I adore Will’s writing and you’ll find my reviews of other of his books by clicking on the titles:
Published by Hodder and Stoughton on 11th May 2023, The Last Passenger is available for purchase through the links here.
The Last Passenger
A luxury cruise liner, abandoned with no crew, steaming into the mid-Atlantic.
And you are the only passenger left on board.
‘Astonishing’ IAN RANKIN
‘Expect not just the unexpected but strokes of genius’ IMRAN MAHMOOD
‘Thrilling and terrifying in equal measure with a brilliantly heart-stopping ending. So good!’ B.A. PARIS
Caz Ripley, a cafe owner from a small, ordinary town, boards the RMS Atlantica with her boyfriend Pete and a thousand fellow passengers destined for New York.
The next morning, she wakes to discover that everyone else on board has disappeared.
And that’s just the beginning. Caz must prepare for a crossing that will be anything but plain sailing …
With the drama of The Woman in Cabin 10 and the tension of And Then There Were None, The Last Passenger is a psychological thriller set aboard a cruise ship about a woman whose seemingly ordinary life is suddenly thrown dramatically off course. Will Dean is The Master of Intense Suspense and this novel is full of his trademark twists and turns.
My Review of The Last Passenger
Goodness me. The Last Passenger is a book and a half! Like a terrifying, dystopian Agatha Christie, The Last Passenger is a locked room mystery thriller that bends morality, shines a stark and unforgiving spotlight on today’s world and ensnares the reader in its actions.
Initially I wasn’t certain I was going to enjoy The Last Passenger, but Will Dean’s writing is utterly persuasive so that before I knew it I was entirely invested in the narrative. Once I grasped the concept I was completely hooked. And now I have a problem, because I can’t really comment on character, plot or themes as I would normally do because any one of those might contain a spoiler for other readers.
I can say that the short chapters, the variety of sentence structure, the contrast between Caz’s first person account and other third person narrative ensures layer upon layer of mesmerising tension. I can say that the escalation of events is terrifying and scarily plausible as they build on what happens now in our more prosaic lives so that The Last Passenger is immediate, realistic and dystopian in a terrifying blend. I can say that from an uncertain start for me, I thought The Last Passenger was totally fabulous and I simply could not set the book aside, but rather put ordinary life on hold to gulp it down with my heart thumping more the more I read this disturbing narrative.
The ship setting is inspired, as the veneer of luxury and privilege is stripped back to reveal a reality that leaves the reader’s mind reeling. Caz’s experiences on board illustrate the way her past family life affects her, with an immediacy of the need to survive on the ship so that through her the reader contemplates so many aspects of modern life and the way in which we have, to a scary extent, lost a grasp of reality and humanity. The Last Passenger is completely entertaining and gripping as a story, but even more it is a thought-provoking and terrifying contemplation of humanity that resonates long after the book is finished.
I’m aware that I haven’t really reviewed The Last Passenger at all. Blame Will Dean’s manipulative, sublime and completely engrossing writing for that. I really don’t want to spoil the book for other readers. So, here’s my overarching comment: The Last Passenger is utterly brilliant. Buy it!
About Will Dean
Will Dean lives in the middle of a vast elk forest in Sweden, where the Tuva Moodyson novels are set. He grew up in the East Midlands. After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden and built a wooden house in a boggy clearing, where he lives with his wife and son, and it’s from this base that he reads and writes.
Will Dean is the author of Dark Pines, Red Snow, Black River and Bad Apples in the Tuva Moodyson series. His debut novel in the series, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball’s Book Club and shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize. The second, Red Snow, won Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2020, as was his third novel, Black River. The series is in development for television. Will is also the author of two stand-alone novels, The Last Thing to Burn, shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022, and First Born, both published by Hodder.
Will Dean posts regularly about reading and writing on YouTube and you can find him on Twitter @willrdean, Instagram and Facebook.
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3 thoughts on “The Last Passenger by Will Dean”
I don’t read many thrillers but beginning to think I should be trying Will Dean’s work!
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Yes, you should! 😂
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I’d been wondering about this one. Thanks.
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