Unrelentingly tense and heart-poundingly atmospheric, The Last Thing to Burnis a chilling and thought-provoking exploration of human survival and life on the fringes of society.
He is not 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 seems impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight.
Now she is watching him, and waiting…
Thank you so much Jenny Platt at Hodder for organsing this blogtour, inviting me to be involved and providing me with a stunning proof copy of the book. I am not joking when I tell you I could not put this book down, devoured over a couple of days, I am ashamed to say I wasn’t that fussed to have todays walk cancelled so that I could finish my book!
This is a sinister story, ‘Jane’ is trafficked into the UK on the promise of work, it all seemed above board, the ‘agent’ seemed legit, he even met her parents. She and her sister knew there would be a debt to be paid, but not this, this was absolutely not what she had signed up to.
7 years in we meet ‘Jane’ living in fear, working to pay her and her sister’s debt, broken and isolated with her very identity eroding as her last personal possessions are destroyed as punishment.
This is a brutal story about human trafficking, modern slavery, exploitment. We hear the words and to varying degrees we know what this means, the people at the car wash, at the nail bar, what are their working arrangements, their living conditions, are they paid a fair wage and are they free to leave? This book then looks at the underbelly of those shady arrangements, the vulnerability of those who place their lives in the hands of others, believing a better life is to follow. When a person is themsleves sold as a commodity, illegaly in the UK and effectively non existent, no one knows they are missing because no one knew they were here. That is the life of ‘Jane’.
This book had me absolutely gripped, told in the first person voice of Jane her pain, fear and despair are tangible as she lives with her captor, a farmer called Leonard. A creepy character to say the least. The book is a thriller and it is a tense and entertaining read, however the issues it explores are current and thought provoking, the writing puts the reader alongside ‘Jane’ and I was absorbed in her situation, willing her to survive.
It is genuinely horrifying to think people live this way, but they do and fiction plays a significant role I think in raising awareness of issues that otherwise people may choose to ignore, turn a blind eye to or simply feel doesn’t affect them. This book specifically shows, how easy this type of crime is to commit and increasingly we do hear news of such scenarios, adults being held captive in appalling conditions subject to gross treatment
‘Marian Keyes describes this as, ‘Misery meets Room – a triumph’.
An incredible and important read, entertaining as fiction detailing a horrific reality. Highly, highly recommended by me.
About the Author
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands and had lived in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying Law at the LSE and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden where he built a house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest, and its from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. His debut novel, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball’s Book Club, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize and named a Daily Telegrah Book of the Year. The second Tuva Moodyson mystery, Red Snow, was published in January 2019 and won Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards, 2019. The Last Thing to Burn is his first standalone novel and his first book with Hodder.
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