Wednesday 30 March 2022

First Born by Will Dean BLOG TOUR #FirstBorn @willrdean @HodderBooks #BookReview @JennyPlatt90



Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin's last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.

Delivering the same intensity of pace and storytelling that made THE LAST THING TO BURN a word-of-mouth sensation, FIRST BORN will surprise, shock and enthral.

First Born by Will Dean is published on 14 April 2022 by Hodder & Stoughton. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour 

There is no doubt that the reader should prepare themselves for the unexpected in First Born, the second standalone thriller from Will Dean who is also author of the very successful Tuva Moodyson series. 

As in his previous novels, Dean has created a totally authentic setting here. He has such skill in transporting his readers to different locations and in First Born, New York City becomes a character itself. So very different to the chilly Swedish locations with Tuva and a drastic contrast to the wild, desolate fenlands which is the setting for his previous standalone; The Last Thing To Burn.

Twin siblings are fascinating. A crime writer's dream, I expect. There is nothing at all like the relationship between two people who once were part of the same egg, and this novel delves deep into the inner psyche of one of those people. 

Molly and Katie are identical twins. They are exactly the same. Except, they aren't. Molly is insular, paranoid, constantly checking for hidden dangers. Katie is outgoing, adventurous and full of life and excitement. We know this because Molly tells us in her sharp and sometimes smothering narrative.

Molly lives in a flat in London and Katie has recently taken up a sponsorship at a US university. This is the first time the twins have been apart, and for Molly, it is hard. She feels as though a part of her has been taken, she's lost and restless. A phone call from her parents, telling her that Katie is dead, possibly murdered shakes her to the core. She must now arrange a flight to the US, for Molly is determined that she will discover the truth. 

First Born is unlike anything I've read before. Molly's voice is so finely tuned, yet the reader is never quite sure about her. Do we assume that she is unreliable? Do we pick up on the things that she implies about her family? Who was Katie really, and how did she come to be killed?

Clever, complex, and I have to admit, at times, a little confusing. However, this does not detract from the sinister tone that runs throughout the story. As Molly becomes more familiar with the streets of New York, so does the reader, discovering sidewalks and diners and the people who live there - all beautifully created and adding depth to what is much more than a murder thriller. 

A novel to chill and to challenge, tightly plotted with characters who edge into your heart and pull a few strings and leave a mark there. First Born is absorbing and bold, another winner from this talented author. 

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. 

After studying law at the LSE, and working many varied jobs in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife. 

He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing and it's from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.

Twitter @willrdean

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