With Will Dean’s The Last Thing to Burn one of my favourite reads of 2021 so far (my review of which you’ll find here) I simply couldn’t resist breaking my self imposed blog tour ban to participate in this one for Will’s latest book Bad Apples. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Point Blank for sending me a copy of Bad Apples in return for an honest review. I’m delighted to share that review today.
Published by One World News Imprint, Point Blank, on 7th October 2021, Bad Apples is available for purchase through the links here.
A resident of small-town Visberg is found decapitated.
A cultish hilltop community ‘celebrates’ Pan Night 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….
My Review of Bad Apples
Tuva’s got a new post.
My goodness. Bad Apples is a compelling, disturbing and exciting read. My poor brain and pulse are still recovering. Will Dean begins Bad Apples in dramatic style and keeps the reader entranced and unsettled throughout. Alongside all the drama – and my word, there’s drama – is an intelligent balance of quietness, nature and the prosaic aspects of life that makes the riveting plot all the more affecting and entertaining.
Within the narrative style, there’s an intimate sensation as Tuva Moodyson’s first person voice feels as if she’s speaking directly to the reader in a way that makes Bad Apples completely captivating. The atmosphere is creepy and unnerving so that I felt quite tense as I read and the descriptions of ‘Pan night’ will reverberate in my mind for some considerable time to come. It’s the use of the senses, possibly heightened because of Tuva’s hearing impairment, that really brings the text to life. The setting of Visberg is horribly clear in the reader’s mind to the extent that I almost felt I was physically present.
In a fast paced plot Will Dean sprinkles Bad Apples with hints, bluffs and clues that draw in the reader and make them think they’re ahead of Tuva, before he wrong foots them completely. I loved this aspect of the book because it adds to the tension and excitement. The plot truly made my head spin and I found my dreams held elements that I’d been reading about because Will Dean writes with such manipulative skill. The range of sentence length is superb in creating tension within the plot too.
Tuva is a brilliant character. She’s bright, sassy and witty but has a softness and vulnerability too that makes her very real to the reader. Although I haven’t read other books in this series, Will Dean’s writing ensured I was never at a disadvantage, but left me feeling that I knew Tuva completely and the author made me care so much about Tuva that now I’m determined to read the other books in the series too.
As well as being a spell binding whirlwind of a tale, Bad Apples has themes that give it such a richness. The iterative image of apples reminds the reader of biblical temptation and traditional tales like Snow White so that our knowledge of evil and danger heightens the impact of reading the book. There are elements of horror that make Bad Apples feel as if there’s something evil lurking in the reader’s peripheral vision so that the book is deliciously perturbing. Revenge, community, control, secrets, obfuscation, lies and deceit add layer upon layer of unease. I thought this was an affecting, excellent element of the text.
Atmospheric, creepy and unnerving, Bad Apples is a must read for Tuva Moodyson fans and for those of us who haven’t encountered the series before, we’re in for an absolute treat. Bad Apples is a brilliant read.
About Will Dean
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands and 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 thriller, Red Snow, won ‘Best Independent Voice’ at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards, 2019, and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2020. The third novel, Black River, has been longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021. Rights for the series have been sold in eight territories (France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Poland, Czech Republic, China and Turkey).
Will lives in Sweden where the Tuva Moodyson novels are set. TV Rights to Dark Pines have been optioned by Lionsgate, the producers of Mad Men, with plans for a multi-part series featuring Tuva Moodyson.
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