Thursday 27 January 2022

Demon by Matt Wesolowski BLOG TOUR - @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks - Review by @eksorsist #SixStories


In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act.

And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, and King himself becomes a target of media scrutiny and the public’s ire, it becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun...

Demon by Matt Wesolowski is volume six in the #SixStories series and was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 20 January 2022.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I'm delighted to share this review, written by Martin Cater, as part of the Blog Tour today 

Review by Martin Cater 

As a now long-term firm fan of the Six Stories series, and guest reviewer of the last four, I am back once again, on this the sixth in the series. As with all the Six Stories, Demon can be read as a standalone, though I highly recommend them all.

As ever, my only aim is to try to encourage and entice you, the reader, to pick up something that is fresh and unique.  The Six Stories series is written in a clever ‘podcast’ style delivery by the enigmatic host, Scott King. The premise in each series is to ‘rake over’ cold cases in the quest for answers and new information. Each story centres around six interviews with people connected with the case, presenting the listener/reader with their own account. The challenge then is to make up your own mind, on what are generally quite thought-provoking subjects.

With Demon, Matt Wesolowski brings to the fore possibly the most challenging case of the entire series. Just what brings two young boys to commit the ultimate horror of killing another child. For those who clearly remember the case of James Bulger in the early 90’s, it is difficult not to be taken back, and remember all the media stories that surrounded those unspeakable events.

This would not be a series of Six Stories without a healthy sprinkling of darkness, folklore, and general down-right creepiness. As those familiar with previous stories will attest, this is an area where Matt Welsolowski excels. Demon is no exception, and centres around the small Yorkshire village of Ussalthwaite (think League of Gentlemen & Royston Vasey). A place where everyone knows everyone, with its share of ‘interesting’ residents. The village is backdropped by an area of foreboding moorland – Ussal Bank, which houses long since abandoned smelting kilns. Forbidden by parents, so naturally a draw to any inquisitive child. I’m sure most of us can remember somewhere similar from our childhood. The kilns are surrounded in myth, rituals and talk of the supernatural, they are also the scene of the awful crime.

Through the six accounts the reader is drawn into an intriguing set of circumstances, leaving you questioning if the terrible crime was just an evil act perpetrated by a ‘Demonic-Duo’ with no apparent reason or motive – or is there something entirely more sinister that has been infiltrating the village for years. ‘Something’ that drove these two boys to murder.

If you’re the sort of person that likes everything wrapped up in a nice, neat bow, then Matt Wesolowski does the opposite of that. Through Scott King, whose character has slowly grown throughout this series of books, and the people he interviews, you are challenged to look at things from a slightly more skewed angle. Sometimes things are not just ‘cut and dry’, and with Demon it feels that way, probably more than any of the previous cases.

Can we ever really know what drives seemingly ordinary people to carry out horrendous atrocities? Is it inherent?  Is it the result of a traumatic event? Is it a cry out for help? ……..or in some cases is there something out there, lurking, looking for the next vulnerable victim to do its bidding?

Demon is yet another captivating read in this excellent series of books, and the usual clever cross-over between crime fiction and horror, long may it last!?

Hopefully there will be a next time, but until then, this has been my fifth….

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- an 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 a 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, Changeling (2019), Beast (2020) And Deity (2021) soon followed suit.

Twitter @ConcreteKraken

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