Blog Tour – First Born by Will Dean 

Today I have a review as part of the blog tour for Will Dean’s latest novel, First Born, which was published on the 14th April. I was very excited to have the opportunity to take part in this blog tour for a couple of reasons. The main one being this is actually the fourth book by Will Dean I have read and enjoyed (I have also read The Last Thing To Burn, along with Dark Pines and Red Snow, from the Tuva Moodyson series) The other reason is that I am always extra excited to read books by authors that are local to me, and whilst Will Dean is now living in a forest in Sweden, he grew up in the East Midlands. And indeed, my home city of Nottingham gets a mention in this latest novel, as Nottinghamshire is the home of the family torn apart by the dark events that take place across the pond… 

One of the things that drew me to this particular story was that it was about twins, and I have always been interested to hear stories about twins and the special connection that they share, the way that they are in sync with one another’s emotions, sharing in their joy and pain. And this is certainly the case for sisters Molly and Katie Raven, who despite having different approaches to life, are in regular contact. This contrast in characters was something that intrigued me from the start, and helps explore the dynamics of their relationship, and the strength of the bond they have despite their differences. Whilst Katie is more spontaneous, moving to New York a year previously, Molly is less keen on travelling, instead preferring a quieter life, and one that is meticulously structured. However, all that changes when Molly hears that her sister has died suddenly, resulting in the risk averse sibling having to brave a trip to the US to be reunited with her family, and to hopefully find the truth about what really happened to Katie. 

First Born was a story which had me hooked from the start, with its promise of mystery and the hope of unravelling the dark truth behind this family tragedy, alongside seeing Molly adapt to unfamiliar territory at a time when she is grieving for the person she loves the most. And as cliché as it feels to say, First Born is certainly a page turner, and I found that the story was perfectly paced to keep the reader interested throughout. It was also a story that kept me guessing, and there were certainly a couple of moments along the way that took me by surprise, owing to the way in which Dean has meticulously plotted the chilling events that transpire. 

As I found myself immersed in the streets of New York this novel had me hooked and the way it was plotted meant that it had a definite ‘just one more chapter’ feel to it. There is plenty of intrigue along the way, as it explores the bonds between friends, lovers, sisters and their parents, both the bonds that are visible to the world, and those that would rather stay hidden, with secrets simmering beneath the surface. And tangled within this web of deceit are the Raven sisters, and the tragedy that tears them apart for good. This is an immensely readable thriller, which gets to the heart of a family in turmoil, in addition to exploring themes of sibling love, loneliness and identity, as we witness a family coming to terms with a loss inflicted in such extraordinary circumstances, and leaves us wondering what the future may hold…

First Born was published on 14th April 2022 by Hodder and Stoughton. With thanks to Jenny Platt at Hodder for providing a proof copy to review as part of the blog tour. The other blogs on the tour are featured below: 

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