What a start to the New Year with a new book from Matt Wesolowski. Changeling is the third in the Six Stories series published by Orenda Books and once again I am eternally grateful to Anne over at RandomthingsTours, the author, and publisher for inviting me to take part on the blog tour.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
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.
You know when you start reading a book at 10.30pm? It’s pitch black and all is quiet outside? And you know how that book is by Matt Wesolowski? And you think to yourself…are you crazy woman?! I still haven’t recovered from Hydra a year down the line, yet here I am ready to delve into Changeling…
A missing boy and a cursed forest are the premise for the latest episode of Six Stories and right from the outset there is a sense of unease, a fear, something very real and tangible.
Scott King receives a letter suggesting that he look into the 30-year-old case of missing child Alfie Marsden. Something tells Scott King he should let this one go but something else much more powerful draws him to the case. The letter promises an insight into the case, it gives a name, an address and a choice. But how much of a choice is it?
The great thing about this series is the clever way each book is nearly broken down to a series of six podcasts, it allows the plot to unfold and merge effortlessly. The characters are realistic and relatable; you can almost believe that Scott King is a real investigative journalist and that the cases are real. Mr King is not without his own troubles as delving into cold cases sometimes stirs up more than he bargained for and with each book, in the series, we get to know a little more about the man behind the broadcasts. In this novel, each podcast is interspersed with Scott’s own audio log in which a little more of the story is uncovered through the voice of an unknown narrator.
What really gets me about this series though is Matt Wesolowski’s talent for taking urban myths, his imagination and knitting them into 300 pages of sheer brilliance, I don’t read these books, I absorb them, they burrow deep under my skin and they stay there long after the last page is turned.
Each episode (chapter) in the book tells the story from the perspective of someone different. In Changeling we start with the call to emergency services to report Alfie Marsden missing. From the very start, it is clear that there is a sense of unease, not that simply a child has gone missing but the location and that terrifying indication that there was something else present when his dad was making that 999 call, a presence not entirely human. Wentshire Forest might be fictional but the terror you will experience when reading this novel is going to be very very real! I’m going to be bricking it when taking my dog his daily walks in the forest now!
Once again Matt Wesolowski beckons you in with the blurb, hooks you with the opening, takes you on a terrifying journey and spits you out a mess at the other end! I just hope you don’t start to hear the tapping… Don’t forget to check what the other bloggers are saying:
Changeling is available to purchase from:
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- 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 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.