Source: Review copy
Publication: 14th April 2022 from Hodder Books
My thanks to Hodder Books for an advance copy for review
THE LAST THING A TWIN EXPECTS IS TO BE ALONE …
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.
No fooling here. Will Dean’s stand-alone novel, First Born is a fast moving suspenseful crime thriller set in New York. Its focus is the Raven twins. Katie and Molly are monozygotic twins, derived from a single egg and thus are identical in looks, save for a scar on Katie’s forehead. Not so in temperament, though. Katie is the first born twin. Outgoing, vivacious, Katie or K.T. as Molly calls her is a risk taker. Molly is her opposite. She plans for every eventuality; calculates the risks and knows precisely how much safer it is to travel by boat than by plane. Her preparation for everyday journeys involves all sorts of precautions, including the use of everyday objects as potential protective weapons.
One year ago, in a bit of a shock move for Mollie, Katie left her home and her twin and took a scholarship to Columbia University in New York City. Now Katie has been found dead in her NYC apartment and Molly has to make the journey across the Atlantic to be with her parents who were visiting Molly.
It takes all her courage to get on to a plane and when she gets there, she makes it her business to find out what happened and why.
Will Dean’s pacing is perfect for this book. Slower as the shock of Katie’s death sets in and Molly makes her travel preparations then building in pace and excitement as Molly discovers more about Katie’s life and friends, building to a crescendo at the conclusion of the book.
This is entertaining, read-it-in-one-sitting fiction. The New York setting is beautifully done and captures the frenzy of this magnificent city.
Will Dean’s writing is, as ever, highly engaging and he delivers excellent twists and turns alongside some genuine surprises.
There’s one fairly sketchy character in this book I’d like to know more about and that makes me wonder if he will make another appearance?
Verdict: Hugely enjoyable, First Born is an engrossing twisty and suspenseful psychological thriller, perfect for holiday reading or just escaping into in these dark days.
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 it’s 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 GuardianNot the Booker prize and named a Daily Telegraph 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 was his first standalone novel and his first book with Hodder and First Born is his second.