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The Last Thing to Burn

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  91 reviews
A dark and brilliant new standalone thriller from a rising star in the crime genre.

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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Average rating 4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  116 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Will Dean moves into rather different territory from his deaf journalist series to a more chillingly harrowing, dark and disturbing world, the evils and horrors of human trafficking and enslavement. This claustrophobic and atmospheric storytelling has Vietnamese Thanh Dao and her sister, Kym-Ly, arrive in the UK only to find they have been conned. Thanh finds herself named 'jane' after the mother and first wife of Lenn, a nasty, controlling, cruel and abusive man, living in a isolated, dilapidat ...more
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of ‘Jane’, the name given to her by her ‘husband’ Leonard who keeps her captive on his isolated Fenland farm. He has cameras watching her all day long and if she does something he doesn’t like she is punished. Thanh Dao aka Jane tells her story.

I’m not going to pretend this is an easy read because it’s not. It’s a brutal personal tale of the outcome of people trafficking and the overwhelming desire to survive in the face of superior strength and terrifying cruelty. It’s a tens
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"...and I sit feeding my daughter and planning his death."

One of the best written survivor stories!

Damn, the whole time I was just numb thinking about what the main character had to go through ever since the first page until the last few pages of the book. It gave me nightmares. It gave me chills. It gave me actual pain.

Yes, pain. A whole lot of it. Physical pain while reading this story. It's 99 percent pain throughout the entire read because the victim and later on victims, another added victi
Dannii Elle
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars.

'Jane' was not born with this name or in the country she now finds herself. She did not marry the man who controls her life nor decide upon her current role as his servant and slave. But 'Jane' is an illegal immigrant and without any rights or friends to aid her in this cold country and her captor uses her sister's safety as the carrot to keep her docile. His other measure is the steady violence he enacts upon her for her misdeeds, as the misshapen lump of flesh at the
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow I don’t how to start this review. This is not an easy read but a powerful and heart-breaking one. This story is about ‘Jane’. Not her real name but it’s the name that her captor Leonard has been calling her for the last seven years. She is held captive in an isolated farm. Where she is watched all day by cameras while her captor goes on and works on a pig farm. When he returns, she must cook and clean and does all duties that a wife does even in the bedroom. But she cannot escape because she ...more
A heartbreaking read. A woman is called Jane by the man she lives with but she tells us that she is not called Jane. This man is her captor, her prisoner. He's trafficked her. And he won't let her escape. If she tries, he burns one of her possessions. She tells us that she had 13 but now has only four.

It's an insightful read particularly as it's written in the first person and 'Jane' explains what's going on, how she feels, what this new start in England was supposed to be like and how she, like
The Book Review Café
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
**no spoilers**

The Last Thing To Burn is a stark, frequently brutal tale of human trafficking, human resilience, and good versus evil. WOW Will Dean has a descriptive style of writing that took my breath away, I’m not just talking about the abuse scenes (which some readers may find disturbing) I’m talking about the descriptive way he describes his setting I’m sure I could smell the damp, decaying farm house and feel the cold seeping into my bones. It’s the descriptions of Jane’s thoughts and fee
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oftentimes, in both fiction and non-fiction, human villains can be more terrifying than the supernatural kind. And sometimes, the scariest monster isn’t under your bed. He’s in it.

The Last Thing To Burn, which reads more like a memoir than a piece of fiction, opens with Thanh-Dao, a young Vietnamese woman with a hobbled right ankle, running down a dirt road through farm fields, pursued. The man she’s fleeing from is her husband, Lenn. And we soon learn both Thanh-Dao and her sister, Kim-Ly, hav
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I mean I have absolutely no clue how to review this book because so much happened I don't even know where to begin.
First of all, the message this book carries regarding human trafficking is so STRONG and I would recommend everybody to read it for this reason alone. Not enough is spoken about these real realities of life and definitely unheard of in fiction books.

- The writing was great and the plot was so unique to me. I was so interested in Jane's backstory and her life and I couldn't imagine
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not so long ago The Room, first book and then the movie, became the it thing, banking on of all these terrifying real life stories of abduction and imprisonment, but really going for it all the way, a deep dive into the victim’s/survivor’s mentality. So the very opposite of light reading, in fact about as heavy as it gets. And then Will Dean must have thought why not take it to a new level, turn up the horror and all that and at the same time take on sex trafficking and then this book was born. ...more
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Two young sister make the journey from Vietnam to the UK for a better life and to earn some money to send home to their parents.
A sad and frightening story about human trafficking and modern slavery than I found difficult to read but also hard to put down.
Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Donna Hines
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, arc
Pregnant in captivity in UK by a monster in disguise!
Lenn and Frank seemed innocent enough until you learn the hidden facts and reality behind their devious actions.
These guys are hell on Earth and they will stop at nothing to ruin lives closest to them including a mother and child.
What's even more shocking is the fact that Will Dean has put everything he has on the line for this new work -The Last Thing to Burn in terms of his writing with valuable plot twists and striking characters who are la
Laura Rash
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m glad I started this book on a day when I had no interruptions bc I couldn’t put it down. Not so much a thriller but a dark and sordid story that’s a nightmare but you just can’t stop reading to see how it’s going to all end. Will Dean is the master of keeping a book simple but complicated at the same time.
Thanks to the publisher for this early copy in exchange for review.
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: November 4th 2020

"There is no handcuff keeping me here, there is no manacle locked around my ankle. And yet I am imprisoned."

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton/Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

(view spoiler)
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holy moly, if you want to start off your 2021 with a gripping read, then look no further folks!

Dean is moving away from his previous form of storytelling and it's a brave and daring move and one that has paid off in spades.

In the Last Thing to Burn we meet 'Jane'. Jane isn't actually her real name (her real name being Thanh Dao). She has been living with her 'husband' Lenn on his farm for 7 years. Thanh Dao and her sister Kym-Ly were sold on making themselves a life in the UK if they left their
Ken Fredette
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really hate anything to do with women who have been harmed in any way, yet that's what Will Dean did in his latest book The Last Thing to Burn The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean . It set in England on a farm and Thanh Dao is held against her wishes by Lenn. She was brought to England with her sister Kim-Ly from Vietnam illegally. She goes though several attempts to escape and is severely mistreated as a punishment. Unknowingly she has a child with Lenn and this now posses a problem. Then a woman, Cynthia, comes to the farm ...more
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
One thing that i absolutely adored about The Last Thing To Burn was the I teeth grittingly toxicity between the characters. Early on we see that there is one shout – at – book worthy antagonist and a must protect fragile protagonist. Bit by bit we see Lenn chipping away at his wife Jane’s identity in manipulative and controlling ways. Through these acts we become to understand that identity isn’t always just who we are but the things that constantly remind us of who we are. As this torture conti ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books-read
I’ve read and enjoyed all Will Dean’s previous books but when I started to read this one, I was initially a bit taken back, as it wasn’t what I was used to or expecting but wow! I’m glad I stuck with it. What a book! I felt so many emotions reading this book, as I got further into it I couldn’t read fast enough to get to the end and my pulse was physically racing.. This book is very dark, intense and atmospheric. It is so well written and seriously it is so good and definitely a recommended read ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lenn wants to keep his wife, Jane, trapped in their little farmhouse. Jane is not actually her name and she is trapped, scared and in pain. She can’t leave him for the fear of what will happen to her sister Kim-Ly. Jane is in her own personal Hell. Lenn watches Jane and punishing her for every little step out of line she takes but soon Jane plans her escape but will she be strong enough to go through with it?
Wow, this is an intense read. Reminiscent of Room and Dear Child, it’s gripping and pai
C.L. Taylor
Sensational. Claustrophobic, compulsive, and almost unbearably tense it's a heart-in-mouth read that's packed with suspense. Readers will be saying 'just one more page' all the way from the gripping beginning to the heart-stopping end.
Alison Richardson
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Known as Jane, but that is not her real name, she is being kept captive by her husband, her every move is watched and she must cater for his every need. Any discretion is punished and no one knows she is missing. The house where she is being kept is remote, her ankle is badly injured and there seems to be no escape from this horrific situation.
Things change when a new distant neIghbour knocks at the door but escape is still elusive.
I found the hopelessness of the story rather drawn out and depre
Louise Beech
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A devastatingly beautiful and powerful novel that is so much more than a thriller, though yes, it is this, the kind that has you glued to the page, having to read just one more... (I read it in two sittings.) The language is what sets it apart, as with Dean's previous books. He has this gift for keeping it simple and yet it is deviously layered too. The setting is claustrophobic, the characters pulse off the page, and it's dark, dark, dark. Yet hopeful too. Anyway, it is excellent, and I strongl ...more
Douglas Osler
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a difficult book to come to a view about. It deals with an important issue which is certainly not entirely fictional. A young woman from Vietnam came to this country with her sister and others illegally and hoping for a better life. Her family paid up in all the usual ways but as ever promises were not kept. Thanh Dao is sold to a farmer who tortured and abuses her. He monitors her every movement on cameras and punishes any disobedience. Then things change in her life in a number of ways ...more
Sally Boocock
Jun 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This has to be one of the saddest books I have ever read but in these times of people trafficking and refugees used as cheap labour it is very relevant to these times. My heart bled for Jane( not her name) and what she experienced through the unbelievable behaviour of an awful warped man. I can't say it was an enjoyable read because of the content but once started I couldn't put it down.
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Nicely written and intriguing so it had lots of potential. But ultimately goes nowhere so frustrating non event at conclusion
Stuart Cummins
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Will Dean’s “The Last Thing to Burn”, quite frankly, is phenomenal. Painfully brutal, distressingly tense and viscerally affecting. This will take 2021 by storm.

Lenn is a farmer who lives in a small, rugged farmhouse with his wife Jane. But Lenn and Jane aren’t really married. In fact, Jane isn’t even her real name... Kept against her will, her every move monitored and terrorised when she puts a foot wrong, Jane fears she will never escape Lenn. All and knows is that she must do all she can to g
Michelle Ryles
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: galleys-read
I've heard nothing but good things about Will Dean books, namely the Tuva Moodyson series, so when I saw that his new book was a standalone thriller I decided that the time was right to see what all the fuss was about. The Last Thing to Burn is a hard-hitting book dealing with human trafficking so it's not easy to read at times but oh my word, it's absolutely brilliant.

Will Dean really manages to portray Thanh Dao's every emotion as we read about her being held captive by farmer Lenn. I refuse t
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-netgalley
When Thang Dao and her sister Kim Ly came to the United Kingdom illegally, it was with hope. A better life, more opportunities, and being able to send money to their parents in Vietnam. It does not go as planned, and The Last Thing To Burn tells a horrific tale, of human trafficking and sexual slavery.
Lenn is a farmer who has made Thang Dao, who he calls Jane, his prisoner, and his wife. She cooks, she cleans and is forced to share his bed, night after agonizing night. She has tried to escape, b
Lu Etchells
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, netgalley
The Review
This story is told from the point of view of “Jane”, a woman held captive by her abusive husband, on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Originally from Vietnam, Thanh and her sister Kim-Ly, came to the UK in search of a better life, but, as is all too familiar, the people they relied on to help them, had their own agendas and instead, they were sold in to slavery.

As we learn about Thanh’s life now, we get to discover what her life was like before, and what has happened to her since she f
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Date reviewed: October 24, 2020

When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today.

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the aut
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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 compulsiv ...more

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