Call Me Star Girl – Louise Beech

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…

——————

A cliché, I know, but I could not put this book down. I read it before work started when I should be preparing, during my lunch breaks when I could have been marking, but I simply could not tear myself away from Stella and her secrets. The book took me back to my teen years as I found the writing style reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk (a massive compliment!). It is dark; it’s edgy, at times uneasy, but always captivating, always pulling you into the next chapter.

The story itself is very Hitchcockian. It’s a slow burn but it’s tense and full of suspense. The characters are damaged, their flaws fully exposed to the reader. The story is told by Stella and her mother, at different times of their lives. The stories interlock well and never feel confused; they tell what needs to be told at exactly the right time.

The story mainly takes place in a radio station. The building feels claustrophobic, every (imagined) noise exacerbated by the cramped confines of the studio. The description of the studio phone lighting the room up blue gave me the creeps and really pulled me into the story.

The way the story played out took me by surprise, the revelations startling and so well written. It is a thought-provoking book, with a focus on trust and family, one which will stay with me for a long time.

Heaps of praise must go to Louise Beech. To go from writing The Lion Tamer Who Lost, a tragic love story, to Call Me Star Girl, a psychological behemoth of a book, really does show what a talented, unpredictable writer she is. Call me starry eyed!

I was privileged to have a part of my review on the back of one of the pre-publication editions!

Call Me Star Girl is out on 18th April 2019, published by Orenda Books. Huge thank you to Karen at Orenda for the ARC of this book and Anne Cater for having me on the blog tour!

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