‘He wore a mask. It should have been comical. Like the masks that crusty lot wear when they’re railing against the multinationals. But I was scared.’
Six Stories is a very refreshing and innovative approach to crime fiction. Written by author Matt Wesolowski, Six Stories is published by Orenda books.
I have no idea how Karen O’ Sullivan (Orenda Books) finds these original and very very unique reads, but it seems she has done it again!!!
Please continue reading for my thoughts on Six Stories…
1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced.
And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who took that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure.
In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death
Now here’s a story that will get under your skin!!
Based on a series of Podcasts, Six Stories has a very unconventional style of story telling. Matt Wesolowski has slightly turned upside down the more traditional approach to crime fiction and brought something new to the table.
With tribute paid to the American Podcast Serial hosted by Sarah Koenig, Six Stories is based on a fictitious British equivalent podcast, hosted by the elusive Scott King. The theory behind the podcast is that Scott King attempts to figure out the truth behind cases that have been closed/unsolved for various reasons. As an ex journalist, Scott King is intrigued by these old cases. One of the main premises of the show is that it is for the public to decide, analyse and make conclusions. Scott King only provides the facts as he sees it based on interviews with people who would have been in some way linked to the case.
Scarclaw Fells – even the name alone would raise the hair on the back of your neck.
‘When I first met this land it overawed me, just an unrelenting mass; disorder, There was no way of straightening it out. The woods just kind of jump at you from the dark; all those trees filled with croaking, fretting birds, the buckled heads of ferns that slap lazily at your shins as you pass through…..There’s magic here between the trees.’
These were the words of Harry Saint Clement-Ramsay, son of Lord Ramsay, the owner of the land, where the body of fifteen year old Tom Jeffries was discovered in 1997 a year after he went missing.
Harry’s story is detrimental in providing a backdrop to the events surrounding that night and gives the reader a very good insight into the landscape of Scarclaw Fell. This is a place depicted as quite dark and chilling. Matt Wesolowski’s descriptive prose is so full of atmosphere, as a reader you are drawn right in, as the goosebumps come to the surface.
The interviews are continued throughout the book with each chapter adding an additional piece to the jigsaw. We learn more about Tom Jeffries as a person. We also get to see the more curious side of the human mind. There were a number of people in the company of Tom Jeffries before he went missing. Scott King attempts to interview them all and what is soon discovered is how situations/events are interpreted differently by each.
Six Stories is a very threatening and sinister, yet very intriguing story. There is a constant feeling of foreboding and as a reader you really have no idea of the journey you are been taken on.
At 225 pages, Six Stories packs a literary punch. It’s fast, snappy, unpredictable and eerie. In today’s society it is such a pertinent read as many of us are so wrapped up in reality TV and live podcasts.
Reading Six Stories almost felt wrong!!!! As I turned each page I had a very unsettling feeling that I was watching events unfold before me, that I was part of a reality show myself!!
I have deliberately been a little vague in this review, as to reveal anymore would just spoil the book for any would be reader. Suffice to say this is, as stated, ‘a classic murder mystery’ but it is also more than that. It crosses multiple genres with Matt Wesolowski’s background in writing horror seeping through the pages. There is a psychological aspect, there is a very human story and there is an unsolved murder. There are unexpected twists and there are truths unveiled.
What really happened that night in Scarclaw Fell?
May I suggest you pick up a copy of Six Stories to find out..
Purchase Link : Six Stories
About The Author:
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North.
Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly.
Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015.
He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.
You can follow Matt on Twitter