Bad Apples by Will Dean #BookReview #BlogTour


It only takes one...

 A murder

A resident of small-town Visberg is found decapitated

A festival

A grim celebration in a cultish hilltop community after the apple harvest

A race against time

As Visberg closes ranks to keep its deadly secrets, there could not be a worse time for Tuva Moodyson to arrive as deputy editor of the local newspaper.  Powerful forces are at play and no one dares speak out. But Tuva senses the story of her career, unaware that perhaps she is the story…

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Bad Apples today. Many thanks to Will Dean, Point Blank and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

When we first met Tuva Moodyson, she couldn't wait to escape Gavrik but over the course of the series she's changed and now the small town she still calls Toytown has become her home. Bad Apples can easily be enjoyed as a standalone but I recommend reading the previous books to follow Tuva's development over the series because it's as important and engaging as the dark mysteries that this resolute, astute journalist seems to stumble across with alarming regularity. 
In many ways she's a very different woman now but the changes are entirely believable; love in all its guises has been good for Tuva. Nevertheless, she still bears the scars of her past and her poignant memories of her childhood which are peppered throughout the book help explain why she is such a guarded, self-reliant person. As with all of the books, there's a grim murder for Tuva to investigate and it's fascinating trying to spot the clues and red herrings but this is a character-led series and so recognising the changes in her and how that affects her responses to what she sees and learns throughout the novel is arguably even more compelling.
As always, her deafness is a part of who she is but it never defines her. She is almost starting again here as the Gavrik Posten newspaper has recently taken over the neighbouring town of Visberg's newspaper, following the retirement of its proprietor, Ragnar Falk. It means that she has a new community to earn the trust of but following the gruesome murder of one of its inhabitants, quite who Tuva should trust in this remote, strange little hill town is quite another matter.
It's Autumn and Visberg is preparing for Halloween and another celebration, the details of which are kept a closely guarded secret. Although the exemplary sense of place always evokes the claustrophobic magnificence of the Swedish forest, there's a frontier feeling to this series too, with each curious, isolated community having its own traditions - and secrets. As Tuva attempts to learn more about the place, there's an echo of The Wicker Man about proceedings - perhaps some things are better left unseen...
Tuva isn't the only strong character in the book and as well as a welcome return of some Gavrik regulars, the Visberg townsfolk make a huge impression on her and on the storyline. It's difficult to know where to begin with this assortment of strange eccentrics whose bizarre behaviour amidst the rumours and resentments leads to a melting pot of twisted intrigue as potent as the rotten, fermented apple smell that pervades the place. Visberg seems to have a peculiar relationship with body parts - human and animals which means it's not surprising to find a pop-up shop run by the wonderfully weird troll carving sisters we first met in Dark Pines. They aren't the only ones who make the most of nature's bounty in the most disturbing ways and it all adds up to an intense, ominous creep-fest where just about anybody could be capable of murder.
Thankfully Tuva's personal life is more settled; her friendship with Tammy takes a bit of a back seat although it's clear what it means to them both, while her relationship with Noora has the potential to become more serious. Meanwhile, a new young character is introduced and there are little hints that we may see more of him. These domestic moments may be quieter but they serve to really underline the empathetic sensitivity of Will Dean's writing. For all the larger-than-life characters, at the heart of the book and series is a woman whose strengths and flaws make her one of the most interesting, vibrant protagonists in crime fiction. However, before she can make any decisions about her future, she is put through the mill here first and those of a nervous disposition will definitely want to look away during some of the later scenes in the book.  
Oozing atmosphere and menace throughout, Bad Apples is a superbly tense, compulsive thriller and the perfect Halloween read. Another brilliant instalment of this outstanding series; I can't wait for the next! 

Bad Apples is published by Point Blank, purchasing links can be found here but please support independent bookshops whenever possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands and had lived in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. His debut novel, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball's Book Club, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize and named a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year. The second Tuva Moodyson mystery, Red Snow, won Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers' Awards, 2019, and was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2020. His third novel, Black River, was chosen as Observer Thriller of the Month. Will Dean lives in Sweden where the Tuva Moodyson novels are set.


Post a Comment