The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean – Book Review

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean – Book Review

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

The Last Thing to Burn

Author – Will Dean
Publisher – Hodder & Stoughton
Pages – 256
Released – 7th January 2021
ISBN-13 – 978-1529307054
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio
Rating – 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
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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 . . .

Review by Stacey

The Last thing to Burn is a gripping, exciting thriller from author Will Dean. It is the first book of Will’s that I have read but judging by the fact that I began this book at 10 am Saturday and finished it at 4 pm the same day, I can tell you it won’t be my last. I just couldn’t put this book down for long, always eager to return.

The plot surrounds a young woman from Vietnam who has been brought to the UK illegally in the hope of a better life. Unfortunately, she ended up on a remote farmhouse with Lenn who treats her badly, keeps a watchful eye on her at all time via cameras set up around the house, and calls her Jane – This is not her name, her name is Thanh Dao.

Every time she does something that Lenn doesn’t like, from trying to escape to not cleaning the house properly, Lenn takes one of her valuable items she has left from back home and burns them, this is her punishment.

This is a story of human trafficking and how it rarely ends well for the person looking and hoping for a better life. The story is quite raw, visual, and uncomfortable at times, but I would think this is how Will wanted you to feel as this is not a story of a happy life, this is the story of one young woman being made to feel as if she is not here on this earth for any other reason than to serve her ‘husband’, whether that’s by feeding him, cleaning the house or offering her body to him.

I won’t go into too much of what happens but let’s just say two things occur that make Thanh Dao realise she needs a plan to get away from Lenn, one that will work this time.

The book is compelling. It is quite graphic in the sense of how brutal Lenn can be. I became emotionally involved in the plot and was rooting for Thanh Dao to find a way to get away from Lenn and find help.

This was not an easy read, it was quite a harrowing read, yet, I was fully invested in the story and totally engrossed. The tension that builds throughout is addictive, hence me reading it in just a few hours.

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Author Info

Will Dean The Last Thing to Burn

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying law at the LSE, and working many varied jobs in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife. He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.

DARK PINES, the first in the Tuva Moodyson series, was published to huge critical acclaim in 2018, was shortlisted for Not the Booker prize, selected for Zoe Ball’s TV Book Club and named as a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year. THE LAST THING TO BURN is his first standalone novel.

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What did you think of ‘The Last Thing to Burn’? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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12 Responses

  1. Robin Loves Reading says:

    The Last Thing to Burn sounds like a really good read.

  2. Ooh I know this one would pull me in!

  3. vidya says:

    Oh.. this sounds both intriguing and disturbing.. as always, enjoyed your review

  4. Oh this sounds like it is a really good book.

  5. Nia says:

    I’ve been seeing this book everywhere- you’ve convinced me to dig in!

  6. Peter Kerrrigan says:

    Read over a couple of days, hooked on the make or break ‘will she / won’t she survive / human strength story & will to live, edge of the seat reading through hands over eyes moments, especially last 50 pages!! Cleverly written, insightful, raw, but v engaged with characters, hitting the ground running (or hobbling!) & doesn’t slow down…best book I’ve read in pandemic (which is a picnic in comparison to what is endured here!)

  7. It is an amazing read, I would definitely recommend you read it.

  8. Thank you Kate, good to hear you think this one would pull you in.

  9. Thank you Vidya, I can confirm it is both of these things.

  10. Thank you Shelleen for your comment, It is an amazing book.

  11. Thank you Nia, good we have convinced you to give it a read. It is a fab book so I hope you enjoy it too,

  12. Thank you Peter, good to hear that you have read and enjoyed the book too. I agree with your analysis completely.