Thursday, 24 January 2019

Changeling (Six Stories 3) by Matt Wesolowski

So my Matt Wesolowski binge comes to an end with my stop today on the tour for Changeling (Six Stories 3), and I am bereft. Sad that there's no more to read - for now, anyway. But I loved Changeling, and I want to thank the lovely Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and the ever awesome Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my review ebook.

The Blurb:

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…

Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is the latest in the critically acclaimed, international bestselling Six Stories series, written as six Serial-style podcasts, and which are being adapted for TV by a major US studio.

Changeling was published by Orenda Books as an ebook on 15th November 2018 and is released as a paperback today! Happy Publication Day Matt! You can purchase it from Waterstones or Amazon.

My Review:

Matt Wesolowski is a genius! Nothing else to say, really.

Seriously, I am running out of superlatives to describe this man's work. I read the three Six Stories books in order, one after the other. I thought Six Stories (review here) was phenomenal, then Hydra (review here) was even better and I think this is the best of the three. Awesome.

It's structured in the same way as the previous two books - Six episodes of a podcast, each featuring a different person linked in some way to the crime, the people involved or the location. This time, Scott King is looking into the disappearance of a young boy thirty years ago. This one touched me from the beginning, and I think it's because it was about a child. I was more invested in the outcome, knew what I wanted it to be and desperate to find out what happened. It kept me up very late (or maybe that should be early)!

Scott knows of the case, but for some reason has been reluctant to investigate. But he is intrigued by a letter he receives from someone claiming they were close to the case, and could maybe shed some light on it. The sender is an old lady, Anne, of whom Scott grows fond.

The location of the disappearance is the Wentshire Forest, and it's another creepy one. And yes, I checked Google again to see if it exists. It's dark and dense, and known as a UFO hotspot. Local folk tell takes of the Wentshire Witch, faery folk and strange sightings and noises.

Now if you have been following my reviews over the last couple of days, you'll know I was seriously spooked by the first two books. Well, this tops them both! It seems that everyone who goes near the forest has a scary story to tell, and we hear many of them from the different interviewees on the podcast. The stories from the construction site particularly sent a shiver down my spine.

I find the podcast presentation works brilliantly - it's totally immersive. I hear the voices, as though I was actually listening to them. The people are so real and often emotional, and this comes across perfectly in the writing. The interview with Sonia was hard to read in some places. And this story features another horror, not of a supernatural kind, but much more human and, sadly, all too common.

I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling it for you - and I really don't want to do that. It's a treat you want to discover for yourself. The writing is again exquisite, and I wanted to share a quick example, that wouldn't give anything away. I think I'm safe with this one:
'Veg peel was in piles of smiles all over the chopping boards... '
How lovely is that? And there are many more examples.

Changeling has a rising tension, and kept me turning the pages. I would have read it in one sitting had it been possible. It's original, dark, atmospheric, immersive, chilling and authentic. And that ending - mind blown! Phenomenal - yes, I know I've used it before... Matt is a huge talent, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next. In the meantime, go and read this series - you will not be disappointed!

The Author:

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK and US based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.


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