This week sees the launch of a new title by Louise Beech whose previous books have been fab and this one is too.
I'm delighted to be part of the blog tour for this super thriller and my review follows.
Call me Star Girl is a slightly new direction for Author Louise Beech whose wonderful books are full of heart and emotional punch. Star Girl is not lacking in these elements but it is much more of a psychological who-dunnit thriller.
Stella McKeever is the Star Girl of the title, even her name Stella means star and stars have played a big part in her life, from the star emblazoned vintage perfume bottle she has carried around all her life as a memento of her Mother who left 12 years ago when Stella was a child, to her job as a radio presenter and it's even her nickname used by her boyfriend Tom.
Most of the book takes place one evening at the radio station where Stella works. She is presenting her very last programme as she prepares to leave her job. She presents the late night show where regular listeners often phone in whilst she plays music and talks about different subjects and between songs her thoughts stray to the past and as she reminisces we get to know her character and her life, a past which has made her mistrustful of people and fearful of being dumped again, the little details of her home life.
The claustrophobic feeling of being alone in a silent workplace whilst the stars twinkle outside in the inky night sky which cocoons the place in darkness feels oppressive and made me nervously peer behind me if I heard a noise, it’s tense and yet quite comfortable as it is so familiar to Stella.
One subject has loomed very largely around the radio station recently – the recent murder of a young woman whose blood-soaked body was discovered in an alley very close to the Radio Station building.
As Stella entreats her listeners to caller her by phoning in and sharing their deepest secrets, it becomes apparent that she has plenty of secrets of her own. From the deepest hurt, she carries from being abandoned by her Mother, to the naughty and sometimes disturbing sex games she plays along with her partner Tom, her desperation to keep the man she adores from growing bored with her.
Tonight she is hoping that the caller who has been ringing and telling her he knows who killed the girl in the alley will call again and divulge what he actually knows. Will he reveal the killer or is he a liar who really doesn’t know what happened?
As the layers of deceit and secrets are peeled away I began to mistrust almost everyone in the book, someone is hiding something, but who can be fully trusted and who is hiding far more than they are letting on?
Secrets …. Stellas Mother Elizabeth who has recently, suddenly reappeared in her life, obviously has plenty of secrets. Stella has yet to really discover why she left and what kept her away for so long.
Her own father is part of a murky mystery, about to be disclosed in snippets.
Boyfriend Tom seems to have plenty to hide, is he the Mr Right Stella has waited so long for?
Fellow radio presenters Maeve and newsreader Stephen play a part in the unfolding mystery, there is taxi driver Bob and of course there is the mystery caller, could he be a threat to Stella, does he wish her harm and is she herself at risk, alone in a dark building with a still unrevealed murderer not yet caught.
The whole book is absorbing and intriguing, the characters are superbly written and the mystery is twisty and complex. I had to gallop through it as I needed to know just what the heck was going on and what I was heading towards. An enthralling story told with utter panache made this the perfect holiday read for me, with characters who remain on the periphery of my memory, taunting me with the secrets I didn’t guess ‘til the end.
My thanks go to Orendabooks for inviting me on the Blog Tour.
Tonight is the night for secrets…
Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …
What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the chilling Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To
Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The
Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her
previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were
widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on
Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most
Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the
Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica
Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize
twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her
job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play
was performed in 2012.