitants and neighbours are, but how well they blend into the story that is almost part mystery, part folklore but one hundred percent entertaining. Despite having escaped the town since we last met her, Tuva is drawn back when her best friend, Tammy, goes missing. Her investigations take her to the strange town of Snake River and a family who seem to indulge in the worship of the town name just a touch too willingly. If you suffer from ophidiophobia then this may not be the book for you. Me? I found it fascinating and whilst I might not go quite as far as Sally Sandberg did in the story, I quite like the idea of converting the back of my house into a snake pit … But I digress. I love the sense of place that Will Dean has created in this story, the overwhelming tension and underlying feeling of something bad being just a breath away. And that’s not too far off the mark this time around with Tuva being in almost as much jeopardy as Tammy. With some of the most memorable characters I have read in years, and such vivid imagery that you feel you are right there in the heart of Snake River, Will Dean produces a story that is not only entertaining, but really challenges the prejudices and racism that can sadly still be found at the heart of many a small town community. Being different is okay, being deemed an outsider, less so. With perfect pace that matches both the urgency of the story but also the country way of life, the tension ebbs and flows until, after many edge of the seat moments, we reach that heart pounding conclusion. If you haven’t read this series yet, you really should. You are missing out on a real treat. This Englishman turned axe-wielding, forest dwelling woodsman has delivered a story of undeniable intrigue and eccentricity and I loved it.

To read my full review of Black River, head over here.

Happy #bookvent reading all


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