Page Count 368
Publication date April 2022
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
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.
Molly is annoying. My first and strongest reaction is to the main character of First Born. Told in first-person present tense from Molly’s perspective, we spend the first few chapters in a claustrophobic spiral of anxiety and extreme paranoia that effectively builds tension at a rapid pace- a classic Will Dean atmosphere.
Twin sister Katie, the only member of the Raven family that appears to have had a spine, is dead. Now Molly must overcome her fear of all things- from exploding phone chargers to tap water- and join her parents in New York. What happened to Katie? How did she really make it in New York?
Having visited NYC previously I thought Dean’s descriptions were perfect. You can easily picture every scene, every store, every lamdmark. For me this served to add stability to what originated as a slow burning, logical story of a grieving family.
Until the mid plot reveal. BANG.
I have never been so blindsided! People will always say they saw it coming, I had NO idea.
The plot is a little outrageous, the stereotypes are clear and not everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow, but it doesn’t need to be- the real focus of First Born is the twins themselves, their relationship and their views of one another.
I found this title to be a little less dark than Will Dean’s previous work. There wasn’t the squicky feeling in the stomach I’d come to expect from his writing but I was quite happy about that. Dean has successfully created an insidious thriller from the perspective of women with none of the recognised male- author faux pas. I enjoyed this book and would recommend.