The Last Thing to Burn – Will Dean

A woman being held captive is willing to risk everything to save herself, her unborn child, and her captor’s latest victim in this claustrophobic thriller in the tradition of Misery and Room.

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 . . .

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden 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. He is the author of Dark Pines

My Review:

I love Will Dean – I love his lovely, soft flowing beard, his stunning photos of life in Sweden, his gorgeous dog, his lumberjack shirts and having met him a few times, I can confirm he’s a nice, polite, unassuming gentleman but having just finished The Last Thing To Burn I am seriously worried about what goes on in his mind, under the silky, soft head of hair – because this book is DARK… so dark you will need to read it wearing a miners helmet with an extra bright torch.

I have read and loved Will’s series Dark Pines featuring the wonderful Tuva Moodyson which are all set in an isolated town in Sweden and when I heard he had written a standalone thriller I was intrigued.

The Last Thing to Burn is simply OUTSTANDING and in my humble opinion one of the best books I’ve read this year. Set in an isolated farm somewhere in the UK, the story is about Jane who lives with her husband Lenn – except Jane is really Thanh Dao, a Vietnamese women who travelled to the UK with her sister and has spent the past 7 years as Lenn’s prisoner, beated, raped and humilated every single day.

This is such a powerful and disturbing story about human trafficking, that it was difficult to read at times and often I had to put the book down and think “fluffy” thoughts.

Will Dean brings Jane to life in such a way that the reader feels her pain and despair at her situation, when she speaks about her younger sister, the love and hope is so real that it actually hurts and her inner strength and determination is inspirational.

This is a book which makes your skin crawl, your heart beat faster and your blood boil, but the underlying feelings of hope and survival make The Last Thing To Burn utterly compelling and the work of a literary genius.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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