Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for the latest book in the Six Stories series. Many thanks to Anne Cater for having me on the tour and sending me a copy of the book to review.
Blurb: Continuing the unique, explosive Six Stories series, based around six podcasts comes a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention. Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…
In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East ’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.
Three young men, part of an alleged cult, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong ’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.
Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, and the tragic and chilling legend of the Ergarth Vampire…
My Review: Time to take another visit into a past crime with Scott King and his podcast. This time it’s the mysterious and strange death of a vlogger in the worst winter people had seen in years. The murder and people jailed for it has likely been forgotten by most people outside of the town of Ergarth but not those living in the town. It comes to Scott King’s attention when someone writes a question on the boundary wall of the murder victims home. Someone clearly wants this to be investigated again and feels that there is still information the be revealed.
As with the previous books in this series we have the usual podcast format. This one is slightly different in that we also have regular blog posts in each chapter, from the murder victim, which gives us insight into what she presented to the world. As I’m sure everyone knows, people are not always as they seem and this comes out about many of the people involved in this crime, as the story progresses. As with anything there are those directly involved and those on the fringes who have a different viewpoint of events.
What we get from these books is the voices of people who are usually overlooked or not listened to. The weaving together of these perspectives with the story from the vlogger herself and the press version of what happened is done in the usual slow build, climactic way that characterises these books and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I like the fact that we always start off with background and slowly dig deeper, it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle but one you see forming before your eyes and that, with the podcast style of story, is what I think makes these books work.
Aside from the story and the investigation we also have the town itself, deprived and forgotten in the North of the country above where the politicians map seems to stop. Few jobs and a growing reliance of social media for children and adults alike comes across really strongly and paints a picture that is probably repeated in many places across the UK today.
It’s interesting, as a blogger, reading books in which there are bloggers, vloggers or other people using social media a lot. I think reading this as a blogger gives a different perspective on social media use, either that or it’s because it didn’t exist when I was young. It’s addictive, I know it is, but it’s also interesting to see someone else shine a light on that addiction and show one person’s usage of it can affect so many other people.
These are always unique stories, the author comes up with something that no one else seems to think of and creates a book from it. I don’t know how he does but I hope he continues because I’m intrigued to see where this series takes us next.
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 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 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.