Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech #blogtour @OrendaBooks @LouiseWriter

Today it’s my turn to review Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech. Many thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my review copy and my invite onto the tour.

About this 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…

What did I think…

I’ve been waiting so long to write my review of this amazing book that I can’t actually believe the day is now here…and I’ve got writers block! I must start by saying though that I began reading Call Me Star Girl the minute it arrived on my kindle and that’s quite a rarity for me! But I am always on alert when I’m waiting on Louise Beech’s next book so as soon as I had it in my possession I absolutely devoured it! This book is AMAZING but when I did finish it, I found it so hard to put into words just how I felt about it and why. And so here I am months later but I’m STILL struggling! This is what I wrote on Goodreads at the time-

“Review to follow but already my favourite book of 2019!”

But that review never happened! Call Me Star Girl is still my most favourite book of the year and it will take a lot to knock it off that top spot so I will now have to try and explain why!

2 hours later…

I’M STILL STRUGGLING!! Please can I just say Louise Beech is a bloody genius and you just have to read this book?!

No? Okay then here goes!!

After the beautifully told love story in The Lion Tamer Who Lost (which completely broke me!) Louise Beech turns her hand to a psychological thriller for her fifth book. Told in a dual narrative by Stella and the mother who abandoned her, we are slowly seduced by their stories of past mistakes and then intrigued by their present relationships. Stella is a late night radio DJ and tonight is her last show. But the secrets she’s asking for from her audience seem very tame compared to those Stella and those closest to her have been keeping themselves.

I had no idea what Louise was building up to as her emotionally disturbing narrative continued. Who was the man calling the station saying he had evidence about a recently murdered girl? Why hasn’t Stella’s colleague turned up for work? And what in the name of hell was going on between Stella and her boyfriend Tom and the little “games” they were playing? I was so completely involved in the storyline that the shocks and twists that arrived without warning left me breathless with the sheer amount of emotional tension that was being dealt out!

The atmospheric setting of the radio studio late at night added an unexpectedly eerie undercurrent to the narrative. And that combined with the knowledge that there was a murderer on the loose made this a very creepy story indeed! But for me, even though this is a psychological thriller, it was the emotional journey that Louise Beech took me on that hooked me until the very last word. This woman could probably rewrite the menu from my local Chinese takeaway and I would sob my heart out! She just knows the perfect words to evoke emotions in her readers and she had me crying buckets over one scene in particular. I honestly don’t know how she does it but it’s a wonderful gift to have been blessed with.

Call Me Star Girl is a compelling, disturbing but utterly brilliant book that became the ultimate obsession for me whilst I was reading it. I adored every single thing about this book and have now read it twice already and found it just as affecting second time around.

Very highly recommended by me (and apologies to Louise Beech and Karen Sullivan for not being able to find the words to do this wonderful book justice!)

Meet the author…

Louise’s short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her first play, Afloat, was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2012. She also wrote a ten-year newspaper column for the Hull Daily Mail. 

Her debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt, and The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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