Review: The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

Title: The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


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.

On an isolated farm in the United Kingdom, a woman is trapped by the monster who kidnapped her seven years ago. When she discovers she is pregnant, she resolves to protect her child no matter the cost, and starts to meticulously plan her escape. But when another woman is brought into the fold on the farm, her plans go awry. Can she save herself, her child, and this innocent woman at the same time? Or is she doomed to spend the remainder of her life captive on this farm?

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


The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean is a riveting yet bleak novel.

Thanh Dao and her sister Kim-Ly arrive in the UK with big dreams. While Kim-Ly works in Manchester, Thanh “Jane” has been sold to Lenn and lives on a pig farm in the Fenlands. Nearly eight years later, the only thing that keeps Jane going is the thought that her sister will soon be free of the “debt” she owes.  As for Jane, she lives a lonely existence with Lenn who controls absolutely every aspect of her life. But when she becomes pregnant, Jane never stops searching for the opportunity to escape from her captor.

Over the years, Jane has tried to escape so she knows what will happen if Lenn catches her. She bides her times and continues to outwardly acquiesce to his demands. But Jane makes sure to tell herself the truth every time she loses a piece of herself to Lenn. She spends her days doing housework and cooking for Lenn while she dreads the nights he takes her upstairs to the front bedroom. After she realizes she is pregnant, Jane knows that she cannot raise her child in captivity.

The farm is isolated and no one is aware Jane lives with Lenn. He spends his days working in the fields and he has very exacting standards for everything within the walls of his rundown home. Lenn follows Jane’s every move and he punishes her when he catches her out. With Jane in danger of losing her very identity, she waits for the perfect opportunity to escape his evil clutches.

The Last Thing to Burn is a suspenseful, character driven novel. Jane is the easy to empathize narrator of this heartrending story that delves into the seamy world of human trafficking. Jane’s desperation to escape is apparent with each turn of the page. The story is well-written with a grim setting that springs vividly to life. With increasing tension, Will Dean brings this haunting novel to a stunning conclusion.

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Filed under Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Contemporary, Rated B, Suspense, The Last Thing to Burn, Will Dean

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