The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean @willrdean @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity #BookReview #NetGalley #NewRelease #SuspenceThriller

The Last Thing to Burn by [Will Dean]


‘I lived every second with the characters. A masterpiece’ JANE CASEY
Misery meets Room … a triumph’ MARIAN KEYES
‘Ratchets up the tension to the point where I had to check my pulse’ LIZ NUGENT

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 …


The Last Thing to Burn


This is a hit you in the gut sort of story that breaks you up into a million pieces. Thanh Dao and her younger sister Kym-Ly had travelled from Vietnam nine years ago in a cargo ship illegally, to make a better life for themselves. They found out that what they got was to be sold as slaves for their owners to do whatever they wanted with them.

The story takes place around Thanh, now renamed Jane, who lives with her ‘husband’ on a very remote farm miles away from the nearest town. No-one knows of her existence. It begins with Jane being brought back to the farm after trying to escape again and the consequences that she has to face for her actions.

It is a brutal account of Thanh’s life day in day out, and it isn’t an easy read. With each page, I was piecing together a picture of Lenn, the farmer, and it scared the living daylights out of me. Thanh knows the routines that she must follow, even when Lenn isn’t there because he has cameras everywhere in the house. There were horrendous obvious punishments that had been dealt out in the past, and continue, with both physical and mental cruelty, but things are about to change.

The characters in the book couldn’t have been made more perfect, with the descriptions of Lenn gradually building in each chapter. He was always faceless in the story with me, like I couldn’t look him directly in the eyes. The farmhouse, which was stuck in a time warp, left me feeling uneasy that this had never been a normal home way before Thanh lived there.

To say that there are very few characters in the story it never loses that intensity that something worse is going to happen. It makes me shudder to think that this could be someone’s life now.

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Will Dean

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. Red Snow was published in January 2019 and won Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards, 2019. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Twitter: @willrdean

The Last Thing to Burn by [Will Dean]

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