A taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller, reminiscent of Play Misty for Me … from the critically acclaimed author of Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost…
Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…
Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and the killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. She wants yours, and in exchange she will share some of hers. The ones she knows. But she doesn’t know everything.
Why has Stella’s mother, Elizabeth, finally returned fourteen years after leaving her with a neighbour? Is Stella’s new love, Tom, a man who likes to play games, exciting … or dangerous?
And who is the mysterious man calling the radio station to say he knows who killed Victoria? Tonight Stella’s final show may reveal the biggest secret of all…
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…
Firstly I would like to thank the author, the blog tour organiser and publisher for the ARC in return for an honest review.
Louise Beech is a rare thing among writers; she can write across many genres and does so which such ease that you are left wondering what she will turn her hand to next, but as a reader you’re always confident that it will be surprising, beautifully written and exquisitely emotional. Call me Star Girl is yet another triumph, played out over one long night that stretches into the dawn, it’s about the death of a girl and the Stella a radio host, whose troubled past threatens to tear the world around her apart.
It’s hard to write a review about a book you loved, so worried are you that you will fail to do it justice. So here goes, why did I love Call Me Star Girl?
The luxury of spending time with a myriad of characters that are so complex and nuanced that spending time with them is an all consuming affair. Stella who is deeply troubled worms her way under your skin, so much so, that moving onto a new book, while she is still troubling your thoughts, seems like a betrayal in some way. Why she affected me so much is simple, abandoned as a young girl, caught up in a love affair that leaves you feeling uncomfortable, I wanted to save her, create a world where she could flourish. But only the writer can control her journey and you sail along with Stella and Beech, trusting them both not to destroy your hopes for an ending you can cope with. Her pain, her simple need to always be loved, reminds me of a young girl now a mother herself, whose need to be always loved, never again abandoned, could only in her head be ensured by having a child herself. Beech captures that exquisite and painful need, the ache of abandonment that seems to seep deep into a person’s very epicentre, that never quite goes away and wraps it up in the character of Stella, creating a damaged women, who ability to function is always caught up in the past she can never quite escape. She is a character I felt consumed by as a reader and one that will trouble me for quite some time.
As for the story itself, it’s not a fast thriller, it’s like a spool of thread, that slowly unwinds, revealing the story layer by layer, with the tension building, creating a gentle feeling of unease and maturing into chest thumping pressure. Beech through the voice of Stella and her mother unhurriedly reveals the dark secrets that bind this mother and daughter and which threaten their present, which I loved, because it allowed me to luxuriate in the story itself. I was put on edge slowly and as the feelings of panic built up for these characters, so they did it for me to. I turned each page never knowing where the twists were going to come. It all felt very claustrophobic on times, as the night progresses so does the feeling that the secrets all the main characters are keeping will no longer be able to be contained. I loved the way that the chapter’s alternative between present events and the past, building up a picture of what led the characters to where they are now and helps us to understand why they are projected head first into a night where secrets lead to Stella demanding answers to a life marred by loss and abandonment. Beech for me is saying that all actions have consequences and for some the devastation they wreak can never be contained.
This is another superb read from the author and proves as a writer she should never be pigeon holed into one genre. Thankfully she has found a publisher that celebrates this and never seeks to limit its authors to the same style of story.
About the author
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Maria in the Moon was compared to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and widely reviewed. All three books have been number one on Kindle, Audible and Kobo in USA/UK/AU. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. 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 and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.
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