Today I’m on the blog tour for Changeling, my first of this year and what a tour to start the year on. I’m thrilled to be reviewing this book today and have to give huge thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda books for having me on the tour.
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…
My Review: I read the second Six Stories book last year, you can find my review of Hydra here, and thought I loved that book I have to admit I thought this one was better. Having the joy of not working New Year’s Day, unlike last year, I decided that would be the perfect time to start this book, and as it turns out, finish it too as I read it in a day. Although this is the third book in the Six Stories collection they do not have to be read in any particular order, there is enough background at the beginning of this book for you to be able to read it without having read the other two first.
I’m not a fanciful person as a rule but this book is seriously creepy, not helped at all by my neighbour who started knocking on the wall while I was reading. As Alfie Marsden went missing when his dad stopped his car because he heard a knocking noise you can perhaps understand a little of why my neighbours odd noises were not helpful at all. As with Hydra this book is split into six podcasts with relevant information before and after each of them. This gives us snippets of the story of Alfie Marsden’s disappearance from the perspectives of those involved and those who knew him. It also gives us an insight into the failed development in the forest and why it failed. The story and background of Alfie and his family build through these snippets and podcasts and the mystery surrounding his disappearance seems just as unsolvable as it did thirty years earlier when it happened.
This story grabbed me from the first pages and didn’t let up. It’s not that it’s fast paced or packed full of action but it gets under your skin and you want to know who is going to be on the podcast next, what other information are we going to get, is the mystery of Alfie’s disappearance ever going to be solved. And then you reach the later pages and it just blows you away, or at least it did for me. I thought the story was heading in one direction and it did the biggest u-turn you could ever imagine and just sent me in a completely different, but entirely fitting direction and I ended the book staring at it like it just smacked me over the head because, metaphorically, that’s exactly what it did!
This is a stunning and mesmerising read from an author who is just getting better and better.
About 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.