I Am Dust by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #Review #IAmDust

Published by Orenda Books on 16th April 2020. I read my copy in Ebook format that I purchased. 

A haunted theatre

A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

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?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?
Not all the 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 has been watching…

My Thoughts:

I have never made a secret about the fact that Louise Beech is one of my favourite writers. She writes with a sublime originality and refuses to be pigeon-holed. Her novels defy boundaries and genres and she has a spectacular ability to make the reader feel that she is just sitting across the room telling the story and including the reader in the journey. I have reviewed some of the authors other books and you can read my reviews of those by clicking the titles; How To Be Brave, The Mountain in My Shoe, Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost.    

I Am Dust is a story of the supernatural and an ode to all things theatre. Part thriller and part play, this was a cleverly told story that keeps the reader on their toes never knowing what was quite real and what was imagined for the stage. The authors knowlege of theatre really comes into its own in creating a realistic and absorbing setting. 

I am Dust is set across two timelines twenty years apart. The musical Dust is having a revival for the first time. The events of twenty years ago are still remembered after the apparent murder of the leading actress. Chloe a theatre usher remembers seeing the play as a little girl and is beyond excited that it is coming back although strange happenings are afoot and Chloe can't seem to shake the sense of unease and wonder what really did happen all those years ago.

The characters drive the story here. They are varied and all have many dimensions and flaws. I adored Chloe and her vulnerabilities and her strengths. Also Chester stood out who was another Usher at the theatre and seemed a calming influence to Chloe and most definitely brought a bit of fun to the story. 

Tension builds slowly throughout the story and a sense of darkness litters the pages. I raced to the end so I could reach the gripping final act. The theatre is the perfect setting for the story and provides a mysterious backdrop for the themes of teenage angst, obsession and jealousy and a love of the theatre. 

This book is superb in every way, containing a little bit of magic and written by an author that sparkles. 

About the Author: 

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a GuardianReaders’ 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 Lostwas 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.

Find out more: or Twitter: @LouiseWriter

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