Why you need to make Dark Pines your next summer holiday read

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Megan Murray
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Join Stylist and The Zoe Ball Book Club as we tackle the 10 best books of summer 2018…

It’s that time of the year again, when we find ourselves desperately searching for the perfect holiday read to while away the days spent poolside. The ultimate summer novel should be gripping. It should offer escapism. And ideally, it should tackle a meaty issue or two, so we can discuss it in great detail with our travel companions.

If you’re still searching for a book to take away with you, look no further. Stylist has teamed up with The Zoe Ball Book Club (part of the Sunday edition of her weekend shows Zoe Ball on Saturday and Zoe Ball on Sunday) in a bid to track down the best books of summer 2018.

The novels are chosen every week by Amanda Ross, the guru behind the original Richard & Judy Book Club, and a crack team of book experts. Ross has previously selected books by Ruth Jones and Rowan Coleman, but for her third pick, she’s chosen Dark Pines by Will Dean. 

The first of a series, Dark Pines continues the trend of Scandinavian thrillers that have been popular on screen and on the page over the last few years. It follows the residents of a small Arctic town in Sweden that’s rocked by a murder committed in the deep, dark forest

Here’s what Francesca Brown, books editor for Stylist magazine and Emerald Street email, had to say about it:

“If you’re still mourning the loss of The Bridge’s Saga Norén, Dark Pines is your unsettling and addictive comfort blanket. Set in the remote Swedish town of Gavrik, the best coffee comes courtesy of the local McDonald’s and elk are kept in check by roaming packs of bloodthirsty hunters.

“When a body is found in the dense Utgard forest (with all the hallmarks of murder spree from 20 years previously), local reporter Tuva Moodyson becomes entangled in a community that boasts everything from reclusive writers with a penchant for veal brains to a pair of weird sisters who make wooden trolls decorated with human toenails and hair.

“Weird? You bet. Dark Pines could be twin towned with Twin Peaks for Swede-US relations. And, at the heart of it, is the defiant and angry Tuva who has no time for the silent, misogynistic locals and their pack mentality. Utilising her journalistic skills, her deafness (there’s a nice scene in which she switches off her hearing aids to the pandemonium around her and produces an incisively written investigation into the murders) and support from women around her (her best friend, her boss, a local wife), Tuva unrelentingly breaks down generations of silence and violence in a twisting plot that has the most satisfying of conclusions.

“Hopefully the first in a long-running series, Tuva and Dean are the new thriller you’ve been waiting for. You may need a strong stomach though.”

Speaking about The Zoe Ball Book Club project, Ball says: “I adore reading so I’m beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to bring a book club back to TV. I’m so excited to read all the brilliant titles on our list, and can’t wait to chat about each and every one of them with my wonderful guests and hear what viewers across the country think too – we’ll have a wide range of books that should hopefully encourage everyone to try something new!

“Thanks to our esteemed panel we can be sure they are splendid reads.”

The Zoe Ball Book Club, in association with Specsavers, from 17 June on Zoe Ball on Sunday for 10 weeks.

Zoe Ball on Saturday and Zoe Ball on Sunday (ZBoS) is on ITV at 8.30am every weekend, or catch-up on ITV Player.

Images: Point Blank 


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.