Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Format: Paperback 300 pages
Release Date: 18 April 2019
Publisher: Orenda Books
Firstly I would like to thank Anne Cater and Karen at Orenda Books for inviting me to join in this Blog Tour and for the copy of this book provided to me for review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve 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…
As soon as I read the first line of the blurb ‘tonight is the night for secrets…’ I knew this was a book I wanted to read. Who doesn’t love a juicy secret?
The book is set over the course of one night from Stella McKeever’s point of view as we follow her whilst she works her last shift as a late night radio presenter. The chapters alternate between ‘Stella Now’ and ‘Stella Then’ with throwbacks to events that led up to Stella’s final evening. There are also chapters written from Stella’s mother Elizabeth.
Stella and her mother have a difficult relationship, compounded by the fact that Elizabeth deserted Stella when she was young and only resurfaced in Stella’s life some twelve years later. It was really heart breaking to read about the relationship from Stella and then Elizabeth’s perspective because Elizabeth didn’t experience the typical feelings of love and joy that you would expect a mother to have with their child.
At times I was so angry with Elizabeth for being so selfish and leaving and as the book progresses you see the profound impact that this has had on Stella throughout her life and the way she has formed emotional attachments. Although one of the main parts of the plot is who killed Victoria, the mother daughter relationship between Stella and Elizabeth for me personally was a huge part of this story and held just as much mystery as the crime does. These are two distinct plots which at the same time merge together to make the story what it is.
I really enjoyed how the story was largely set from the radio studio and the fact that it is a late night show with hardly any staff on site added to the eeriness of what it must be like to work those unsociable hours. There are so many details that all added together to give the book that ‘thriller’ aspect: the late night, the fact that a killer could still be on the loose, the man who knows, the unravelling of secrets, they all weave together to give that tension that a good thriller book requires.
I really enjoyed this book with it’s tense emotional aspects and whilst sometimes uncomfortable to read, it’s this uncomfortableness that ultimately made the book the great finished product this it is. I haven’t yet read any of this authors previous work but I understand that this is quite a departure from her usual genre of writing. From reading this book, I personally wouldn’t have been able to tell that this was the author’s first thriller novel, it seems like she’s been writing this genre for years.
About the Author
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.
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