It’s always a thrill to receive an early reading copy of a book. It’s especially thrilling when it is written by an author that never fails to excite, interest and sweep you away in the pages of her novel. Louise Beech is one such author and so you can imagine how delighted I was to receive an early proof of I Am Dust just before Christmas. I could have devoured it in one sitting but I wanted to take my time to enjoy her beautiful writing and as always she does not disappoint. I love the fact that each and every book Louise has written seems to creep into another genre but at the core of it all sits a brilliant story with engaging characters that will stay with you long after the final page has been turned.
When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…
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?
Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?
Not all drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.
And Chloe is watching…
So this is the first novel I finished reading in 2020. The whole premise was exciting to me and I couldn’t wait to read it. Sometimes, no matter how high your tbr pile, a book refuses to sit quietly and wait it’s turn. It whispers to you. ‘Read me, read me now,’ until you succumb to the call and begin to read. I Am Dust did that to me and I couldn’t resist it’s call. This has proved a perfect start to 2020 and most definitely a hard act to follow.
Unnerving, scary, creepy and heartbreakingly sad, this atmospheric ghost story blew me away. Beautifully written, as always, with characters that reach right out of the pages and with who you feel a strong sense of connection. Good and bad you can’t help but feel drawn to them and their stories. Louise writes from the heart and sweeps you up within the arms of the story until finally releasing you after the last page. There is always a sense of loss whenever I reach the end of one of Louise’s novels. I hate to say goodbye to the characters, so brilliantly does she pull me in to their stories.
I Am Dust is a brilliantly atmospheric novel. The settings alone are perfect for the spooky suspense she invokes but along with the ethereal quality of the story, the ghosts that visit and the lines between this world and the next all come together to create something very special. A ghost story entwined with a murder mystery, who-dunnit combined with a tale of unrequited love, deceit and jealousy – quite frankly all the ingredients for a wonderful read that will pull at your heartstrings. I was a teenager in the 80’s where there was also a fascination (and fear) of ouija boards. They felt dangerous and something that shouldn’t be played around with and this evoked all those feelings.
No matter what the subject matter Louise’s novels are incredibly moving, I especially love the way she looks deep into the relationships between women in her novels: lovers, mothers and daughters, friends and enemies. Our closest confident could be our greatest danger. Yet she also shows great tenderness within each of these relationships.
I Am Dust will be published by Orenda Books in eBook on 16th of February and then in paperback on April 16th. Yet another treasure for my bookshelves and one I wholeheartedly recommend.
Thank you so much Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy.
You can follow Louise Beech on Twitter at @LouiseWriter