Published by Orenda Books
Ebook and paperback (18 April 2019)
Source: Copy for review provided by publisher
About the Book
Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…
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 fourteen 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 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…
Having now read (and reviewed here on the blog) all five of Louise Beech’s books, I don’t think there is anything that she cannot turn her author’s hand to.
Call Me Star Girl is her first foray into the psychological thriller genre and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Dark and atmospheric it really does make your spine tingle at times.
Most of the story is set in a radio studio where Stella is doing her last ever show. Stella does the late night slot and most of the time she is in the building on her own. This alone gave me the heebie jeebies let alone the noises and disturbances she hears from the empty building, especially given that a young girl was recently found murdered in a nearby alley. Who is the caller who keeps ringing to say he saw who killed her and why does he keep ringing Stella and not the police?
With chapters told from the perspective of Stella and her mother Elizabeth, this is more of a character driven story but one with a sinister undertone. Touching on abandonment issues and obsession, we see the real Stella, and not just the persona she puts on for her listeners. Her relationship with her boyfriend Tom is complex and it sometimes it seemed to me, a bit weird but hey, each to their own.
When I first started reading I wasn’t sure if I even liked Stella but as I learnt more of the history between her and Elizabeth, I had a clearer idea of why Stella behaves as she does. There were aspects of Stella’s backstory that were heartbreaking.
With excellent characterisation and a superbly unsettling plot, every twist and turn takes you ever closer to a dramatic and emotional finale. There were some parts that truly were a hand over the mouth in shock moment.
Call Me Star Girl is another winner from this very talented author. Bravo Louise Beech, you’ve written another cracker of a book!
My thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for the tour invitation and for the copy to review.
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 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.