**This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Random Things Tours and Corvus Books for giving me the opportunity to review The Last Snow.**
The small village, Ödesmark, has been abandoned by most of its inhabitants, but Liv Björnlund remains. Liv, her son, Simon, and her father, Vidar, are the talk of the town and the other villagers have spread several scathing rumours about them over the years. Everyone thinks they’re strange, and Vidar is one of the town’s most hated inhabitants.
No-one can understand why Liv has never left the village, and not escaped from her fathers tyrannical grasp. An interesting piece of gossip circulating amongst the villagers is that Vidar has a small fortune, but no one can be sure if that’s true. No one has ever forgotten the dodgy business deals he has done over the years that have caused many problems for everyone else living in the area.
Nothing can last forever, and someone is out to get Vidar to get back what is rightfully theirs. No matter who stands in their way, they won’t stop until they have it…
Jackson has brought to life the small village of Ödesmark, that is layered with a dark history and secrets from years gone by. The residents are all opposed to eighty years old, Vidar Bjornland, who owns the land they all live on. Whilst the years have taken some of Vidar’s strength, he still remains a fierce old man. All he wants is for his family to stay by his side until his dying breath, but they want their own lives elsewhere. He will chase them to the ends of the earth to make sure they cannot escape him. His daughter, Liv, has tried to get away from Odesmark several times and has never made it far under Vidar’s watch.
The story is told from Liv’s P.O.V, and Liam Lilja’s P.O.V, a single father that has lost his way several times and is controlled by his abusive brother, Gabriel, who also tells his side of the story. It was intriguing to learn the character’s backgrounds and understand what their motives would be for killing Vidar. However, these switching points of view and jumping between different years confused me greatly for a while. The first half of the book felt ‘jumpy’ and a bit scattered, but as I reached the halfway point I started to enjoy reading this book a lot more. Uncovering the characters and the town’s secrets became very enticing.
Liv seems lost in every sense of the word. She spent years trying to evade Vidar and get out of the village but failed every time. I felt most of the time she came across as a scared, and a desperate girl whose only wish was to live her life how she chose to. Then she had Simon, and her life goals changed to be solely focused on protecting him and making sure his life wasn’t a misery as she felt hers had been.
Liam is trying to break free from the world of drug-dealing and get away from his toxic brother, Gabriel. His one wish is to give his daughter, Vanja, the best life possible. It was heart-wrenching at times to see his internal struggle between drug abuse, protecting his brother, and wanting a better life. I felt he really did try, even if he fell off the wagon a few times. Gabriel is just evil, he shows the ugliest sides of drug/substance abuse and shows no sign of ever changing his ways. He doesn’t believe they can survive without the drug-dealing as he feels you cannot live an honest life and make enough money to live comfortably. He’s angry and abusive, it’s almost as if he feels the world owes him something at all times.
Ödesmark was brought to life beautifully and it was easy to be swept into the Swedish landscape of snowy mountains, and endless forestry. You could almost see and feel the characters running through the forest, or working at the local petrol shop. It’s eerie and shrouded by darkness which matches the moods of the characters. It comes across as a rundown, desolate area that simply was forgotten about over time. The few who remain in Ödesmark all have a grudge – and, often hatred – against Vidar as his fortune has been built from lies and deceit of those who live in the village. It becomes very clear why someone would wish the worst for him.
It’s a solid, slow-burner of a Scandi Noir. Due to being confused for the first half of the book, I rate it 3.5/5 stars. If you’re interested in the theme, then this book will definitely be for you. My only warning would be that there is a fair amount of violence and substance abuse in this book, if either of these are triggering for you, I’d recommend not reading it unless you feel you can.