I Am Dust by Louise Beech #BookReview #BlogTour

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, in a bewitching, beguiling and terrifyingly dark psychological thriller…

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…

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for I Am Dust today. Many thanks to Louise Beech, Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for sending me an advance copy of the novel.

Theatres seem to lend themselves to ghostly mysteries; perhaps because their walls have become permeated with the stories played out within - both on stage and the real-life dramas of the people who work and visit them. Dust is a fictional musical set in a fictional theatre but they - and the characters in the book -  are brought to life by Louise Beech's powerfully evocative writing.
Using a Ouija board is almost a rite of passage for many young people and for most it results in nothing more sinister than a few chills courtesy of over-active imaginations. However, there are stories of people who have been harmed by using them - some believe that opening a doorway into the spiritual world may contact demons intent on possession while others take a more prosaic view, warning instead that users risk being manipulated by others taking part. When Ryan persuades Jess and Chloe to try using one, he describes it as a game but the complicated dynamics between the three soon begin to cause trouble - and that's without the involvement of the supernatural elements...
The narrative switches seamlessly between 2005 and 2019, each focusing on Chloe who cuts a rather lonely figure in the past and present. Although she and Jess were inspired to take up acting in the youth theatre after being mesmerised by the initial run of Dust at the Dean Wilson theatre, she didn't end up on stage and instead is an usher, working behind the scenes at the place where she fell in love with the stage. The news that Dust is going to return after a twenty-year absence hits the headlines amidst a frenzy of differing opinions and wild speculation but it triggers something more unsettling for Chloe. As the book progresses, it becomes clear that she has forgotten much of what occurred in 2005  - although as her friend, Chester points out, perhaps it's more a case of her choosing not to remember.
Already beginning to be troubled by her memories, a face from Chloe's past becomes the catalyst to her opening up to what happened to the group when they were teenagers and there's a melancholic sense of foreboding to the story as we begin to discover what happened there and why they were warned to go their separate ways: YOU THREE NEVER BE UNDER ONE ROOF. Revelations about what happened to other people who used the Ouija board and the grim tragedy which ended the previous run of Dust envelops I Am Dust in a chilling darkness and the beautiful prose throughout ensures the atmospheric sense of place is evoked perfectly.
Louise Beech describes herself as a genre-fluid writer and it's true that each novel she writes is fresh and original but what never changes is her instinctive gift for capturing the very essence of what makes people behave the way they do. Her characters are imbued with an authentic warmth which makes them rise from the pages as complex, flawed and absolutely real individuals.
I am Dust is a spine-tingling mystery and yet it is also a poignant love story and a searing exploration of loneliness and heartbreak. Compassionate and wise; there is darkness in I Am Dust but there is light, too - this exquisitely bittersweet novel emphasises again what a wonderful writer Louise Beech is.

I Am Dust is published by Orenda Books, purchasing links can be found here but please try to support our independent bookstores whenever possible. Orenda Books will try to send out books on their behalf in they are not in stock. You can also support this fabulous independent publisher by buying the ebook directly from their ebookstore here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

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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  1. Thanks so much for this amazing blog tour support x


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