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The Last Thing to Burn Reviews

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

The Last Thing to Burn

Will Dean

3.73 out of 5

5 reviews

Category: Thrillers, Fiction
Imprint: Hodder & Stoughton
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 7 Jan 2021
ISBN: 9781529307054

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 . . .

4 stars out of 5
Barry Forshaw
1 Feb 2021

"ts unrelenting narrative of spousal cruelty is not for the fainthearted"

Dean’s previous books have had a Swedish setting, but with The Last Thing to Burn (Hodder, £12.99) he has relocated to an isolated East Anglian farm — carrying with him the dark Nordic sensibility that pervaded his earlier work. Can Thanh Dao escape her abusive husband, who is holding her captive? This is every bit as accomplished as Dean’s previous books, but its unrelenting narrative of spousal cruelty is not for the fainthearted.

Reviews

5 stars out of 5
Alison Flood
26 Jan 2021

"one of the best thrillers I have read in years: I consumed it in great gulps"

Will Dean’s narrator “can feel bone shards scraping together, six-year-old shards” in her ankle, as The Last Thing to Burn opens. She hobbles across the fields, desperate to escape the hell in which she has been living. But the vast flats of the east Midlands defeat her, and her captor drives up in a tractor to take her back to his tumbledown cottage. ...  The Last Thing to Burn is one of the best thrillers I have read in years: I consumed it in great gulps, desperate to find out how Thanh Dao’s story played out, and then read it again, more slowly, savouring her courage and her unvanquished sense of self, despite everythin

4 stars out of 5
Laura Wilson
23 Jan 2021

"this is a true nail-biter"

In an isolated farm amid the fens of East Anglia, Leonard imprisons the Vietnamese immigrant wife he purchased. In constant pain from the injury he inflicted on her ankle, Thanh Dao is kept under surveillance in a cottage surrounded by a vast expanse of flat, muddy fields, with only her memories of her family and her few remaining possessions to keep her sane. The misery becomes ever more tense and claustrophobic when a well-meaning neighbour gets involved, and the tone remains unremittingly grim throughout, but this is a true nail-biter; you’ll be rooting for the astonishingly resilient heroine all the way.

3 stars out of 5
Mark Sanderson
5 Jan 2021

"a short, sharp shocker, burning with righteous anger, intended to highlight the evils of human trafficking"

Will Dean has changed publishers and direction. This is a short, sharp shocker, burning with righteous anger, intended to highlight the evils of human trafficking. A Vietnamese woman, stuck in the middle of the British countryside with her pig-farmer husband, is physically and psychologically abused. And that’s that.

3 stars out of 5
3 Jan 2021

"Dean laudably combines gaslighting and modern slavery in this set-up, but it makes for a necessarily repetitive and relentlessly grim read"

Dean laudably combines gaslighting and modern slavery in this set-up, but it makes for a necessarily repetitive and relentlessly grim read: as if Beckett had tackled the Bluebeard story, although without his merciful moments of poetry and humour.