Book Review: The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean - More2Read

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean



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About The Last Thing to Burn:

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 . . .

Intense, dark, and utterly gripping The Last Thing to Burn is a breathtaking thriller from an author to watch.



Praise For The Last Thing to Burn:


“I could not stop reading this! Brilliantly done . . . I’m awestruck!”
-Denise Mina, internationally bestselling author of THE LESS DEAD

“This outstanding thriller by Will Dean might be the best book you read this year. THE LAST THING TO BURN is intense, dark, and utterly chilling — I felt this one in my bones.”
-Jennifer Hillier, award-winning author of JAR OF HEARTS and LITTLE SECRETS

“I couldn’t put it down. A visceral nightmare of a book with one of the most evil villains I’ve come across in a long time. Powerful writing.”
-Steve Cavanagh, award-winning author of THE DEFENSE

“Ratchets up the tension to the point where I had to check my pulse.”
-Liz Nugent, critically-acclaimed author of LITTLE CRUEL

‘Outstanding. The best thriller in years’
-Martina Cole

‘I couldn’t put it down. A visceral nightmare of a book with one of the most evil villains I’ve come across in a long time. Powerful writing’
-Steve Cavanagh

‘Short, sharp shocker’
-The Times

‘Heart-stoppingly suspenseful, a masterclass in tension’
-Erin Kelly




Eyes watching and checks to see she is within range.
With the severe pain and injury she is suffering, pills are given to help, not your average kind, ones in easy possession of this kind of farmer with cattle, horse pills.

She has a name, her birth name, but this person that have purchased her chose to call her Jane, but she was once and desperately trying in a fragmented way to not forget Thanh Dao native of Bien How, Vietnam the woman she once was and still is.
The seventh year she is there.
That time when she arrived eight years ago with her sister Kin-Ly they had some parcel of hope and with that followed terrible days bit by bit word by word action by action hammered at her life that hope away.
A lie sold to them, betterment, monies sent back home, and debts be paid, but what a debt awaiting if she had just known, she must break from this crucible of pain and that is the hook in the narrative.

You don’t want to be there and you don’t want such a terrible prism of captivity but you don’t want to leave the tale and close the book neither.

This may have you revisit that story mentioned in here penned by John Steinbeck, Of Mice of Men.
One may think of this tale whilst reading it in future times, on how this captive soul held it close to her heart.
There was a barn too in that tale and a farm.
The circumstances of the characters were very different, a very serious problem you are immersed within with this narrative, one in this place called earth, people trafficked and sold, human beings, souls in fear, monies changing hands for promise of monies in name of ones freedom but to captivity and imprisonment. One may be thinking about prison or behind walls with the stay home orders due to the pandemic and feeling in a kind of prison, but we always have the handle to turn and run, the door to walkout of when we so wish, we have a choice or an option for a phone call to help to speak to someone without fear of being taken from one prison to another, victims of this crime have not.
In the afterword there is pointing to the real life tragedies upon this earth find more after this review.

First person captivating tale and with the terrible minutes and days for this captive empathy grows within the reader for hopes of saving and safety.
The telling clear with no great prose styling in usage, but scenes, human fears and hopes vividly assembled with words embedding the reader in the tale to its finality.


From Afterword:

If you suspect someone is in need of support as a result of human trafficking, exploitation, or their migration status, then the following organisations may be able to assist:

International Rescue Committee

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

World Relief





“With a clean, clear-thinking head maybe I’d have managed to escape? Not with this leg. Not with him always coming back. Always checking on me. Always watching.”

“My ankle is ruined. The nerves and bones and tendons and muscles are as one damaged bundle; sharp flints and old meat. Fire. I feel nothing else. The pain is something I live with every day of my life, but not like this. This is wretched. My mouth is open. A silent cry. A hopeless and unending scream.”

“I look down at the plastic dust sheet covering the sofa, at the ID card, which contains the last words I possess in my own language, the last photo of myself, of what I used to look like before all this happened. It’s the last thing with my real name, Thanh Dao; with my date of birth, November 3; with my place of birth, Biên Hòa, Vietnam. It proves I am really me.”

“I have no privacy, not even anything resembling it. I am filmed and observed and caught out and recorded and spied upon. I live in an open prison surrounded by wall-less fields and fence-less fens. It’s the vastness of these flatlands that keeps me prisoner here. I’m contained, incarcerated in the most open landscape of them all.”

“I want more pills to dull my life but then I’ll never get out of this place and he’ll do whatever he wants. Whenever he wants. It’s a horrific balance. Numb enough to carry on but not too numb that I lose all control.”

“My entire existence is a learned coping mechanism.” 



About Will Dean:


Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands of the United Kingdom and lived in nine villages before the age of eighteen. After studying law at the London School of Economics and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden where he built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the center 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 on ITV, shortlisted for the National Book Awards (UK), the Guardian’s Not The Booker prize, and named a Telegraph book of the year.





Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 17 January 2021