Dark Pines by Will Dean (Tuva Moodyson Mystery #1)

Synopsis:

An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods.

It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.

It’s very rare that I pick up a Scandinavian crime thriller – they’re not my cup of tea but this audiobook and author came highly recommended. You can’t tell me that Twitter isn’t an amazing place for book promotion because someone randomly suggested it to me probably over a year ago and I was convinced to buy it.

I had a couple of false starts when it came to listening to this audiobook because it’s very moody and atmospheric right from the start and I found that I have to be in the right frame of mind for moody and atmospheric – persistence pays off though because once I was in, I was IN.

Tuva, the main character, is exceptionally well written and interesting. She has some serious hangups following the untimely death of her father and how she is able to relate with her mother after the tragedy.

She’s a city girl at heart but lives in a small time where she works as a journalist for a local paper. The town is the kind of small where you need a minimum of 3 generations of family born in the area to start to be considered ‘local’. This presents specific challenges for her when called upon to investigate and report on some grisly murders that seem to signify the return of a serial killer.
What set this story apart for me is that Tuva is a deaf character and wears hearing aids. To me, this felt more like a real representation rather than a gimmick – though it was used as a plot device, the author also explored his characters’ responses towards a deaf person which spoke a lot about their personalities and the challenges that Tuva faces on a regular basis.

The narration of this book was excellent, it’s written in the first person so it’s vital that the right narrator is chosen to match up with the main character and Maya Lindh couldn’t have been better. Her accent and intonation fits in exactly with who I imagined Tuva to be, I’m ecstatic to see that she is the narrator for the rest of the series.

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