The Last Thing To Burn – Will Dean

Published By: Hodder
Pages: 256
Released On: 07/01/2021

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 . . .

*****

I read Will’s latest book, First Born, before this one and it was so exceptional that I immediately ordered another of his – this one. However it didn’t live up to my expectations.

I think I did myself a disservice with this one. I believe (and I’m aware this is a generalisation) that authors improve with each book as they develop their skills and confidence, and I think that’s the issue here. I read First Born first and it was so brilliant, but this one was an earlier book and whilst I enjoyed it, it didn’t seem quite as polished.

This did get better as it went alone but I found it really slow to begin with, and for a book that’s less than 300 pages, you can’t afford to be slow. However, one positive of the book’s length is that I finished it in one sitting, which I always enjoy doing.

It is a proper psychological thriller, it isn’t comfortable to read. You feel claustrophobic and you find yourself living in the main character’s shoes, always looking over your shoulder.

It is very light on plot and is definitely character driven, which is impressive seeing as for most of it, there are only two characters.

Like I say, it’s not comfortable to read and there are some uncomfortable themes such as rape, human trafficking, physical and psychological torture, violence and death threats.

It’s a good premise and it is exciting in places, but it does feel a bit far fetched overall for me.

Not the best book I’ve ever read, but on the basis of how Will Dean’s talent has developed, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for future stories.

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