I Am Dust by Louise Beech ~ A Haunted Theatre, A Murdered Actress @LouiseWriter #Murder #Mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Louise Beech

Published: February 2020 by Orenda Books

Category: Psychological, Thriller, Murder, Mystery, Supernatural, Book Review


The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

I Am Dust is a story of two halves which are brought together seamlessly as the story evolves—the events of 2005 and the impact they have on the present day. During that summer three friends and aspiring actors played a dangerous game, experimenting with an Ouija board, while rehearsing for their school production of Macbeth.

Out of the three Ryan was the driving force filled with need for wealth, Chloe was wary of dabbling in the unknown and Jess went along just because she fancied Ryan. Regardless of her reluctance, Chloe gradually realised something extraordinary about herself. They thought they knew what they were doing. They thought they were in control. Neither was true and they got way more than they bargained for.

Over that summer, morbid curiosity, youthful bravado and teenage love had joined them on a dusty stage in a church.

Now Chloe is an usher at the Dean Wilson Theatre, those dark experiences from her teenage years long forgotten. The first show performed in the theatre was Dust, a musical starring Morgan Miller. During one of the early performances Morgan was murdered in her dressing room. The show was cancelled, the killer never caught. Dogged by that tragedy, the theatre never fully recovered and is said to be haunted by Morgan Miller. Now, twenty years later, Dust is to be revived—and strange things begin to happen to Chloe. Memories gradually surface from the traumatic events that became deeply buried in her subconscious. 


What the hell? What three? It’s just her.

But isn’t that what someone whispered on the radio earlier?


Again, a dark memory uncoils in her gut like a black ghost rising from a grave. When did she last see those words?


The present timeline focuses on Chloe, a finely drawn character, as she works as an usher in the theatre. Physically and mentally scarred, she has suffered from blackouts for as long as she can remember, and is far removed from her teenage self, lacking in self belief and her ability to be anything other than someone in the shadows. The fragilility of her emotional state is clear. 

Cloe’s friend and fellow usher Chester, brings humour and a lightening of tense atmosphere which offsets the darker elements. To add to the mix there’s greed, obsession, ambition, jealousy, all the angst that goes with unrequited love and the fact that getting what you believe is your heart’s desire doesn’t always bring happiness. 

I Am Dust has all the elements I love in a book—it’s a psychological murder mystery/thriller set in a theatre. The excitement and sense of being there amid theatre life, front of house and backstage, is palpable. There is a magical and supernatural theme running through what could be classed in part as a ghost story, although it’s much, much more than that, and the imagery is vivid. The way the narrative is written makes it seem plausible, if terrifying. 

It’s compelling, beautifully written and structured with a perfect balance between past and present, exuding atmosphere, tension and emotion, particularly in the final chapters. 

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository | Hive Books 

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  

2 thoughts on “I Am Dust by Louise Beech ~ A Haunted Theatre, A Murdered Actress @LouiseWriter #Murder #Mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

  1. Sounds great! I don’t mind a bit of supernatural if it’s proper ghostly sorta supernatural with ouija boards and stuff! 😱 I think I’ll stick this on my wishlist for when the spooky season comes round again… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

Thanks for visiting...feel free to share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.