A frozen girl
A haunted town
A deadly challenge
Which one is true?
[ About the Book ]
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’…
[ My Review ]
Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series of books featuring the elusive, online podcast journalist, Scott King. Written by Matt Wesolowski, this series has been longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the year and shortlisted in two categories for Amazon Publishing Readers Award 2019.
Published with Orenda Books February 6th, Beast is described as ‘a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller…..a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention.‘ Prepare yourself for a dark, dark read folks and, if I’m honest, at times, quite a depressing one, as our obsession with social media is highlighted with a shocking and stark clarity
Set in the town of Ergarth on the Northumbrian coast, Beast revolves around the death of vlogger Elizabeth Barton, aka Lizzie B. Elizabeth’s naked remains were found in the bleak outcrop of Tankerville Tower in 2018, during the brutally cold weather that was nicknamed The Beast from the East.
“Ergarth is not your typical seaside town….there’s very little of anything, just a grey, rain-flecked cluster of buildings that ends abruptly in a cliff edge where the ruined Tankerville Tower stands; an austere and crumbling monolith square-edged, five stories high, made from thick, dark-coloured basalt and limestone…a Brutalist, black rectangle”
Elizabeth’s death was traumatic for the locals. At twenty-four, Elizabeth was well known and, by all accounts, well liked within her community. As a popular vlogger, she had gained quite a number of very dedicated followers with her videos and live streams gaining high numbers of subscribers. Elizabeth Barton was gaining traction online and was been hailed as the next ‘Zoella’. The shocking discovery of her brutally attacked and frozen remains put the towns folk on high-alert. Fingers were pointed, suspicions were raised and three local lads, considered misfits and troublemakers, were charged with her murder.
Now, two years later, questions have been raised and the truth behind what actually happened that night in 2018 becomes the subject of Scott King’s latest podcast.
“In this series we look back at crimes: cold cases, missing people, the motivations for murder. We rake up old graves. Some of them don’t want to be unearthed though. Sometimes I hit a rock, find an impasse. Sometimes cold cases are called that for a reason. The following is one of those….
Over the next six weeks we are going to look back at the brutal murder of Elizabeth Barton in 2018. We’re going to examine the events that led up to her death from six different perspectives, through six pairs of eyes...”
– Scott King
Scott travels to Ergarth to meet some people who would have known Elizabeth Barton but also locals who are familiar with the rumours surrounding Tankerville Tower. The old tower, known locally as ‘The Vampire Tower’ casts a dark shadow over the town with many superstitious and wary of the tales surrounding this bleak and desolate place. History recounts the story of a Vampire from the East being locked up there many years back and her ghost now inhabits the ruins, bringing fear and despair to some local folk.
Scott attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding Elizabeth Barton’s murder with his own very unique method of questioning and research. Interspersed through the chapters we are introduced to the social media stream of Lizzie B, her last few videos before she was murdered. Lizzie enlightens her followers about an online challenge she was participating in, one that could potentially dramatically affect her numbers and rankings and would take her to the next level of popularity among the online community. This craze encouraged her fans to participate in some outrageous pranks until her final death. But was Lizzie B murdered? Was it a prank gone wrong? Was there darker and more sinister acts at play here?
There is a cloak of darkness over Beast, a sense of an ever-present foreboding. As I read I was trying to understand why ANYONE would live in Ergarth. I would have packed my bags and high-tailed out of there in no time. The descriptions of the town create a very strong image of an ominous and threatening place where nothing is as it seems.
The Six Stories series will make an excellent book to screen transfer. If Netflix aren’t already on this, they are seriously missing a trick.
Matt Wesolowski writes chilling and menacing books. Beast is grim. It is unsettling. It is a wonderfully woven tale…warped, creepy, compelling…downright nasty!!! The imaginative nature of the plot-line, the whole premise behind it, is such a unique concept. Beast (and the Six Stories series) is a contemporary, edgy and unique thriller that will appeal to those who like their fiction to have a sinister and unconventional twist.
[ Bio ]
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 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. Changeling, book three in the series, was published in 2019 and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and shortlisted for Capital Crime’s Amazon Publishing Reader Awards in two categories: Best Thriller and Best Independent Voice.
Twitter – @ConcreteKraken