June 4th, 2021 by Jane Turner
This review of Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski comes because I read (and loved!) and reviewed the latest in the Six Stores series: Deity.
Six Stories is the first in the series, published by Orenda Books in 2016. I read the Kindle version.
1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an Outward Bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure.
But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure.
In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.
I read the latest in the Six Stories series, Deity, in Feb 2021 and absolutely loved it. This is the first in the series, and I promised myself I’d check them out.
In this book, Scott King is just starting his podcasts and he’s got a great mystery to cover. It’s got creepy mountains, superstition, rebellious teens, a misunderstood loner, disused mines, and strange visions. Visions seen by small groups at a time, that seem to match… Is there something on the Fell?
(For those not in the UK, a ‘fell’ is a high and barren landscape feature, such as a mountain or moor-covered hill. The term fell has its origin from an Old Norse word for the parts of mountains above the treeline. There are different regions of fells in the UK.)
Six Stories sets out the format for Matt Wesolowski’s other works in the series, and a brilliant format it is. Based on the structure of a six-part podcast, each section covers an interview with a key person involved. Each reveals their part, which join together to make a whole, and from which the reader draws their conclusion on events. Proof positive that everyone sees things differently.
But this first one has an added twist…
It took me a while to read this because I was dipping in and out while reading other things – but I had to put the other things down. And I’m really glad I did.
By reading the first book after the latest, I could clearly see how Mr Wesolowski’s writing has developed. I was (almost) equally captivated towards the end, though.
And yes, I got the other books as well – Hydra, Changeling and Beast – and reviews on those will follow. But, after reading two of the five Six Stories books, I can’t imagine that they won’t be brilliant as well…
So very glad to have found another ‘must always get’ 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 set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013.
Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio.
A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller. Changeling, the third book in the series, was published in 2019 and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. His fourth book, Beast, won the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Independent Voice Book of the Year award in 2020.
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