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Tuesday, 25 February 2020

#BlackRiver @willrdean @PtBlankBks #TeamTuva

About Black River

An electrifying return for relentless reporter Tuva Moodyson, from the author of Dark Pines and Red Snow.


Tuva’s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim has gone missing.


Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?


Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?

My review of Black River

Black River is the third book in the Tuva Moodyson series that is set in the small, catastrophic town of Gavrik in Sweden. I'll just start by saying that I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't put it down. I now feel as if I know Tuva and all the residents of Gavrik. I can clearly see the liquorice factory, feel the heat of the blistering sun as people walk down Main Street, and the scrap yards of Snake River that is truly sinister. I know this town and the people, the sights and smells. It's an all consuming, breathtaking and addictive read. I loved it.

Tuva Moodyson is back in Gavrik. Her closest friend Tammy is missing, taken from her food van. Nobody knows where she is. Tuva joins forces with her previous employer, Lena, at the town's paper, putting up flyers and undertaking her own investigation. Her loyalty and love for her friend is made clearly evident. Will Dean beautifully explores the issues of female friendship and the bond that women share. What is also explored in the search for Tammy are the obvious undertones of racism that run throughout the streets of Gavrik. The fact that the residents see Tammy as an outsider, not a pure Swede, because of the colour of her skin. Although the police are investigating her disappearance, Tuva feels that they aren't really taking the case seriously and so she begins to delve deeper, her search leading to Snake River and the strange people who live there.  

What we get is a picture of a small town, far away from city life, and as it is Midsommar, there is distinctive shift in the air. That feeling that something bad will happen. We meet all the usual characters, those who are strange and make your skin crawl. The shoe shop guy in particular is a very strange and unsettling character. I questioned everyone that Tuva investigated. Could they be the kidnapper? There is a great sense of unease in the town that is fuelled by the stifling summer sun and the lack of darkness at night. An important question that is raised throughout the story is who can Tuva trust? 

Tuva is such a compelling central character. A young deaf woman who is an excellent journalist and who will do anything to find her friend. That is what is at the root of this story. Friendship. It is also about the strength of women and strong female characters. Tuva is a force to be reckoned with, dismissing people's assumptions, ignorance and prejudices about her deafness, about the fact that she is a young woman who is viewed as an outsider. But the women in Gavrik support each other, especially Lena who looks after Tuva, gives her somewhere to stay and feeds her. I loved this relationship. We also have Tuva's relationship with Noora, the police woman. I found the exploration of their relationship to be both tender and insightful, helping to explore Tuva's vulnerabilities and past demons.

Most importantly, Black River is a fantastic read. It has a central character who we care about, and a mystery that needs to be solved. Where is Tammy? What happened to her? It's a genuinely creepy and unsettling read and Tuva's visits to Snake River creeped me out. I couldn't read fast enough. I needed to find out what had happened.

Black River is a joy to read. It's a gripping thriller and Tuva Moodyson has now become one of my most favourite fictional characters. I must also warn you that this story will stay with you long after you have finished reading. 

With thanks to the publisher who provided an early review copy.

Black River is published by Point Blank/OneWorld Publications and is available to buy in ebook now and will be published in hardback on March 12th.

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