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

“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.”

The first book in Will Dean‘s Tuva Moodyson Mystery series and published in 2018, Dark Pines is set in an isolated Swedish town where a deaf reporter, Tuva Moodyson, begins investigating a series of murders in a dense spruce forest. It soon becomes clear that this could be the story that will make Tuva’s career, as 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 their 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.


A gripping and tense crime noir, Dark Pines drops you right into the thick of it with a dark and gritty crime and an atmosphere that will have you pulling on a thick jumper and hiding behind a pillow.

I read the latest book in the series, Bad Apples, last year and loved the character of Tuva Moodyson and the isolated Swedish town setting so I was eager to go back to the start to see how it all began. And Dark Pines is a fantastic first book.

Beautifully written with an overpowering atmosphere, an in-depth investigation, a gruesome series of murders, and a compelling lead character, it’s exactly what you want from a Scandi noir. Chilling in detail and engrossing in development, Dark Pines definitely ticks all of the boxes, drawing you in from every angle.

I love how Will Dean uses his upbringing in the midlands of the UK alongside his experience of now being settled in rural Sweden to give Tuva a background of our UK comforts, while everything else about this book screams classic Scandi thriller. You wouldn’t question that Dean didn’t grow up in Sweden as he has not only a great knowledge of the genre, but also a strong familiarity with his surroundings.

Every description makes you feel the cold of the dark and unsettling forest where these crimes take place. And unlike some Scandi noirs, I find Dean’s series so much more accessible than the usually more dense crime stories in this genre. I never felt bogged down with context and I constantly felt drawn to the characters, ensuring that I didn’t want to stop reading.

I may not have liked Dean’s most recent release, but he is still one of my favourite authors and I will forever praise his exceptional writing and storytelling. I can’t wait to continue the Tuva Moodyson Mystery series!

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