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Will Dean: ‘The whole book came to me between midnight and 6am’

The Tuva Moodyson author on his tense new thriller The Last Thing to Burn and why he has abandoned the UK for life in the Swedish woods

Appropriately enough for the author of one of the most horrifyingly compulsive thrillers you’ll read in 2021 – I stayed up until 2am to finish it, and then reread the ending in the morning because I’d read it so fast in my terror – Will Dean is talking to me from his cabin deep in the Swedish woods.

The Last Thing to Burn, out on 7 January, opens as Dean’s narrator, Thanh Dao, is trying to escape Lenn, the farmer who has kept her imprisoned in a grim charade of married life for years. As she sees his Land Rover approaching across the fenland fields, she knows she’s going to be punished for her disobedience. She has four possessions left, and he will burn one: “My ID card. My photo of my parents. My sister’s precious letters. My book. My, my, my mine. Not his. Mine.”

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