What I love about Louise Beech’s books is that you are never quite sure what you are going to get. Each book is so different from the other. I Am Dust is a book partly about the mystery surrounding the murder of an actress on the opening night of a musical, Dust, but it is so much more.
Part of the story is set in the past when three friends who are fascinated by the death of Morgan Millar try to solve the murder by contacting the spirit world. These three friends are also acting in their school production of Macbeth with one, Chloe, being one of the three witches. The symbolism and powerfulness of three was something which came up time and again in the book.
In the present, Chloe works in the Dean Wilson theatre where the iconic musical Dust is going to be performed for the first time since the murder all those years ago. Naturally there is much speculation that the musical and the role of Esme Black is cursed. With Chloe hearing over and again the words she last heard when she was with her friends she begins to think that the theatre is haunted by the ghost of Morgan.
It was particularly poignant reading about a theatre now at a time when theatre doors are closed. I really enjoyed reading about all the aspects of working in a theatre, with Louise Beech using her own experience of this to bring the theatre setting to life. I must admit to a bit of a lump in my throat when I read about how a theatre never puts out all the lights, having just seen this recently on social media posts from many theatres.
I Am Dust was an eerie, unsettling read. There was rivalry, ambition and unrequited love all bound up in a story where it seems that history will be repeating itself and life imitates art. Beautifully written, as is always the case with Louise Beech’s books, I Am Dust is a captivating thriller which kept me guessing throughout, right up to the perfect and rather touching ending.
My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to take part in the tour. I Am Dust is available now as an ebook and in paperback. In these difficult days for everyone, I would urge you to order from your local bookshop if you have one and you can. If that is not possible, you will find various buying options on the Orenda website here: I Am Dust
From the back of the book
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…
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.
Follow Louise on Twitter @LouiseWriter and visit her website: louisebeech.co.uk.