First Born – Will Dean


lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.

Delivering the same intensity of pace and storytelling that made THE LAST THING TO BURN a word-of-mouth sensation, FIRST BORN will surprise, shock and enthral.

Book Length: 306 pages. Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton. Publication Date: 14 April 2022

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. Black River was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Award in 2021. The Last Thing to Burn was released to widespread acclaim in January 2021.

My Review:

If you follow my blog then you will know I am a HUGE fan of Will Dean’s books and his first standalone thriller THE LAST THING TO BURN went straight into my TOP TEN books of 2020, even though it wasn’t published until 2021 so when I received an invitation to join the blogtour for his new standalone thriller FIRST BORN, I jumped at the chance without even checking the blurb!

As a lover of dark, psychological thrillers there are a few things that immediately spark my interest and tick my boxes, so when I settled down to start this book and saw it was about TWINS and one twin in particular was QUIRKY, I was literally salivating with excitement!

I can’t go into much detail without spoiling the book in this review but I can say with confidence FIRST BORN is seriously addictive, twisted and has some real WTF, OMG moments which left me reeling, confused (in a good way) and utterly shocked.

Will Dean has an uncanny talent for creating female characters that get under your skin, into your head and leave a lasting impression and 23 year old identical twin Molly is no exception.

Molly is a real “quirky” character, she takes “cautious” to the next level, sees danger or risks everywhere and lives quietly alone in Camden Town. Her identical twin Katie (KT) is the polar opposite, outgoing and adventurous she’s now living in New York having an absolute ball – until she is found dead in her bed under suspicious circumstances.

With the story set mainly in New York, I was immediately transported to the busy streets of Manhattan, could smell the hotdogs and onions, feel the steam coming from the roads and hear the traffic and sirens so clearly.

FIRST BORN is a very clever, atmospheric, twisted tale which left me open-mouthed and speechless at times. Another easy 5 star review from me and I can’t wait to read more of Will Dean’s standalone books.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


‘Highly accomplished, dark and dazzling. First Born twists and deceives, and cements Will Dean’s status as a truly rare talent. Pure brilliance’ CHRIS WHITAKER

‘Tiptoes into Highsmith territory here. Pacy, exhilarating and jaw-dropping, it’s a meditation on identity and loneliness as well as a bloody good pageturner. New York buffets the characters about its ruthless streets, just as the reader is propelled from one twist to the next’ ERIN KELLY

‘Will Dean writes a mean thriller, with a keen ear for what scares us. The streets of New York shine off the page, and the action rarely lets up. Highly recommended’ SARAH HILARY

‘Will Dean manages to accomplish the rare blend of excellent writing and intriguing, ingenious plottingLIZ NUGENT

‘Taut, suspenseful, chilling and surprising‘ GILLY MACMILLAN

‘Equal parts murder mystery and psychological thriller, Will Dean dazzles with FIRST BORN. A tense, taut plot that blows through unexpected twists and turns, you won’t be able to look away until the final, shattering page’ JULIE CLARK

‘Great pace, great twists, a perfect psychological thriller B.A. PARIS

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