Hi, friends! Today is my turn at a blog tour for “The Last Stage,” a mystery/thriller by Louise Voss. Thanks to Orenda Books for this opportunity.
“The Last Stage” by Louise Voss
Paperback, 300 pages
Slated for publication July 11, 2019, by Orenda Books
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 she lives incognito in a cottage on the grounds of Minstead House, an old stately home, whilst working in the gift shop. Her past is behind her and she enjoys her new life.
But a series of inexplicable and unsettling incidents have started to happen around her – broken china, vandalised gardens… And when a body is found in the gardens of Minstead House, Meredith realises that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is and who wants to destroy her…
A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Final Stage is a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.
One Year Later
The security camera’s lens had been poked out, and it had been twisted off its perch above the till, leaving it hanging limply, a useless appendage. But it was a while before Meredith noticed it, her horrified gaze being first drawn to the shelf of Minstead House-branded pottery, now at a forty-five-degree angle, its contents in a smashed pile on the shop floor. Plates, mugs, tea sets, each with its own delicate line-drawn silhouette of Minstead House, now all in a jumble of shards. Who would do this?
She scanned the rest of the shelves, taking a hasty mental inventory of the shop’s stock, but nothing actually seemed to be missing, not even the more expensive jewellery in the glass display case. No money had been taken. They always cashed up and put it in the safe when they closed the shop at night; the safe, hidden behind a painting, was still locked and untampered-with. So strange that there was no sign of a break-in. Someone must have had access to the keys.
Footsteps coming up the stairs. The door handle slowly turning. A heavy black boot through the locked bedroom door. Warm urine tickling my thigh as the panel splinters and shatters and I wait, paralysed.
Stop. Focus. Call security.
‘George, it’s me, Meredith. The shop’s been broken into, but nothing seems to have been taken, just some stuff smashed and the security camera broken.’
‘Hey, love, don’t sound so upset … I’ll call the police and check the exterior CCTV.
Leonard didn’t mention anything, useless old bugger. Get the kettle on and I’ll be over in two minutes.’
Leonard was night security at the house, and was older than some of the antique furniture. He and George had a decade-long simmering feud as to which of them was the more efficient – or as everyone else had long ago decided, the least useless. Nobody could understand why the Earl kept them on. He must have promised them both jobs for life, preferring for his own reasons to update the security technology rather than the technicians themselves. Ralph, as estates manager, was always grumbling about both of them.
Meredith sat down behind the counter, still feeling shaken and a bit nauseous. She gulped in air, then picked up the internal phone again.
‘Hi, Ralph. Some shit’s broken into the shop and smashed it up a bit, but nothing seems to be missing. George is calling the police.’
‘What? Good grief. I’ll be right down,’ he said immediately, and she felt a tiny bit better. There were people who cared, about her and the shop. People she could ring and who would come, even though they didn’t know what had happened to her before.
There’d been nobody I could ring that night and nobody to come.
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 crimewriting collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.