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First Born by Will Dean

First Born

by Will Dean

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Quick take

When her sister turns up dead across the ocean, a young woman is sent on an exhilarating search for answers.

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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.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of First Born.
First Born


I am half a person.

The darkest half. The half that isn’t quite 50 percent.

It’s time to check my fire alarm, so I stand up on my mattress and press the test button. It bleeps. I test it again because I read on Quora one time—a comment embedded deep inside a thread—that it’s possible to get a false positive.

Sometimes I feel like I am a false positive.

Not sometimes. For at least eighteen of the past twenty-two years. Since I was four years old. That’s when I realized two important things in life. First: there are no such things as identical twins. Second: the universe conspires to trip you up.

I test the alarm one more time and it bleeps.

I lie back down on the bed, and the four baby-safe pillows compress under the weight of my head. Pillows made with air holes. Breathable pillow slips. It’s rare that a full-grown adult woman suffocates from lying facedown in her sleep, but it is not impossible. There was a reported case in South Korea last year.

On my bedside table rests a knife with a three-inch blade. It’s legal because it does not lock and the blade is short, but I made sure to order the toughest knife available. It’s a balance of risks. Being incarcerated, even short-term, even just being questioned by the police, versus the risk of being violently attacked in my own home.

My entire existence is made up of balancing risks. KT, my twin, has never felt the need.

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Why I love it

When I started reading Will Dean’s latest thriller, First Born, it was a dull wintry day in my hometown in New Zealand, and I was hoping to be spirited away someplace more exciting. First Born sure delivered. While Molly Raven is rushing about investigating her identical twin sister Katie’s death, New York City pulsates in the background, so vibrant and alive that it felt like a character in its own right.

But this novel offers so much more than an enthralling setting. The premise gripped me—an identical twin arrives in Manhattan, where Katie has left behind a life more successful than Molly could ever have created for herself. Might she be tempted to step into that life? Identical twins swapping places formed the central theme of my own novel, and I was excited to see how this story would unfold. Molly discovers her sister’s life was not what it seemed and faces the unwelcome realization that Katie was keeping more than one secret. There’s the hot boyfriend who may have been cheating on Katie with her best friend. The creepy guy who lives downstairs. The sleazy college professor. The billionaire patron of her college fund. Everyone is a suspect.

I love putting myself in the hands of a master storyteller who knows how to pull the rug out from under me. As I turned the pages, confronted by one twist after another, I barely had time to draw a breath. Will Dean whips through his story at a breakneck pace, and it’s an exhilarating ride. My advice: Trust nobody, not even the author—least of all the author, who will deceive you in all the best possible ways.

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Member ratings (13,449)

  • Andrea G.

    Colorado Springs, CO

    Could not put this book down! The twists and turns in this book keep you guessing all the way to the end! I love suspense books, normally have an idea of the ending, not this book! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Cory S.

    Pittsburgh, PA

    OMG, The twists in this book! Although this plot was pretty far fetched, I thought it was a super fun read that kept me on my toes throughout. The last 20 pages or so were SO GOOD! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Syanda F.

    Indianapolis, IN

    I read this in one sitting (not sure that’s happened since “Gone “Girl”). It was fast-paced and not over-written. I didn’t see the twist coming because I never had a chance to even think about the end

  • 0a971ad2969e90b9ed3ba38eee0fe2e175e7a91b47e0935bf5ca869b 3.

    27f7b106b8e7f5d5a895c16a5f0c7d4ed7af4da9f7f07eac8b7f9747, OK

    I’m speechless. Seriously, one of the best thrillers I have ever read. Don’t read this book before bed- or you’ll be up all night trying to finish it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and didn’t want it to end

  • Jazmine O.

    Haverhill, MA

    This. Book. Is. INSANE! I read 2/3 in one day and that halfway twist was just wild! Even then, there was more than I could imagine and I couldn’t put it down. What a phenomenal story! 5 freaking ⭐️’s!

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