Today it’s my absolute pleasure to join the blog tour for the latest Tuva Moodyson novel from Will Dean, Wolf Pack. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite and to publisher Point Blank for the advance copy of the book:
About the Book
When there’s a pack on the hunt, nobody’s safe
A closed community
Rose Farm is home to a group of survivalists, completely cut off from the outside world. Until now.
A missing person
A young woman goes missing within the perimeter of the farm compound. Can Tuva talk her way inside the tight-knit group to find her story?
A frantic search
As Tuva attempts to unmask the culprit, she gains unique access to the residents. But soon she finds herself in danger of the pack turning against her – will she make her way back to safety so she can expose the truth?
Will Dean’s most heart-pounding Tuva Moodyson thriller yet takes Tuva to her absolute limits in exposing a heinous crime, and in her own personal life. Can she, and will she, do the right thing?
Emotional, nerve-wracking, packed with dramatic tension and nail-biting scenes … Wolf Pack is everything that you would want and expect from a Tuva Moodyson novel and more. Starting some time after the jaw-dropping ending to Bad Apples, we find our favourite reporter, Tuva, in quite a melancholy and troubled place. Now if you have not read Bad Apples, I would absolutely suggest that you do as what happens in that book, both in terms of that ending, and some of the characters we meet in this latest episode, are crucial to understanding (and avoiding spoilers) when reading Wolf Pack. It’s perhaps the one time I would advise that you do this, as the stories are all largely self contained, but as this series is (sort of) following the life and times of Tuva and her friends, the fall out from the previous book makes a very significant impact on the tone and progression of this story in a way that it is impossible not to reference throughout. If you’re not bothered about spoilers, tuck in, but you have been warned.
Now the opening to this book may seem familiar (although I can hear the outcry now given I now where it is going to lead), but given where Tuva lives, in Northern Sweden, her driving alone through a remote area is not really a surprise. What is more of a surprise is where this particular journey is going to lead her – to investigate the disappearance of a young woman who was last seen working at a farm which has a very particular reputation around the area. And it’s not unfair to say that to gain a reputation around places like Gavrik and Visberg is no mean feat! These are communities that seem to specialise in weird and unusual, so to be singled out in any way takes some doing.
The reason that the farm has gained such a reputation if you like, is that it is run by ‘Preppers’ – survivalists – people who are readying themselves for a state of emergency, be it war, alien invasion or perhaps even the end of the world as we know it. Now the community at Rose Farm are not so far gone that they are expecting an alien invasion (at least I don’t think they are), but they are a very self sufficient and closeted community who grown their own food, hunt and train to defend themselves against the outside world. Will Dean has done a brilliant job of drawing us into their world, making each of the characters we meet stand out, but not in a crazed, fanatic kind of way. In fact, with the exception of the reclusive Abraham who we never really meet, they are almost conspicuous by how normal they are – how down to earth, if a little insular. We get to see them as Tuva does, trying to understand their motivations for living as they do and what, if any, link this has to the missing woman>
I really like this series, like the quirkiness of it and the tension which flows through every book. It is not a fast paced series, nor should it be as that would not fit the setting. It is atmospheric, the author using the landscape and, in this case, the seasons to full effect. The book is set towards the end of the really cold season, but there is still that sense of the darkness that envelops everything, setting a kind a of moody and eerie tone that when coupled with a community of people who can hunt and shoot with a stealth that cannot be matched, it really sets you on edge, not sure what to expect or when. There are certainly a lot of surprises in the book, as well as some elements which seem almost inevitable, and be prepared to be caught unaware when the truth of what happens is revealed as, in true Will Dean style, he takes us right to the edge with a high stakes, jeopardy laden ending that really gets the pulse pumping.
The two elements which really made this book for me though sit at opposite ends of the narrative scale. One is the character of Luka Kodro. Far from just being the owner of Visberg’s most popular restaurant, the Visberg Grill, he has a real history, a terrifying and stark backstory which Will Dean explores and utilises in this book, as Tuva calls on Luka to help in getting to the truth of the case. Luka is a fascinating individual and you can sense the quiet power behind his personality, something I am certain we will see again in the not to distant future. The other thing which stood out, which is hard to talk about, is the emotional aspect of the story. It links back to Bad Apples and what happened, but its impact on Tuva is hard to ignore. She has never really been a character who is swimming in happiness, but you can feel her paid, the sadness which colours and taints every single day, and it really gives the book a kind of mournful edge, so much so that they ending comes as quite a jolt – perhaps exactly what Tuva needs.
I love this series, love the setting, the unique characters and the way in which a sense of folklore and mysticism feeds into every story. Will Dean has done a superb job this time, creating yet again a believable if somewhat unusual set of circumstances that place Tuva in the path of danger, but in a way that intrigued and engrossed me in the story. And those closing pages? Tragedy aside, there was a real moment of hope and heart which is hard to forget. Atmospheric, tense and emotional, character driven storytelling. What more could you want? Definitely recommended.
About the Author
WILL DEAN lives in the middle of a vast elk forest in Sweden, where the Tuva Moodyson novels are set. He grew up in the East Midlands. After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden and built a wooden house in a boggy clearing, where he lives with his wife and son, and it’s from this base that he reads and writes. Will Dean is the author of Dark Pines, Red Snow, Black River and Bad Apples in the Tuva Moodyson series. His debut novel in the series, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball’s Book Club and shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize. The second, Red Snow, won Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2020, as was his third novel, Black River. The series is in development for television. Will is also the author of two stand-alone novels, The Last Thing to Burn, shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022, and First Born, both published by Hodder. Will Dean posts regularly about reading and writing on YouTube and you can find him on Twitter, TikTok and Instagram.
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