Today it is my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for The Last Stage by Louise Voss. A big thank you to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Orenda Books for providing an advance copy for review. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book as soon as we’ve taken a look at what it’s all about:
About the Book
At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.
When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.
And this is only the beginning…
A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Last Stage is also a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Google Play | Apple Books
When I read The Old You by Louise Voss last year, it was the first of her books that I’d read. I’ve never hidden the fact that after graduating with a degree in Literature, I picked up very few books for a period of nearly seventeen years, and so a lot of books, and authors simply passed me by, Ms Voss included. I’ve been playing catch up ever since, but when Louise Voss joined my favourite publisher, Orenda Books, I knew that the book was going to be elevated up my very high TBR pile. I read it. I loved it. One of my top reads of 2018 in fact, so when I heard about The Last Stage I was very excited.
So just what did I find when I finally tucked into the book? Well, this is the story of Meredith, a middle aged single woman who currently works as the manager of a gift shop for a beautiful stately home. This isn’t the whole story of Meredith’s life, and from very early on in the book you get a picture of the woman she was before, and the fact that she is nursing a very big secret, one from a time long before, and the real reason she is now living such a sedate life. After hearing from a name from her past, Meredith is sent into a kind of panic, one which drips with foreboding and the promise, for the reader, that her idyllic life is about to take a very sinister turn.
Although this book has a very different feel to The Old You, the sense of mystery and suspense still oozes from every page, and from the very beginning I was completely intrigued by Meredith and her story, desperate to know just what she was hiding and why someone appeared to be targeting her in a campaign which could only be designed to completely unnerve her. Far from the relative spinster she had become, Meredith used to be a top rock star, on the verge of a major deal when she dropped from the limelight, but as to why … Well it takes us a while to get to the full story, and even though it is obvious something happened, it is not until quite far into the book that the full extent of her past is revealed, and in quite shocking, gut wrenching style.
Louise Voss has a real talent for putting the reader in the heart of the action, creating believable settings that you can almost see, smell and touch. This is just as true with The Last Stage, and whether the scene was set in Meredith’s cottage, the old Ice House within the estate grounds, or her brother, Pete’s, barge, I had a very clear picture in my mind of where the characters were at all time. Speaking of characters, this is one of Ms Voss’s greatest achievements and she manages to create such varied, relatable, if not always likeable characters. They are the ones that bring you into the story and that is essential in this book as without a character you become invested in, it would be far easier to walk away than it actually is.
For me, Meredith is one such character who is beautifully flawed and multi faceted. If we take present day Meredith, she is quite calm, perhaps a little repressed (with good reason) and whilst not necessarily the most exciting character, I did like her and I wanted to know why she was being stalked. However, some of the chapters that interspersed the main action, were set in Meredith’s past, detailing the journey she went on from naive, if somewhat bolshy schoolgirl, to rock chick. That was a Meredith that I wasn’t so fond of. Perhaps you could say she was blinded by love, that was certainly true, but she certainly didn’t make it easy to like her. Not that this justifies the events that ultimately ended her career before it really began, nor did it make it less shocking, and those scenes are quite hard to read.
This book explores a number of key themes – young love, betrayal and revenge – and how far people are willing to move beyond the line of morality for the person they love. From murder to stalking, and from family to the potentially devastating effects of obsession, the is an underlying sense of threat which is woven through the whole book, sometimes overt and sometimes implied, but which keeps you on the edge of your seat right up to the tension filled, highly dramatic conclusion. Another cracking read, and fans of the author will be left very satisfied.
About the Author
Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had eleven novels published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number one bestseller in eBook. Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at http://www.thewritingcoach.co.uk. She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime- writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.
Follow the tour: