Now, I’ve started to follow author Will Dean’s career.
He’s an unusual author as he’s English but lives in part-time voluntary lockdown in the idyllic-looking centre of an enormous and boggy Swedish moose forest with his wife, son and giant bear-like dog but without many of the everyday conveniences you and I take for granted.
Like running tap water for example.
It’s a fascinating lifestyle and one you can glimpse through his YouTube channel – which is aimed at supporting writers – and from his presence on social media including Instagram and Twitter.
The location is also the inspiration for his career-making series of novels featuring female, deaf, and troubled journalist Tuva Moodyson.
It was this character that attracted me to the series in the first place.
It’s nice to read about a journalist with the semblance of a heart and moral code- as a journalist myself I hate in when novelists fall into the easy TV-led convenient cliche of evil reporter. It gets boring.
It’s a profession with many types like any other.
But don’t be fooled by Tuva – she might be essentially be a nice person but she is gritty, troubled and like a dog with a rag doll when she gets her teeth into a mystery.
And these stories are dark, they are atmospheric and the crimes are chilling. Dark Pines set the scene for the series.
There, Tuva’s a young reporter, lonely, alone and grieving for family she struggled to have meaningful relationship with and now has lost.
She is building a career, after travels to London, in the small incestuous and mysterious town of Gavrik, which becomes a character in itself as much as Tuva and the looming, dark, impassable forest which dwarfs it – and hides many secrets.
So today I’m talking about the third in his series – Black River – which follows Dark Pines and then Red Snow.
Here we pick the story up where Tuva has left Gavrik for the big city of Malmo, leaving behind her best friend Tammy and also a potential love interest to escape the claustrophobic small town and some of her more horrific experiences and her own demons. She aims for get a dose of big city life and to start again.
So she’s is now sober, lonely, but getting on with it when gets a call saying her best friend Tammy is missing.
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She drives straight back to Gavrik where, with the support of her old editor and friend, she starts looking for Tammy, not as a journalist but as a friend, and it gets dark very quickly.
As ever I am not going to give away the story but safe to say there is a cast of truly bizarre and creepy characters.
This includes a man with a secret foot fetish, a scary cab driver and snake-breeding Sally – all of course set into the complicated, bug-ridden and easy to hide landscape of rural Sweden at Midsommar which is the period of the year it never gets dark in Sweden.
They celebrate with the unusual rituals that heighten the dark tale of women going missing.
Once again a totally satisfying read and I’m sure Will is concocting another terrifying adventure for Tuva right now.
So that is Black River by Will Dean but make sure you also catch the two previous books Dark Pines and Red Snow and if you want to catch up with him on You Tube for writing tips and glimpse of life in his writing shed he is Will Dean – Forest author. HERE