Deity by Matt Wesolowski #bookreview April First Monday Crime @ConcreteKraken @1stMondayCrime @OrendaBooks

On my blog today, I’m sharing my review for Deity by Matt Wesolowski which I originally posted as part of the blog tour in February. Matt is appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday, 12th April 2021 alongside three more brilliant writers. So if you haven’t got any plans for tomorrow night at 19.30 p.m. be sure to check it out the First Monday Crime Facebook Page. I’ll have all the details about how you can access the event at the end of this post. But first let’s take a look about what Deity is about.

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A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

MY THOUGHTS

Matt Wesolowski is back with the latest episode in his Six Stories series featuring Scott King. The latest book in the series is Deity which is another utterly compelling read. I always look forward to reading Matt’s book, and this one didn’t disappoint. Once I had started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down, and the unique way Matt tells his stories, kept me turning the pages. I was eager to see what each new episode would reveal and what secrets were waiting to be uncovered.

There isn’t another writer out there who writes quite like Matt Wesolowski. If you are new to this series, the novels are told in the form of a podcast. The presenter is Scott King, who has recently made a name for himself after cracking several infamous cases. Over six weeks, Scott King examines a new case and presents new details and interviews with new witnesses in each episode.

This time around, Scott is examining pop star Zach Crystal’s case whose charred remains were discovered at his burnt-out mansion in Scotland. Zach was adored by millions around the world, but particularly by younger people. So what happened the night Zach Crystal was killed? Was it a tragic accident, or was someone else to blame? Scott King intends to find out.

Zach Crystal was such an intriguing character. Throughout the book, we read extracts from his last exclusive interview, which he did as he was relaunching his career. By that time Zach was in his mid-forties, but Zach was still an idol to many young people growing up now. On the outside, he seems like a very humble and caring person. But there is a darker side to this that Scott King explores over his podcast series.

There is a very dark, foreboding feeling to this book. I wanted to get to the bottom of who Zach Crystal really was. He seemed to have an element of control over his fans, which is what I thought as I was reading the book, which gives it a very chilling atmosphere. Everyone who comes into contact with him is in awe, and Zach knows how to use this to his advantage. He displays a very confident image, but, I also felt that there was a sense of vulnerability about him as well. This made me even more interested in him.

With recent stories that have made headlines over the past few years, you can see where Matt Wesolowski drew his inspiration from this novel. It does get very dark in places and unnerving as well as Scott King gets closer to the truth. The tension really ramps up in the final pages as we begin to understand just what was going on in Zach Crystal’s life.

Matt Wesolowski has produced another absolutely gripping book in this series. It’s dark, chilling and so absorbing. I can’t wait to see what case Scott King investigates next. Long may this series continue!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 18th December 2020 (kindle) 18th February 2021 (paperback)

Print length: 253 pages

Deity is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

If you would like to join us for First Monday Crime on Monday, 12th April 2021, it’s being streamed live on their Facebook page from 19:30 p.m. The other authors who are appearing are, David Baldacci author of A Gambling Man, Sarah Pearse author of The Sanatorium and David Fennell author of The Art of Death. The panel is being moderated by Jacky Collins. To access the event you can click on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

FIRST MONDAY CRIME

The Art of Death #bookreview April, 1st Monday Crime @DavyFennell @1stMondayCrime

First Monday Crime is back on Monday, 12th April 2021 at 19:30 p.m. UK time (it’s a week later due to the Bank Holiday) and we have another brilliant panel for you. I’m re-sharing my review of David Fennell’s fantastic, The Art of Death which I originally shared as part of the blog tour in February. David is one of the authors who will be appearing on the panel. I will have all the details at the end of this post.

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Death is an art, and he is the master . . .

Three glass cabinets appear in London’s Trafalgar Square containing a gruesome art installation: the floating corpses of three homeless men. Shock turns to horror when it becomes clear that the bodies are real.

The cabinets are traced to @nonymous – an underground artist shrouded in mystery who makes a chilling promise: MORE WILL FOLLOW.

Eighteen years ago, Detective Inspector Grace Archer escaped a notorious serial killer. Now, she and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, must hunt down another.

As more bodies appear at London landmarks and murders are livestreamed on social media, their search for @nonymous becomes a desperate race against time. But what Archer doesn’t know is that the killer is watching their every move – and he has his sights firmly set on her . . .

He is creating a masterpiece. And she will be the star of his show.

MY THOUGHTS

The Art of Death is a fantastic start to a new crime series, and David Fennell is a new crime writer to watch out for. This book utterly gripped me, and I read it really quickly. If you’re a fan of serial killer thrillers, then you need to read this book.

Grace Archer is a fascinating new detective on the crime fiction scene. In David Fennell’s first book, she faces a sadistic serial killer, and it becomes a race against time to catch him. He is a deranged individual who creates art out of his victims. He puts Grace’s entire team on edge when they discover his first victims, and they know he isn’t finished. He has already gained a following on social media, and he is keen to show more of his work. He also has a star victim in sight. I wanted to know if he would succeed in carrying out his plans, and I was rooting for the police to catch him.

The tension in this book never lets up. The chapters are short and snappy, and the dialogue keeps the pace flowing forward. There is tension on every page as Grace and her team race to find the killer and there are also chapters told from his point of view. We get to see how he chooses his victims, and it makes for terrifying, but utterly gripping reading as he carries out his plans. I found myself wanting to scream at the characters he was targeting. I wanted them to see him for who he really was.

I liked the team Grace worked with as well. There is a lot of wit in their conversation. You can see that they all get on with each other and I’m looking forward to seeing how their friendships develop in future books. We are aware that Grace has gone through something terrible in her past, but David Fennell doesn’t go into a lot of details regarding this. One part I really liked was Grace’s relationship with her grandfather, which makes her a really likeable character.

David Fennell certainly doesn’t shy away from gruesome details, and there are some quite graphic scenes. You get a real sense of how insane the killer is and how keen he is to carry out his crimes. The only way he is going to be stopped is if the police catch him first. As the novel drew closer to its conclusion, I was able to guess who the killer was, but I wanted to see how things were going to pan out.

The Art of Death is an exciting, gripping start to a new series, introducing a fresh new voice in the crime fiction market. I loved it, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Publisher: Zaffre

Publication date: 4th February 2021

Print length: 432 pages

The Art of Death is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

First Monday Crime is live on Facebook at 19.30 p.m. on Monday, 12th April 2021. We have David Fennell author of, The Art of Death, Sarah Pearse author of The Sanatorium, Matt Wesolowski author of Deity and David Baldacci author of A Gambling Man. You can access the event by clicking on the following link below. The panel is being moderated by Jacky Collins.

First Monday Crime

Beast by Matt Wesolowski #bookreview blog tour @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Beast, the latest book in the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

Beast (Six Stories Book 4) by [Wesolowski, Matt]

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Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…

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, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire…

Both 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…

MY THOUGHTS

Beast by Matt Wesolowski is the fourth book in the Six Stories series, and it is his most terrifying and chilling book to date. After the devastating events for our protagonist, Scott King, which took place in the last book, he is now investigating the death of a young vlogger who died while taking part in a social media challenge.

The social media challenge which features in this book is so disturbing. Elizabeth Barton is taking part in the ‘dead in six days’ challenge, which she is broadcasting to her subscribers via her blog. During the six days, she is spending that time in a gothic, supposedly haunted tower.  Some of the locals believe a vampire inhabits the tower. This is a story which has plagued the town for decades, passed down the generations. But what happens to Elizabeth is devastating. Elizabeth is locked inside the tower. In a sickening turn of events, her body is found with her head missing. With three men arrested for the crime, a prank they say which went wrong, there are still some unanswered questions which Scott King is determined to find the answers to.

Scott King delves deep into the mystery behind Elizabeth Barton’s death and the disturbing local folklore myths. Taking folklore myths and examining them is something that Matt Wesolowski does so well in his books. But he still manages to create a terrifying atmosphere which will have you looking over your shoulders.

Matt’s books can very easily be read in a couple of sittings, and I like the fact that they are short quick reads. They are utterly absorbing. You become wrapped up in the mystery that Scott King is investigating, so much so, that it could almost be a real live case. I’m still thinking of the legend of the vampire several days after I’ve read it. I liked how Matt Wesolowski makes us think about how such ideas can evolve over time. I think this can be said as well about many dark myths and legends.

Beast is another enthralling addition to the Six Stories series, and I can’t wait to see what type of case Scott King will be delving into next. Another riveting read by Matt Wesolowski.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 20th December 2019 (kindle) 6th February 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 320 pages

If you would like to purchase Beast, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

Previous Reviews

Hydra

Changeling

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Changeling by Matt Wesolowski blog tour #bookreview @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks

Changeling (Six Stories Book 3) by [Wesolowski, Matt]

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On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. 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, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey 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 where Alfie is…
Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.

MY THOUGHTS

Matt Wesolowski has written another cracking story with Changeling. Literally, once I started reading this, I couldn’t stop. This version of Six Stories sees our presenter, Scott King investigating a thirty-year-old cold case. Seven-year-old Alfie Marsden disappeared near a forest in Wiltshire in 1988 on Christmas Eve, and the mystery surrounding his disappearance has haunted many people for three decades as it has never been solved. It seems that no one is ever going to understand the truth as to what happened to Alfie that night, but Scott King is determined to try and find the answers.

I absolutely love the style of Matt’s books. Telling the story through a series of podcasts is a very original idea, and with each book I’ve read by him, I’ve felt as though I was learning about a true crime that has taken place, rather than a fictional one. There is always a very creepy element to these books which is another thing I really like about them. In the last book Hydra, I remember feeling compelled to research the black-eyed children, which Matt was referring to, but I was too frightened to do so after reading the book.

Changeling has the essence of a Brother’s grim fairy-tale. As Scott King looks into Alfie’s disappearance, he examines numerous reports of strange, “paranormal” activities which were taking place in and around the forest area at the time Alfie went missing. There are also mentions of “changeling children”, children who are swapped by fairies; the human child was taken to live in their realm only to be replaced in our world by a beastly child. I have to admit here that reading about the changeling children, did creep me out quite a bit. There is a lot of talk about folklore in this book, and this is what made this story so fascinating to me, as I wondered if these stories had any bearing on what had happened to Alfie.

Once again we hear from the viewpoints of six people who were somehow connected to the case, Alfie’s family, witnesses to the strange events that took place and his teachers. As I got to read their thoughts and opinions, the case became even more interesting, and I was so keen to get to the bottom of it all. As the story is told in the form of an interview, through a podcast, I think it would make an excellent audiobook, so if you are an audio listener, I would definitely recommend giving this one a go as well as the other books in the series.

I really did not expect the direction this book took as the final revelations about the case came to light. Matt Wesolowski took me totally by surprise by the twist, and I’ve spent days thinking about it, especially as I’ve tried a few times to sit down and write this review. I am wondering now how he is going to take the series from here, and I hope there is going to be another book.

Changeling is another outstanding addition to this series. The writing will pull you in from the first page, and you won’t be able to stop reading until you find out the truth about what has happened to Alfie.

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour and to Karen Sullivan for the advance review copy.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th November 2018 (kindle) 24th January 2019 (paperback)

Print length: 271 pages

If you would like to purchase Changeling you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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Changeling Blog Tour Poster

#Hydra by Matt Wesolowski #review #Blog Tour @OrendaBooks @ConcreteKraken

HYDRA BF AW.indd

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In November 2014 Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and sister to death with a hammer. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out.

MY THOUGHTS

It is so hard to put into words how clever and good this book is. I still need to get round to reading Six Stories, I can see it sitting there on my shelf, glaring at me, but now that I’ve read Hydra I’ll be bumping it right up to the top of my reading pile. I loved the idea of presenting a story through a series of podcasts which is what makes this novel, utterly unique. We hear from six different perspectives in this book, and the author has managed to give each character their own unique voice, it certainly didn’t feel like an interview as I was reading. And, oh my gosh, those black-eyed children. I read a few reviews prior to reading this book where it mentions how frightening they are and they genuinely did give me the creeps. I was tempted to research them as I was reading this book, but I have to admit I was too frightened to do so. Even now I can picture them inside my head, and they still make me shiver.

The case which our presenter examines in Hydra is a disturbing one. In 2014, Arla Macleod bludgeoned her family to death. Arla has since been sectioned, and even though there is no doubt that she killed her family, Scott still wants to examine her life and try to answer the question of why she did what she did. Why did she take it upon herself to kill her family? What was at the very root of the bloodshed? Scott speaks to five people who knew Arla from various times in her childhood and in her teenage years. Unsettling details about Arla’s past emerge out of the hat, and perhaps Scott gets closer to understanding what prompted her to commit such a heinous act. But someone is desperate to stop him from uncovering the truth and soon he finds that he is risking everything that he has worked for, to get to the truth.

The presenter, Scott King, delves into the heart of the Arla Macleod mystery as he examines the case in fresh ways, each episode, looking at it with a new perspective each time. What I found really interesting about this book was the paranormal aspect to the story, as I mentioned earlier the book frightened me so much that I couldn’t even bring myself to research what the author was writing about. You know that a book is good when it has this effect on you. I would suggest reading this book in the daytime and not just before you go to sleep. This book will thrill crime and horror fans.

What I was also intrigued by was how my opinion of Arla changed as the book progressed, she was an absolutely fascinating character to learn about as we take a look at her past life (through people who knew her) and how she is in the present. I’m not going to say anything about the plot here as I don’t want to spoil it but I did not see that final reveal coming. Absolutely brilliant!

This is a really exceptional book. I, for one, am excited to see what Matt will come up with next and I’ll be getting round to reading Six Stories very soon. Creepy, and so so good, I think I’ll be thinking and talking about this book for a long time. Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review and Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Orenda

Publication date: 15th January 2018

Print length: 320 pages

If you would like to purchase Hydra, you can do so by clicking on the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

 

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