Welcome to the nbmagazine.co.uk stop on the blog tour for The Last Stage by Louise Voss!

Here’s a little info 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…

And about author Louise Voss:

Louise Voss has been writing for the past eighteen years, with many twists and turns in her career. She started her publishing life with four novels for Transworld/Black Swan, the first of which, To Be Someone, was published in 2001 with its own CD soundtrack. This was followed by three more contemporary women’s fiction novels, Are You My Mother?, Lifesaver and Games People Play, until she switched to publishing thrillers with Mark Edwards.

She and Mark were the first British indie authors to reach No.1 on the Amazon charts with Catch Your Death, where they stayed for the month of June 2011, with their novel Killing Cupid also at No. 2. This led to a four-book deal with Harper Collins; then two books in the DI Lennon series, From the Cradle and The Blissfully Dead (Thomas & Mercer).

Her first solo thriller was The Venus Trap in 2015 and her second, a twisty tale of domestic noir, was out in May 2018: The Old You, published by @OrendaBooks.

Louise lives in southwest London and can be reached at @LouiseVoss1 on Twitter or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LouiseVossAuthor.

And here’s Gill Chedgey’s review of The Last Stage:

Look away now those of you who love to second guess a psychological thriller ‘cause I don’t think you will. I don’t even think you can! I don’t even think you’d want to, why spoil the thrill?! And yet… all the clues are there, so snugly and craftily nestling in amongst the bulk of the narrative. I was reminded briefly of Minette Walters, especially by one of the significant locations in the story.

This is a delicious exploration into the clandestine and the obsessional with a smattering of police procedural thrown in for good measure. It’s an onion story where layer by layer the truth is divulged to us in the form of the past first-person narrative of our ‘heroine’ Meredith Vincent. The rest of the  book is third-person narrative and the technique works very well here. Meredith’s exposition would be almost confessional if it wasn’t so chronologically detailed and thought provoking. For a while I thought there was too much detail and I was inwardly willing the writer to ‘get on with it’. But I realise now that it was my own impatience to find out ‘whodunnit’ and ‘howdidtheydoit’ that provoked such a response. The expansive detail is absolutely necessary for everything to make sense and slip into place so that by the end the reader is satisfied by all that has happened and the explanation of events.

It’s dark and uncompromising and there are some ‘nasty bits’, but I don’t do spoilers so you’re going to have to read it for yourselves! If you’re a fan of the genre I cannot see how you would be disappointed.

But for all that it’s a psychological thriller it’s a clever piece of work because you kind of have an almost ‘big house’ story, in the shape of Minstead House, an almost ‘rock chick’ story with the band Cohen, an almost LGBT story with some of the characters, an almost retro protest story with Greenham Common, but none dominate or offer anything to unbalance the main thrust of the thriller. It’s a competent piece of writing by an experienced writer who seems to understand what her readers want and, what’s more, gives it to them generously.

There’s a touch of poignancy as the story hinges on a misunderstanding with no real malice intended yet a whole chain of events spirals out of control from a misinterpretation causing the most devastating of occurrences that will affect many of the characters in this novel for a long time. Secrets are uncovered, friendships and relationships are tested.

Publishers Weekly assert that the book is ‘An expert piece of contrivance.’ yet it doesn’t read as contrived at all in my opinion. Retrospectively, I suppose you could argue, there’s some jigsaw piecing of action but the very fact that it’s so hard to second guess explodes the contrivance theory I think. But, best you read it for yourselves and decide!

Gill Chedgey 4*

The Last Stage by Louise Voss
Orenda Books 9781912374878 pbk Jul 2019