- Book: Black River
- Location: Sweden
- Author: Will Dean
Black River is the third book in Will Dean’s Tuva Moodyson / Gavrik crime thriller series. I had very much enjoyed the first two – Dark Pines and Red Snow – and was looking forward to the third. I was in no way disappointed.
Tuva (the deaf reporter on the local paper) had moved to Southern Sweden at the end of Red Snow, but she returns to Gavrik in the middle of the country at the beginning of Black River when her best friend from Gavrik, Tammy, goes missing. The book is about the search for her and another missing girl. The assumption is that they have been kidnapped.
Red Snow was set in the depths of winter and the bitter cold was seeping through on every page. Black River is quite different. The book is set around Midsommar and the heat is stifling. Super sized mosquitoes and bugs are thick in the air… It never really goes dark. Familiar places and familiar characters from the first two books are there – even if some are only in cameo roles. But Will builds on both the locations and the people. Utgard Forest – the scene of much of the action in Dark Pines – is as foreboding as ever. But adjacent to the Forest a new location is created. Snake River is a sort of encampment on the edge of the Forest. It is populated by strange people in strange occupations. There is a lady who breeds snakes (some of them quite large and scary), there is a yard where wrecked cars can be sorted through and spare parts bought, there are two odd cousins running a business that converts shipping containers into living accommodation. Will is very clever with his characters – the cousins are not at all nice. They brought back into my memory the two troll carving sisters from Dark Pines… sinister people whose place in the plot you are never quite sure of.
There are lots of false leads and tricks before the eventual denouement. Will weaves a complex plot.
Black River will transport you to a remote part of Sweden – a long way from the lights of Stockholm or Malmö. Will himself (incidentally a Brit brought up in the Midlands) lives with his wife and son in a forest clearing ‘close to’ fictional Gavrik. It is easy to see where he gets his inspiration – but not perhaps so easy to see how he survives the extreme cold of winter and the mosquitoes of summer!
Very definitely recommended.