SEE NO EVIL
Eyes missing, two bodies lie deep in the forest near a remote Swedish town.
HEAR NO EVIL
Tuva Moodyson, a deaf reporter on a small-time local paper, is looking for the story that could make her career.
SPEAK NO EVIL
A web of secrets. And an unsolved murder from twenty years ago.
Can Tuva outwit the killer before she becomes the final victim? She’d like to think so. But first she must face her demons and venture far into the deep, dark woods if she wants to stand any chance of getting the hell out of small-time Gavrik.
Dark Pines is the first instalment in a new series where Tuva Moodyson takes the lead. Tuva is definitely an interesting character, not only because of her profession – she’s a journalist – but because she does this job, quite successfully, while she’s also deaf. It just doesn’t seem an obvious combination and I’m happy she put in me in place by showing me there’s nothing extraordinary about it. I was positively surprised she never comments on her deafness in a negative way. Even better, she tells she’s able to cut out all the noise and work in perfect silence and describes it so lovingly that it almost feels as if she’s to be envied. Wonderful! Being deaf really doesn’t hinder her in life apart from always having to think about having extra batteries for her hearing aid with her. She’s in fact much less positive about her life in Gavrik and would rather live in bustling London. Unfortunately, she’s stuck in this tiny town because it’s allowing her to be closer to her bed-ridden mother and the local paper happened to offer her a job there. The things she considers negative are what other people would consider positive and the other way around really, but you can always move of course, her condition is much harder to deal with. Much as I admire her for this, I did feel she was defined so much by it, it makes it harder to come up with other traits she has character wise.
I had one or two other things I would have perhaps changed a bit as well. The first is that the story was sometimes a bit too repetitive. Tuva drives up the hill so many times and she also turns around so many times from when she’s going to visit her mother that it frustrated me a little. Did I mention I don’t have a lot of patience? I couldn’t help it, I just wanted her to get it over with and visit her mother. The second point I’d like to make concerns an incomprehensible train of thought Tuva had which involves going into the big dark forest all on her own. If there’s a killer out there on the loose, I really don’t know why anyone would think it’s a good idea to walk in the woods alone ‘to confront your fears’. It felt utterly foolish and it was also too soon in the novel to start thinking she could be killed so it didn’t immediately create a lot of tension for me ;-).
That being said, I really enjoyed its wonderful cast of suspects. There are 5 houses on the hill and each resident seems kind of dodgy. There’s a hoarder, a taxi-driver with kid, two woodcarving sisters of creepy trolls, a ghostwriter with a checkered past, and a couple where the husband might have a hidden agenda. Every single one of them presented the possibility of being a ruthless killer. They kept me well entertained and I made two guesses where I soon knew I was on the wrong track, before I finally made the right one nearing the end.
I think Dark Pines is a good debut of the series. I’m definitely curious to see where Tuva Moodyson will take me in the next novel, Red Snow and I look forward to getting to know her much better.
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.