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 took 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.
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski is published by Orenda Books. Ebook 5 December 2016 and paperback 15 March 2017.
Anyone who follows this blog will know that I am a huge supporter of Orenda Books. A small, independent publisher that consistently publishes high-quality books. Books that are a little different, books that push the boundaries, and the reader.
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski is another of those books. Bang up to the minute, relevant and fresh, this is a book that knocks the breath out of the reader. Pulsating with life, with characters who are so incredibly realistic and a plot that is both haunting and terrifying.
I'm not familiar with Serial; the podcast that Six Stories is being compared to, but after reading Matt Wesolowski's novel I really want to catch up with it. For me, the telling of the story through the transcripts of podcasts is so refreshing. It feels a little voyeuristic, a little bit dangerous, as though the reader is actually there, in the story .... just as they really should be.
The story centres on Scarclaw Fell. In 1997 teenager Tom Jeffries disappeared from an outward bound centre, his body was discovered a year later. Ten years on in 2017, Scott King, a journalist famous for his pod cast series Six Stories has decided to investigate further. He interviews those who were closest to the original investigation and each interview becomes one of the six stories.
I could go on ... and on ... and on. I won't, because this is a book that I'd urge everyone to go out and buy, and if I tell you any more detail, you'll know far too much!
Six Stories is genre busting, it's a crime story, a psychological thriller, a coming-of-age story. I will appeal to readers of all ages and genders. Gripping, fascinating and wholly entertaining, Matt Wesolowski is a very welcome new voice in fiction. An absolute triumph and highly recommended from me.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.
Follow him on Twitter @ConcreteKraken