First Born by Will Dean #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new psychological thriller by Will Dean, First Born.



 lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.


I love Will Dean’s books, and I couldn’t wait to get started on First Born, and it is another utterly gripping read. There is a devastating opening when Molly learns of the death of her twin sister, Katie, who has been living in America for the past few months and studying over there. Molly gets the very next flight to New York to join her parents. But things take a dark turn for Molly and her family when the police reveal they believe Katie has been murdered.

Molly was a very perplexing character. Although she and Katie are identical twins their personalities are very different. Katie seemed to be someone who was very outgoing and who loved taking a risk, Molly on the other hand is much more reserved. She didn’t strike me as a particularly warm character as well as I was reading.

I thought Will Dean captured the American setting really well. I’ve only been to New York once but I could visualise the streets as I was reading it. Katie’s friends are also really interesting characters. I got the sense that I couldn’t quite trust them as I was reading this book and I felt that they might be hiding something, especially her friend, Violet. I wanted to find out more about them, and what their friendship with Katie was really like, and what sort of a person Katie was.

There’s a twist which comes around halfway through in this book that I thought was done really well, and it propelled the action forward. I raced through to get to the ending to see just how things would pan out, and it’s really hard not to talk anymore about what happens at this point, without giving parts of the plot away.

Will Dean creates a very dark atmosphere throughout this novel and it deepens and darkens with every page. There is a real sense of danger which he writes very well, I felt that the person, whoever had killed Katie was close by and that Molly was in danger.

First Born is a very twisty read and I really liked how Will Dean revealed the truth. There were definitely some mind blowing moments. You do not want to miss this book. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 14th April 2022

Print length: 306 pages

First Born is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Bad Apples by Will Dean #bookreview #blogtour @willrdean @PointBlankCrime @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Will Dean on my blog today, Bad Apples. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


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 was so excited to see that journalist Tuva Moodyson was returning in a new book and I couldn’t wait to dive into Bad Apples.

As he has done in his previous books, Will Dean excels in creating mystery, suspense and atmosphere. Once again Tuva is investigating a chilling case just as Halloween approaches after a headless corpse is discovered in Utgard forest.

I’ve always found Tuva such a fascinating character. She is always determined to get to the truth even if that means putting herself in danger. She is a character who I feel like I’ve got to know really well over the last few years so I am always excited to see what she’ll get up to next.

I loved that this book was set just as Halloween is approaching which makes this the perfect book to read at this time of year, especially as the nights are drawing in. There is a particular scene, in which Tuva attends a strange festival taking place on Pan Night, which I could picture so clearly inside my mind. It gives Tuva the creeps and you get the sense that there is an element of the supernatural about it. It made me feel that anything could happen. It seems that there is always more to learn about Gavrik. This is the same for Tuva as well as there are elements about the town that continue to surprise her. The setting is what also makes these books so appealing and Will Dean knows how to draw on the atmosphere and Utgard forest, especially, always comes to life. It doesn’t feel like a very welcoming place at all.

Will Dean has also, once again, managed to create a cast of intriguing characters who could all be suspects in the case. He managed to keep everything under wraps until the final reveals at the end of the book.

There are some very tense scenes in this book as Tuva gets closer to understanding what has gone on and who is responsible for the murder. Reading those final lines has made me desperate to get my hands on the next book as soon as possible.

Will Dean is brilliant at creating an unnerving, menacing tone throughout the book. If you’re a Tuva Moodyson fan then you’re in for a real treat. I absolutely loved it.

Publisher: Point Blank

Publication date: 2nd September 2021 (kindle) 7th October 2021 (hardcover)

Print length: 352 pages

Bad Apples is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones


Bad Apples BT Poster

The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the stunning standalone novel by Will Dean, The Last Thing To Burn.


He is her husband. She is his captive.

Her husband calls her Jane. That is not her name.

She lives in a small farm cottage, surrounded by vast, open fields. Everywhere she looks, there is space. But she is trapped. No one knows how she got to the UK: no one knows she is there. Visitors rarely come to the farm; if they do, she is never seen.

Her husband records her every movement during the day. If he doesn’t like what he sees, she is punished.

For a long time, escape seemed impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight. Now, she is watching him, and waiting . . .


The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. Will Dean has become one of my favourite writers recently, and I bump every book he writes to the top of my TBR pile. I started reading it a day after it arrived in the post and I had it finished two days later. It is a powerful, heart-breaking read; my heart was in my mouth the entire way through. This book should be on everyone’s TBR pile.

This book was almost unbearably tense in places. I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters, especially, Jane, who I really felt for, but I almost couldn’t bear to find out. Will Dean explores human trafficking in his latest, but first standalone novel, and he portrays a vivid portrayal of what victims of human trafficking go through on a day to day basis. Jane feels as though her past is slowly being eroded away. She came to the UK with the hope of living a better life. Of course, this didn’t happen. She is now living with Lenn, her captor, who is one of the most despicable characters I’ve come across in crime fiction. I don’t think I’ve ever longed for something terrible to happen to a character so badly.

Jane is the real star of this book. She grows as a character from the very first page, and I was rooting for her from the very beginning. She is very careful; she knows what will antagonise her captor, and she tries her best to please him. Jane isn’t allowed to leave the house, and Lenn has her under constant surveillance which put me on edge as I was reading it. I felt very fearful for Jane, but at the same time, I wanted to take the risk and try to escape. I admired her so much; she is such a strong lead. She is not willing to forget her past and her family, which is something that Lenn would like her to do. The one link she has to her family is the letters she has from her sister; it is the only form of contact with the outside world she has.

It is horrifying to think that this goes on in the world, even especially at home, here in the UK. I think many people believe that this is something that happens in other countries and not in their own. This book highlights that these crimes can happen anywhere, perhaps even in your own neighbourhood. It made me so angry to think that people like Lenn exist in the world. This is what makes this book a very powerful read as well, and I’m sure it’ll be staying with me for a long time to come.

The Last Thing To Burn is a haunting, chilling read. You will find yourself totally gripped and immersed in the character’s lives. I really struggled to put this book down. Highly, highly recommended!

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 7th January 2021

Print length: 256 pages

The Last Thing To Burn is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Black River by Will Dean #bookreview blog tour @willrdean @annecater @PointBlankCrime

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the latest novel in the Tuva Moodyson series by Will Dean, Black River as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Black River by [Dean, Will]



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?


I think at the end of the last book in this series Tuva Moodyson had thought she’d seen the last of her hometown of Gavrik. I remember feeling pleased that she was seeing the back of the town after some of the reception she’d received there. It certainly seemed as though she wasn’t everyone’s favourite person, particularly after the stories she’d covered. However, in Black River, Tuva is pulled back, when her best friend, Tammy, goes missing, and she galvanises the search for her. But to Tuva it seems she is the only person taking an interest in Tammy’s disappearance; only when another young woman goes missing, a local Swedish girl does the town sit up and take notice. Once again, Tuva finds herself at the centre of something strange going on, and she is determined to find her friend, no matter the danger this might put herself in.

As with his previous books, Will Dean has again managed to create a gloomy atmosphere around the town of Gavrik, set on the edge of the domineering Utgard forest, warning the reader that things are not at all well. The gloomy atmosphere is still the case even though Tuva’s friend has gone missing in the height of summer as the traditional midsummer celebrations begin to take place. But Tuva’s main concern is finding her friend and certainly not on the celebrations.  Utgard forest is also a character in its own right, and Will Dean explores its dark and gloomy depths in each of his three books. You got the sense that it is Tuva against nature when she has to venture close by or inside the forest. Will Dean manages to make the forest come to life, especially with the elk and the insects with a ravenous hunger for human skin.

What Will Dean portrays really well is Tuva’s strong friendship with her friend Tammy. When it seems that no one else has noticed, or isn’t willing to look for her, Tuva is determined to make sure that they do. This increases the pace as Tuva begins to hunt for clues frantically on her own. It seems as though she feels that she is the best person to find her friend. The police don’t seem to be following any strong leads, and it seems that they having to rely on the local searches, hoping to find something.

One of Will’s strong points in his writing is creating an air of mystery and he does this very well in some of his characters. There are some quirky and mysterious residents of Gavrik that he explores again here, I still haven’t forgotten about the wood chopping sisters from the first book in the series. I could feel my suspicions growing as Will introduces these people, and it kept me reading as I wondered when I was going to find out more about them and if they had any connection the case. And talk about creepy as well, especially with the snakes. When Tuva found herself in a predicament, in one scene, in particular, it made me feel very claustrophobic as I was reading.

I would say that this book is more of a slow-burner, but this is what makes it work so well. It’s how Will Dean draws you into the town, and into the minds of the people that inhabit it that make it instantly compelling and readable. This is a series that keeps going from strength to strength, and I can’t wait to see where Will Dean takes us next.

Publisher: Point Blank

Publication date: 12th February 2020 (kindle) 12th March 2020 (hardcover)

Print length: 384 pages

Black River is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Previous reviews

Dark Pines

Red Snow


Black River BT Poster

February First Monday Crime @1stMondayCrime

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see the back of January, once Christmas is done and dusted I start thinking of long, warm summer nights. And after a short break it also means that for crime fiction fans, a regular night of murder and mayhem is back.

First Monday Crime is all set to return to City University, London on Monday, 4th February 2019. As ever there promises to be an exciting panel of some very talented writers. The panel is being moderated by Barry Forshaw. So let’s take a look at who will be appearing next month, I’ll also have all the details where you can reserve your FREE seat below.

Will Dean, author of Dark Pines and Red Snow 

Red Snow (A Tuva Moodyson Mystery Book 2) by [Dean, Will]

Dark Pines and Red Snow follow reporter, Tuva Moodyson, during the depths of the Swedish winter as she attempts to solve some startling cases. Tuva is an absolutely fantastic character, Will Dean is a seriously talented writer, especially when it comes to description and atmosphere. You can read my reviews of Dark Pines by clicking HERE and Red Snow by clicking HERE.

Christopher Fowler, author of The Lonely Hour

Bryant & May - The Lonely Hour: (Bryant & May Book 17) by [Fowler, Christopher]

I’m afraid Christopher Fowler is the only author appearing on next month’s panel who I haven’t read before so I’m really interested to hear him talk about his books. The Lonely Hour is the seventeenth book in the Bryant & May series which is being released in March this year.

Gytha Lodge, author of She Lies In Wait

She Lies in Wait by [Lodge, Gytha]

Gytha Lodge’s debut crime novel is sure to be a hit when it is released this year. Thirty years after the disappearance of a teenager, her body is uncovered and the investigation into her disappearance and murder is reopened. Someone among the group of friends she was with at the time she went missing, knows what happened to her. You can read my review of She Lies In Wait by clicking HERE.

Lucy Foley, author of The Hunting Party

The Hunting Party: Get ready for the most gripping, hotly-anticipated crime thriller of 2019 by [Foley, Lucy]

The Hunting Party is Lucy Foley’s first crime novel. A group of Londoner’s travel to the Scottish Highlands to see in 2019. This is an atmospheric and a very well written psychological thriller in which dark secrets are unearthed as the group of friends tear each other apart, when one of them is murdered. You can read my review of The Hunting Party by clicking HERE.


So that is the panel for February. The closet tube stations to City University are Farringdon and Angel, the doors open at 6.30 p.m. and afterwards we’ll all be heading to the Blacksmith and Toffeemaker for a drink.

If you would like to come along to First Monday Crime, you can reserve your space by clicking HERE.


Red Snow by Will Dean blog tour #bookreview @willrdean @PtBlankBks



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?


Will Dean is a seriously talented writer, especially when it comes to atmosphere and description. Once I started reading Red Snow, I became completely wrapped up in the story and in the setting that is so brilliantly described. If you enjoyed Dark Pines, you are going to love this.

I only read the first book in this series towards the end of last year, and I was so excited that I could dive into the next one straight away.

After the events in the first book in the series, Tuva is facing strong animosity from the locals of Gavrik; some haven’t forgiven her for writing on the Medusa murders and putting Gavrik in the spotlight, and they are quite happy to see that she is leaving to go south. But with two weeks before her departure, she asks to help ghost writer, David Holmqvist research his next book on the liquorice factory, one of the town’s main sources of income. But trouble seems to have a habit of finding Tuva in this book, and she finds herself investigating a families murky past, with danger always just around the corner.

Will Dean is quite inventive when it comes to the nature of some of the deaths in both of these books, particularly the way in which the bodies are found. I think the next time we have snow, I’m going to be picturing snow skulls inside my head, they were so, so creepy. We also see the return of the wood carving sisters, who I am getting more and more curious about and I would really like to learn more about their history.

The family at the centre of this book, who Tuva is researching, are very mysterious and fascinating, and again there is a level of creepiness about them when Will Dean takes us into their home and explores their hobbies and especially some of the things that they collect. I wanted to know more about them and why strange things were suddenly starting to happen in their factory, especially since Tuva has arrived on the scene.

There is a dark undertone that runs right the way through this story which always keeps you thinking, about the places that Tuva visits and the people she encounters. Once again Will Dean has created an absolutely chilling read took me right into the depth of a Swedish winter as I was reading. During the time I was reading this, I sometimes expected to look up and see snow lying on the ground outside. I’m certainly interested to see how Will Dean will develop this series further.

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to the publisher for sending me an advance review copy.

Publisher: Point Blank

Publication date: 10th January 2019

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase Red Snow you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones


FINAL Red Snow Blog Tour Poster

Dark Pines by Will Dean #bookreview @willrdean @PtBlankBks

Dark Pines: 'Stylish, compelling and as chilling as a Swedish winter.’ - Fiona Cummins by [Dean, Will]



Eyes missing, two bodies lie deep in the forest near a remote Swedish town.


Tuva Moodyson, a deaf reporter on a small-time local paper, is looking for the story that could make her career.


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.


Deep within a Swedish forest, the body of a huntsman is discovered with his eyes gouged out, and deaf reporter Tuva Moodyson sets out to track down a killer. But is the death linked to a very disturbing series of murders that took place in the 1990s and how can Tuva uncover the truth when the people of the town don’t want her to report it?

Tuva is such an excellent character. After the discovery of the body in the woods, she sets out to investigate the locals, and she speaks to some unsettling people who are very different, but who all live near to each other. Tuva is hoping to get her big break in her career as she is desperate to join one of the nationals in London and she thinks that this case may just be her lucky break.

I loved the sense of menace which gets darker and darker as the novel progresses, making you think that Tuva is getting closer and closer to danger as she starts to unravel the truth. I became quickly immersed in Will’s brilliant writing which is so atmospheric and brilliantly written. I really liked the way he describes the forest and the weather. This is the perfect book to read on a cold winter’s evening, while wrapped up warm of course.

The characters who Tuva speaks to are so intriguing, and they all made me feel just that little bit uncomfortable; particularly the wood carving sisters, who make their living by carving creepy trolls, and the ghostwriter. I was thinking this especially when he was trying to interview Tuva. My own thoughts as to who the killer was were thwarted in the final chapters.

The forest does create an impending sense of doom, very much so when we think about the murders that are taking place there and the ones that took place decades earlier. Every time that Tuva was alone in these woods I was fearful for her, thinking that something was going to happen, or that someone was going to leap out of the trees brandishing a rifle. The forest is a character in its own right, and Will Dean draws on the gloominess and darkness so, so well.

Dark Pines is a chilling first novel from Will Dean. I’m very excited to see where he will take Tuva next. You really don’t want to miss this book.

Publisher: One World Publications

Publication date: 7th December 2017

Print length: 336 pages

If you would like to purchase Dark Pines, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK Waterstones Kobo