About The Book
One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?
Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.
Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?
Back in 2018 I read and loved Dark Pines, the debut novel from Will Dean. I fell in love with the protagonist Tuva Moodyson and with the small town of Gavrik situated in a remote part of Sweden. Red Snow is Will Dean’s second novel and in this latest instalment, Tuva is getting ready to move away to a new job on a big newspaper but Gavrik doesn’t seem to want to let her go just yet.
As a Brit living in Sweden, Will Dean is perfectly placed to write about the country’s quirks and idiosyncrasies with both fondness and accuracy. One of the things I like most about both Dark Pines and Red Snow is the characters that we meet along the way. A small town is always going to have a number of, erm, ‘interesting’ people living there but Gavrik seems to have more than its fair share. In Red Snow, we are introduced to the family who own the liquorice factory which has been the main employer in the town for generations. It is at the Grimberg factory where the first death takes place when the owner leaps to his death from one of the towers and it is this apparent suicide which leads Tuva down a rabbit hole of the weird and the bizarre.
I didn’t think that things could get any odder in Gavrik until I met the Grimberg family who live in apartments inside the factory. This is a workplace unlike any other with workers who are fiercely loyal to the factory and their employers. Their parents worked there, as did their parents parents and before them their parents. There are fourth or fifth generations of stampers and tasters and they are all incredibly superstitious with odd little quirks and sayings for the oddest things. I felt off kilter whenever Will Dean took us into the factory and I kept expecting Willy Wonka to pop up to make things a little more normal.
Her investigation into the Grimberg Factory and its family is like a Russian doll, with every visit uncovering something odder and more sinister than what went before. Will Dean writes this stuff so well, it is creepy and unnerving and made me want to read the book with one hand clamped over my eyes. It is an eerie read at times with the dark, cold February in Sweden coating every word with a shimmer of ice. Then there are the Grimberg family whose mysterious life and history cause the temperature to drop a few more degrees. They are oddness personified but there is sadness too within the walls of the factory and their sense of duty weighs heavily on their shoulders.
This is a book that gets under your skin and features a protagonist who is fast becoming one of my favourites, I can’t wait to see where she goes next. I just hope she finds time to pop back to Gavrik from her fancy new job in Malmo, although knowing Tuva, things won’t go quite according to plan.
About The Author
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before
the age of eighteen. After studying at the LSE and working in London, he
settled in rural Sweden with his wife. He built a wooden house in a boggy
forest clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he
compulsively reads and writes.