Publication: 7th January 2021 – Hodder & Stoughton
The Last Thing to Burn is the highly anticipated first standalone thriller from bestselling author and rising star Will Dean.
Unrelentingly tense and heart-poundingly atmospheric, The Last Thing to Burn is a chilling and thought-provoking exploration of human survival and life on the fringes of society.
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 …
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Last Thing To Burn, the new novel by Will Dean.
Let me start by saying that The Last Thing To Burn is not an easy read. It is intense, it is emotional, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading and I felt emotionally involved in the life of the protagonist of the story, worried about what would happen to her.
The story is told in first person by a woman. She lives in a farm with her husband Lenn. He calls her Jane, but that’s not her real name, it is the name he has given to her almost seven years ago when he made her his prisoner. In less than three hundred pages, Jane tells us her story. She tells us how she traveled from Vietnam to England with her sister, how she first worked in Manchester and then she is taken to Lenn’s farm, how Lenn controls her every single movement and how, if she disobeys, he punishes her, taking away one of the few things that she still owns.
Lenn is a monster. He is a man obsessed with his late mother, a man who enjoys torturing the woman he calls his wife and deprive her of all her freedom. Will Dean created a cruel villain and I don’t think I ever hated a character as I hated Lenn. Everything he did made me angry, everything he said made me furious.
Jane is a brilliant character. The only thing that keeps her going is the hope that her sister is safe. Her few attempts of rebellion and escape end with Lenn burning the things that she holds close, one by one: a picture of her family, her ID, a battered copy of Mice and Men, and, mostly important, the letters from her sister. Jane is strong, for almost seven years, she has endured the emotional and physical control of Lenn, but, when circumstances changes, Jane realizes that it’s time to fight back.
The Last Thing To Burn is slow-burning and heartbreaking. Some of the scenes were really hard to read. Despite the disturbing themes and scenes, I couldn’t put it down because I was so invested in the story and Jane’s future. The Last Thing To Burn is an exceptional and incredible story and it won’t be easy to forget it.
A huge thank you to Jenny and Hodder & Stoughton for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the novel.
WILL DEAN grew up in the East Midlands and had lived in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying Law at the LSE and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden where he built a house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. 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, was published in January 2019 and won Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards, 2019. The Last Thing to Burn is his first standalone novel and his first book with Hodder.