First Monday Crime is back for 2019 and has a fantastic line-up to kickstart February! Christopher Fowler, Lucy Foley, Will Dean and Gytha Lodge will be put through their paces by Barry Forshaw. To get you in the mood, I have a review for one of the hottest new books – Red Snow by Will Dean.
One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?
Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.
Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?
When I read Dark Pines last summer, the October weather portrayed in the book helped to cool me down. But Red Snow is set in February and it’s very, very, very cold. Like -20 degrees. Brr! And we complain when the thermometer hits zero! How anyone can function in that temperature is beyond me. Yet in the small town of Gavrik, life has to continue. Particularly at the Grimberg Liquorice Factory. Along with the Paper Mill, it’s one of the main employers for the town. Tuva Moodyson, reporter for the local paper, is due to leave to start a new job in a couple of weeks. But when she witnesses the apparent suicide of Gustav Grimberg, she knows she can’t leave Gavrik without solving the mystey of his death.
Although I like standalone books, I much prefer series novels. I love finding out more about the main protagonist and seeing his/her life develop. I also find it much easier to get into the story as I know the style of writing. So it felt as though I was meeting up with an old friend when I began reading. With Red Snow, Will Dean proves that he is much more than a one-hit wonder. Tuva Moodyson is such a fantastic character. It’s not easy for a man to write a female character in the first person but Will Dean manages to do so with great aplomb. This time we find out more about Tuva’s fears and desires, and all with sardonic wit. My favourite line is Tuva (or rather Dean) describing the sewage works as ‘A swirling, steaming soup of poop’. Tuva’s personal story is balanced well with the suicide and later murder. Neither parts of the plot dominate but instead weave well together.
And then there’s the freezing setting of Gavrik – the small town where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business. I loved the description of all the layers of clothes that the residents have to wear just to survive the extreme cold. The casseroles that they leave outside because who needs a freezer in this weather? The long winters must be quite oppressive – the feeling that they’ll never end, increasing the sense of claustrophobia. It’s almost as though Gavrik is in a snow globe. Escape to the south can’t come quick enough for Tuva. But will it bring her happiness?
Dark Pines was great but Red Snow is even better. Tuva Moodyson is definitely here to stay. Roll on book three!
There’s still time to reserve your free seat for First Monday – just click here.
Books will be available on the night for all the authors who will happily sign them. If you can’t be there then you can buy Red Snow by clicking here.
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. He is the author of Dark Pines.