Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech ~ Stirring up secrets can be deadly… #Contemporary #Psychological @LouiseWriter

Author: Louise Beech

Published: April 2019 by Orenda Books

Category: Psychological, Contemporary Fiction, Book Review


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.

I’ve read so many positive reviews and praise for Louise Beech’s writing that I have several of her, yet unread, books on my shelves. Call Me Star Girl is my first experience and I have to say the praise wasn’t exaggerated. The story exudes tension and atmosphere, with subtle twists and sudden surprises heightening the feelings of uncertainty and suspense.

The setting is a deserted, except for one presenter, radio station late at night, adding to the already pervading mood. Stella McKeever has made up her mind this will be her last ever radio show and she wants to make it memorable by asking the listeners to share their secrets. In return Stella will share her own.

Running through the narrative is the unsolved murder, in a nearby alley, of a young, pregnant woman, Victoria Valbon. And who was the unknown man who keeps calling Stella, insisting he knows who killed Victoria and has proof. Then there is the mystery of someone unknown leaving a book for Stella in the foyer of the radio station. The book was written by Harland Grey, a convicted murderer who killed a girl on camera during the making of a movie.

What did it mean? Who the hell had left it there? Why?

Stella, this will tell you everything.

Presenters often receive weird things in the post, but someone had been in the building and delivered this by hand. Tonight. How had they got in? I hadn’t heard the door slam. You need a code to enter the building.Maybe it was just one of the other presenters messing around. But why would they?

The lights buzzed and flickered. I held my breathWhat was everything? Exhaled when they settled. I would not be spooked by a trickster.

The story skips backwards and forwards with the alternating perspectives of Stella and her mother. We learn of Stella’s backstory including the abandonment by, and subsequent reappearance of, her mother, the star shaped perfume bottle she carries everywhere and about her boyfriend Tom, and the games he likes to play. Each chapter reveals a little more about the characters and their personalities, reinforcing how childhood experiences can breed a deep vulnerability and cement patterns of behaviour. 

Call Me Star Girl is beautifully written and paced, with such a cleverly crafted, layered and haunting plot, becoming disturbingly darker as events unfold. The characters are complex, flawed, fascinating, not always likeable, but believable even as you’re not sure who to trust. The setting is perfect for the tone of the story. The thought of being alone in a dark and deserted building late at night surrounded by shadowed corners and unexplained noises gives me the creeps. An emotional and compelling story with such a curveball of an ending! 

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | Hive

About the Author

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. I Am Dust is out in 2020.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook  

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