Book Review

Dark Pines by Will Dean

dark pines

Dark Pines is one of those novels that I’d heard a lot about months before it’s publication, and when it became available on Netgalley I knew I had to read it.


Eyes missing, two bodies lie deep in the forest near a small Swedish town.


Tuva Moodyson, a deaf reporter on a small-time local paper, is looking for the story that could make her career.


A web of secrets. And an unsolved murder from twenty years ago.

Can Tuva outwit the killer before she becomes the final victim? She’d like to think so. But first she must face her demons and venture far into the deep, dark woods if she wants to stand any chance of getting the hell out of small-time Gavrik.

When a hunter is found in the woods under circumstances that are similar to a previous, unsolved, spate of killings, journalist Tuva Moodyson is sent to investigate.  Tuva is relatively new to Gavrik, having moved there to be near her mother, and keeps to herself beyond the few friendships that she has developed in her time there.  I think that Tuva is a wonderfully unique heroine – she’s strong and capable, and I loved her quirkiness and her attitude to reporting the facts accurately in her newspaper articles – she is particularly aware of the impact that misreported facts can have, and this felt particularly relevant given the recent occurrences of “fake news”.

The plot moves quickly, and has plenty of potential suspects and red herrings thrown into the mix.  I found Tuva’s investigation to be thoroughly absorbing – this was a novel that I wanted to read nonstop to find out who was behind the murders!  And I enjoyed that the reader saw the investigation from the perspective of someone who isn’t on the police force, and without the same resources or information available to them, although Tuva does have her contacts there, and does manage to glean a few hints along the way.  By the time of the big reveal, I had several theories, and whilst one of them did prove to be correct in terms of who (more guesswork than intuition on my part), I enjoyed the revelation of that person’s motive.

If you like a small-town mystery, then I highly recommend this novel.  Dean perfectly captures the small-town vibe, where everyone knows each other and where residents are, more often than not, related to each other by marriage if not by blood.  There are some wonderfully idiosyncratic characters in the small town of Gavrik – I won’t be forgetting the Sørlie sisters in a hurry! – and everyone has their secrets, loyalties, and grudges which make it so difficult to solve a crime, particularly for someone who is an outsider.

I really hope that Dean plans to return to Tuva and Gavrik in future novels – I’d love to see what she gets up to next, and I think that there are avenues left to explore from this novel.

Dark Pines will be published on 4 January by Point Blank.  Many thanks to Will Dean, the publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


      1. second book is with his editor at the moment apparently *wink wink* I know no other details but I’m hoping like mad for more Tuva!

  1. I saw this one when I was browsing NG last night, it’s currently a ‘read now.’ I love small town mysteries and after reading your review, I just downloaded it!

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