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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

First Born

ISBN: 978-1982156527

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: 07/05/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

From the acclaimed author of The Last Thing to Burn, a psychological thriller about the dark secrets that emerge when a woman’s twin sister is murdered, with his signature “intense, gripping, taut, terrifying, moving, and brilliant” (Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author) prose.

Sisters. Soulmates. Strangers.

Molly Raven lives a quiet, structured life in London, finding comfort in security and routine. Her identical twin Katie, living in New York, is the exact opposite: outgoing, spontaneous, and adventurous.

But when Molly hears that Katie has died, possibly murdered, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. As terrifying as it is, she knows she must travel across the ocean and find out what happened. But as she tracks her twin’s final movements, cracks begin to emerge, and she slowly realizes her sister was not who she thought she was and there’s a dangerous web of deceit surrounding the two of them.


“This taut, twisted novel kept me guessing until the very last page. Clever, compelling and utterly thrilling.”

-- Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Night She Disappeared

“Equal parts murder mystery and psychological thriller, Will Dean dazzles with his latest, FIRST BORN. A tense, taut plot that blows through unexpected twists and turns, you won’t be able to look away until the final, shattering page.”

-- Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST FLIGHT

“FIRST BORN is taut, suspenseful, chilling, and surprising. Hold onto your hats for the twists and turns in this deftly plotted page-turner that explores the power of family dynamics, sibling rivalry and broken ties.” -

- Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Long Weekend

"Great pace, great twists, a perfect psychological thriller!"

-- B.A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of THE THERAPIST

"Highly accomplished, dark and dazzling. FIRST BORN twists and deceives, and cements Will Dean’s status as a truly rare talent. Pure brilliance."

-- Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of WE BEGIN AT THE END

"Next-level stuff--original, imaginative, thrilling!"

-- Marian Keyes, internationally bestselling author of GROWN UPS

"A deceptively simple premise—a woman investigates her twin sister’s murder—evolves into a story that grows twistier, and more twisted, with each new chapter. I devoured FIRST BORN in a day and finished it with my mouth wide open, in shock at what Will Dean masterfully accomplished."

-- Megan Collins, author of THE FAMILY PLOT

My Review

Buckle Up— A wild roller coaster ride!

Will Dean's FIRST BORN is a mind-bending, cleverly plotted murder mystery/psychological crime thriller of twin sisters, two opposites—that will have your head spinning a 180. Nothing is as it appears. Trust no one with an unreliable narrator.

A woman investigates her twin sister’s murder—which evolves into a dark and twisted tale.

Meet identical twin sisters who grew up in Nottingham. Molly now lives in London, and Katie took a scholarship at Columbia University and moved to Manhattan.

Molly Raven, an introvert — lives a quiet, structured life in London, finding comfort in security and routine. She is cautious and plans everything to steer away from danger and carefully controls every situation. With high anxiety and fear, she calculates risk. Molly, the narrator, knows she and her sister are not alike at all.

Her identical twin, Katie Elizabeth Raven, now lives in New York and is the opposite of Molly. She is an extrovert, pretty, funny, outgoing, adventurous, carefree, and often reckless.

Katie is the first born. Three minutes before her sister, Molly. Often times they would pretend to be each other, as something twins do, whether to shock parents or friends.

As the book starts out, there has been a MURDER. Molly's parents call from NY with the devastating news that Katie has been murdered. They want her to come as quickly as possible.

After arrival in the states, the family meets with the NYPD and detective Martinez. Appears there are not a lot of answers. Of course, Molly needs more. What happened? A horrible tragedy.

Molly then takes it upon herself to begin doing her own sleuthing to learn more about her sister's life, friends, work, and anything that will lead her to the killer. Soon she learns her sister's life was not as it appeared from her best friend, her boyfriend, the landlady and her strange son, and the Columbia professor and the students. Also the scholarship.

Molly meets private detective Bogart de Luca and he tells her he is working for Columbia to ensure that nothing connected to Katie's case blows back on the university.

All this occurs in the first half of the book and you think this will be a regular murder mystery about a twin sister's tragic death.

Well, think again.

The second half of the book is fast-paced and mind-blowing. A shocking sinister dark TWISTY FLIP psychological crime thriller. This is where you need to hang on for your life.

FIRST BORN is a highly creative CHILLING novel of deceit and lies. A twin book on steroids! Where everything is smoke and mirrors.

Straightaway, the first thing I noticed about Dean's writing is his vivid settings. He draws you into his character's world. You see everything around them; their thoughts and innermost feelings. I look forward to reading more from this author and enjoyed his author's note.

I have read three TWIN thriller books recently, and FIRST BORN is by far the WILDEST! If you can suspend (your) disbelief, it's an enjoyable twisty tale.

A special thank you to #AtriaBooks and #NetGalley for an ARC to read, enjoy, and review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

About the Author

Photograph by Will Dean

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands of the United Kingdom and lived in nine villages before the age of eighteen. After studying law at the London School of Economics and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden where he built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the center 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 on ITV, shortlisted for the National Book Awards (UK), The Guardian’s Not the Booker prize, and was named a Telegraph book of the year. WEBSITE







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