Around the World in 80 Books by David Damrosch
October 2021 – Bad Apples by Will Dean, Sweden
3rd October 2021
Bad Apples by Will Dean, a dark thriller set in the heart of Sweden.
Bad Apples is the fourth book in Will Dean’s Tuva Moodyson crime thriller series set in fictional Gavrik in the actual Värmland area of central Sweden. It is every bit as good as – if not better than – the first three. [Read our reviews of Dark Pines, Red Snow, and Black River].
Tuva Moodyson, the feisty, deaf, bi-sexual reporter (now promoted to Deputy Editor of the local Gavrik paper) is again embroiled in a ritual killing. She is given the hill top town of Visberg – a few miles from Gavrik – as her patch. It is a very strange, but also pretty rich, place. The money comes from the Edlund family who owned the steel mill in this once thriving town. They now own an exclusive golf club (from which most of the townsfolk are indeed excluded). A middle aged resident of the town is found – by Tuva who heard a cry for help – shot and decapitated in the forest between Gavrik and Visberg. The lady who had discovered the body and made the cry for help then disappears. Tuva takes it upon herself to help the police in their investigation. Visberg is a sinister and mysterious place with many secrets. Pan Night – a kind of medieval orgy for the adult population – precedes Halloween for the young. Masks and disguises abound. In the middle of proceedings, the head of the decapitated man is placed in the town square. Someone is mocking the police…
The book progresses to a very frightening and violent conclusion. Tuva is is great danger…
What is brilliant about Will’s writing is how familiar we are with some of the characters – in addition to the police force in Gavrik and Tuva’s co-workers on the paper – we again encounter in Visberg the weird troll-making sisters from Dark Pines, who have a pop up shop ahead of Pan Night and Halloween. In parallel, there is a continuity in Tuva’s personal life. The Vietnamese owner of a mobile restaurant, Tammy, who is Tuva’s best friend and who was kidnapped in Black River, again features as does Noora – Tuva’s lover and an officer in the local police force. The whole book is familiar but different. Will also very cleverly expands the geography away from Gavrik itself. In Bad Apples we discover Visberg – in Black River we were introduced to Snake River, a strange encampment at the side of the forest. We are constantly given a bigger playground in which to interact with our favourite characters.
Will’s Tuva Moodyson / Gavrik crime thriller series is a great addition to Nordic Noir. Will is up there with the best – all the more ‘surprising’ because he is a Brit (albeit one who now lives, with his family, in an isolated cabin in a Swedish forest).
PS: Don”t turn off before you read the last two lines of the book – even i! you think the mystery is solved!