Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski

Hi,

So you guys know I loved Six Stories and Hydra by Matt Wesolowski, right?! Well, he has a new book coming out in ebook (November ’18) and paperback (January ’19) called Changeling, and I read the whole thing today. It arrived in the post this morning, so how could I not read it immediately?! Before I go into that though, here’s the usual author and book info!

About the author:

Matt Wesolowski.jpeg

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.

About the book:

Changeling.jpg

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished
in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped
the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. 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 and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened
that fateful night. Journeying 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 what happened to the little
boy…

Published by Orenda Books, click the link below to pre-order your copy:

Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski

Review:

We’re beneath different trees this series, but our feet are sounding against the same darkness and once again we’re facing our fears head-on.

If ever a quote summed up the experience of reading Matt Wesolowski’s books, this chiller from Changeling is perfect.

I had been dying to read Changeling ever since I saw the beautiful cover on Twitter a few months back, and let’s face it, being a superfan means I have literally NO PATIENCE when it comes to waiting for these things. So huge thanks to both Karen and Matt for letting me read an early copy.

Reader, it does not disappoint.

In Changeling, Scott King is back investigating again. This time it is the disappearance of Alfie Marsden from his father’s car in the Wentshire Forest Pass on Christmas Eve 1988. Alfie disappeared without a trace and was officially declared dead seven years and three months after he disappeared. Scott sets out with his usual investigative zeal in search of answers.

I read Changeling over the course of today, making notes as I went, which I never do. And even with these notes, I still feel like I can’t do this book the justice it deserves.

Changeling is by far, my most favourite of the Six Stories books, and I love them all, I mean I REALLY love them. So just know I am not saying that lightly. Changeling got under my skin in a way the others didn’t.

The tension and sense of menace is there from the outset. It builds steadily, rolling like waves in a storm, until it crashes around your consciousness and leaves you almost breathless. Hidden and implied horror help to make Changeling a thoroughly bracing read, leaving the reader more than a little unsettled in its wake.

Much like the Changeling in old folklore, this book itself goes through a metamorphosis. But the author does this slowly, almost imperceptibly, and it creeps up on you gradually that what you are reading is a little different to what you started reading.

I PROMISE I will do a more in-depth review, but for now, know this;

Changeling is an intense, dark and utterly absorbing book. The pages crackle with tension, the characters have real depth and the writing is truly stunning.

Matt Wesolowski has to be one of the most imaginiative and talented young writers out there at the moment. His ability to make his writing current in terms of style, while still managing to write the perfect kind of crime/horror/psychological thriller mash-up, astounds me more with every book of his I read.

Highly, highly recommended.

Always.

Previous Matt-related posts:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

*Blog Tour* Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

~COVER REVEAL~ Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to finally (I read this in early December! 🙂 ) be able to share my review for Hydra by Matt Wesolowski with you all as part of the blog tour!

About the author:

IMG_1026-2 copy

Matt Wesolowski is 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 Feature, 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..

About the book:

HYDRA BF COVER.jpg

Before Scarfell Claw, there was Hydra… One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north-west of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the ‘Macleod Massacre’. 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. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far beyond the delusions of a murderess…

Click the link below to order your copy:

Hydra (Six Stories) by Matt Wesolowski

My thoughts:

I had been waiting patiently for Hydra for what seems like an eternity. It was probably only months, but it felt like forever. Having read Six Stories at the end of 2016 (See! That sounds like AGES ago considering its now 2018!!!), its safe to say I was eager to see where Matt Wesolowski was going to take us after the thrill-ride of Six Stories.

I knew Hydra was going to be dark, but I didn’t realise how unsettling and creepy it would actually be until I settled in to read it. Black-eyed children (not a spoiler, its in the blurb!) haunted me for days after I finished. Children are honestly one of the scariest tools to use in writing for me. And these ones were up there with the worst. I shuddered more times than I could count while reading.

Some background. Arla Macleod massacred her family in 2014. She is being held in a medium security mental health facility, and will speak to nobody except Scott King. As a consequence of this, King finds himself becoming entangled in a very complex and disturbing investigation. As well as Arla, five more people are interviewed for the podcast series, and each interview seems to put a different spin on what King thinks he knew about the massacre.

I don’t want to go into the plot to be honest. I honestly think Matt Wesolowski is one of the finest young writers out there at the moment though. Capturing the horror of the events in Arla’s past, combined with the exquisitely tense interviews, Hydra is just an absolutely brilliant book. It is compelling, genuinely chilling, tense and so utterly relevant to the world as we know it today. It addresses mental health issues, online trolling and the complexities and subtleties of the human condition so perfectly.

I loved it, really loved it. It completely freaked me out. There was so much to keep up with, and just when I thought I had it Matt threw in something else, and those creepy children. I am not able for the power of suggestion!!!

Matt Wesolowski is such a genuine talent and his creativity knows no bounds with Hydra. It is truly a captivating book. Scary at times, but so immensely readable. I can’t heap enough praise on his ability to create menacing narratives that push their way beneath your skin.

Highly, highly recommended.

Previous posts:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

*Blog Tour* Q&A and Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Follow the blog tour:

Hydra blog poster 2018 FINAL.jpg

~COVER REVEAL~ Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

OMG YOU GUYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYS!!!!! Have I got an awesome cover reveal for you today 🙂

With thanks of course, to the publishing powerhouse that is Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for trusting me with this beaut!

giphy (1).gif

 

Not only have I got a cover reveal for you all, but I have a GIVEWAY too! Matt has got ONE ticket for his event at BLOODY SCOTLAND to give to one lucky person. More details on that at the end of the post!!!! 

*Ideally though, this prize would suit somebody who is planning on attending the festival.*

 

If you follow me on Twitter, chances are you’ve seen me rave about Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories (read that review HERE) more than once. So you can imagine my sheer joy to hear that a) my fave goth black heart buddy has a new book coming out, and b) I get the pleasure of sharing the cover with you all!!! 🙂

Who wants to know a little about Matt?! 

Here he is, modelling this seasons Moody Lucifer look…*

IMG_1026-2 copy.jpg

*I’m sorry. I’m actually not sorry, because I LOVE this photo an I am just super GIDDY to be sharing this awesome Orenda stuff!

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. His debut thriller Six Stories was an Amazon best seller in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

And here’s some need-to-know info about Hydra….

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west
of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother,
father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked
attack known as the ‘Macleod Massacre’. 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. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust
into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the
mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far
beyond the delusions of a murderess…
Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery
and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, that shines light in places
you may never, ever want to see again.

Doesn’t that sound AMAZING? I genuinely cannot wait for Hydra. It sounds like such a creepy book, so I’ll be reading it with the lights on for sure!

Do you want to see the cover?! Have I made you wait long enough yet?!

giphy (2).gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about now?? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKAAAAAAAAY….. I guess its only fair to share the #booklove… Take a look at this absolutely chilling cover for Hydra….

 

 

 

 

 

HYDRA VIS 1.jpg

 

You guys see what I’m seeing right?! That eye?! CREEP FACTOR!!!! But I love it. It’s not even my book and yet I can’t stop looking at it!

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to know when its out and how can you buy a copy right!? Well you’re in luck!

Published by Orenda Books on January 15th 2018, you can click the link below to pre-order your copy!

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Matt, you absolute legend. I wish you every success and more with Hydra.

 


 

GIVEAWAY

TO BE IN WITH A CHANCE OF WINNING A TICKET TO MATT WESOLOWSKI’S EVENT ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 10TH AT BLOODY SCOTLAND (BROCHURE HERE) , ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST.  IT IS THAT SIMPLE! 

*WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM

*COMPETITION CLOSES AT 6PM ON WEDNESDAY THE 6TH OF SEPTEMBER, WINNER TO BE ANNOUNCED BY 10PM 6/9/17 AND DULY CONTACTED

*WINNER MUST BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE EVENT IN SCOTLAND ON 10/9/17

 

 

*Blog Tour* Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Hi everyone,

Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for Matt Wesolowski’s superb Six Stories and we have something special for you all today. More on that in a bit. Here’s the all-important bookish information first!

About the book:

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. And who’s to blame… As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.

Six Stories is out in ebook NOW (published by Orenda Books) and you can order your copy by clicking HERE.

mwesolowski

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.

mwesolowski1
Robbed this pic from Twitter, sorry Matt! 🙂
My review (in case you missed it first time round!!):

Ok so you all know Orenda Books by now, right?! RIGHT?! If not, you should be ashamed. Consistently publishing great books for the past two years, Six Stories is yet another absolutely stellar addition to its catalogue!

I have had my beady eyes on this book since Karen mentioned it months ago, and it so totally and completely lived my expectations. Even though Six Stories is not out until next year, you need to add this to your wish lists YESTERDAY!

Six Stories is so completely modern and relevant which makes it super easy to follow. Following the success and major interest in podcasts such as Serial and This American Life, Six Stories draws its inspiration from the current digital age and relates it back to a two decades old murder in a very inventive and intriguing way.

Can I just take a minute to say, how ominous and creepy does Scarclaw Fell sound?! It conjures up some really dark and twisted imagery, not least with the elegantly crafted descriptions which Matt Wesolowski furnishes the reader with at various points within the novel.

Anyway, back to the story! When Scott King decides to revisit the events that led to the discovery of Tom Jeffries body through six podcast discussions with those that were there in 1997, his quest is not an easy one. What follows is a deep psychological investigation, and the consequences are so completely unexpected.

I turned the pages with trepidation and fear at times. Unsure of what I was going to read. The ominous feeling of dread crept over me more than once during the course of this book. However, it is so gripping and enthralling that I just had to keep reading to see what was going to happen. The anticipation was heightened as the reader is drawn into a spiderweb narrative and it was just the right amount of the unknown.

I can’t talk about Six Stories fully, not without giving away the subtle nuances that Matt Wesolowski has embedded into this chilling novel. Dark, mysterious and definitely not without elements of horror (for me, unseen terror is the WORST!), I was more than a little unsettled while I read it.

Six Stories was so worth the wait. SO WORTH IT! 🙌🏼 A genre-bending book, with some hauntingly threatening prose, I could not put it down. (Except late at night when I got the heebie-jeebies 😂)

Highly recommended!

Guest post from Mat:

*I knew as soon as I heard there was a blog tour for Six Stories that I wanted Matt to do a guest post for me. I follow him on twitter (@concretekraken) and I spotted a tweet about him listening to Azerbaijani death metal (or was it black death metal?!) and I just knew I wanted him to write about music. This guest post is the result of our chat, happy reading!*

Sons of Northern Darkness

Matt Wesolowski

Music has always been a huge part of writing for me. Ever since I started writing, I have done so whilst listening to music. The idea of writing in silence is just seems so alien to me, even scary and in the odd few times when I have experienced it, it has felt strange and empty, the absence of sound is huge, the deafening resonance of wandering through a deserted hospital or abandoned train station.

The role of music as writing’s sidekick varies in degrees; sometimes it’s loud and brash, the music almost driving the writing, sometimes just a pleasant ambience behind what I’m doing.

These days, the music I listen to when writing has very specific parameters ; it cannot have lyrics (audible ones anyway – we’ll come to that in a moment!) and percussion has to be minimal or nonexistent. Gone are the halcyon days of my youth where I could listen relentlessly to Marilyn Manson’s ‘Antichrist Superstar’ at maximum volume whilst penning a short story about angsty teenagers being eaten by monsters.

What about music bleeding into the writing itself, becoming flesh (or ink..or…er…virtual ink) on the page? That has evolved too.

It was when I was around 16 when I discovered the writing of Poppy Z Brite (Now Billy Martin), namely his 1992 novella ‘Lost Souls’, a story of road-tripping New Orleans vampires who listen to Nine Inch Nails and smoke clove cigarettes….basically teenage me but without the vampirism (unfortunately). What really spoke to me about Brite was how he interwove lyrics from his favourite artists into his books: Tom Waits, Bauhaus, The Cure – again, some of the artists whose music I was also deeply in love with.

This was revelatory to teenage me and I began incorporating lots of my favourite music into my stories (basically trying to emanate Brite, but that’s how we learn, right?). Like Stephen King, I also would include lyrics from relevant songs at the beginning of each piece (I still do).

20170215_094717

(Photos of the only copies of some of my actual 16-year-old work – the most that anyone’s ever going to see!)

My music tastes for writing, like music taste in general, has evolved over time. Now, my music when I write remains dark, don’t get me wrong but is very different from what I listen to when I’m not writing. Ambience or piano-based, non-percussive music is my favourite. The lowing cello of  Julia Kent’s or Hildur Guðnadóttir are two of my stand out favourite things to write to. As for pianos, Sophie Hutchings or Nils Frahm seem to stimulate my inspiration.

So to give a vague idea of the sort of thing I listen to whilst I write, I’m going to hit ‘shuffle’ on 10 of my 10 ‘Writing’ playlists which I have accumulated over the years and post whatever song shows up:

  1. Melancholia I – William Basinski
  2. Completion – Christopher Wilits, Ryuichi Sakamoto
  3. As A Black Stone Monument – Svartsinn
  4. Lullaby – Rebecca Karijord
  5. An Intangible World – Lacus Somniorum
  6. Lay Down in a Ditch – Grasslung
  7. Industrial District – Atrium Carceri
  8. The Vanishing Final – Sophie Hutchings
  9. Optimist – Zoë Keating
  10. Ingenting Finns Kvar – Hermoðr

Then we come to the black metal.

Black metal, for those uninitiated with perhaps my favourite ever genre of music, is described by Wikipedia as “an extreme subgenre and subculture of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, heavily distorted guitars.”

Some may remember the genre’s notoriety in the 90s when some churches were burned down (music being the media’s the go-to excuse when bad things happen).

For me, black metal is the driving force behind much of my writing. It breaks all of my rules – percussion, tempo, vocals – yet it does the job. Black metal can be dismissed as extreme music but for me the opposite is true – behind the rush of drums, guitars and distorted, wailing vocals is a bleak melancholy, an ambience, a darkness. There’s even a subgenre DSBM – depressive, suicidal black metal, which I adore but appreciate it’s somewhat niche.

These are the current albums I listen to when writing in the DSBM sub-genre.

Hermoðr – What Once Was Beautiful (melancholic  Swedish bleakness)

Kalamankantaja – Tyhjyys (A wonderfully tortured one-man Finnish project)

Austere – The Lay Like Old Ashes (Somewhat of a sub-genre pioneer, now sadly defunct, from Australia)

Violet Cold – Magic Night (Experimental Azerbaijani black metal)

It always interests me what others listen to, if anything at all. Sometimes when reading, you notice the ghost of a lyric, the essence of a melody, a turn of phrase that sounds familiar and you just wonder how deliberate that was…


So grateful to the lovely (badass) Matt Wesolowski for taking the time to write this post for me, and to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for facilitating this brilliant blog post. You are both AWESOME!!!

Make sure to follow this epic blog tour:

 

 

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski


*My thanks, as always, to the legendary Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for this review copy*

About the book:

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an Outward Bound center. 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 embarked on 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 rivaled 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. As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.

Click HERE (you wont be sorry!!!) to preorder your copy!

My thoughts:

Ok so you all know Orenda Books by now, right?! RIGHT?! If not, you should be ashamed. Consistently publishing great books for the past two years, Six Stories is yet another absolutely stellar addition to its catalogue!

I have had my beady eyes on this book since Karen mentioned it months ago, and it so totally and completely lived my expectations. Even though Six Stories is not out until next year, you need to add this to your wish lists YESTERDAY!

Six Stories is so completely modern and relevant which makes it super easy to follow. Following the success and major interest in podcasts such as Serial and This American Life, Six Stories draws its inspiration from the current digital age and relates it back to a two decades old murder in a very inventive and intriguing way.

Can I just take a minute to say, how ominous and creepy does Scarclaw Fell sound?! It conjures up some really dark and twisted imagery, not least with the elegantly crafted descriptions which Matt Wesolowski furnishes the reader with at various points within the novel.

Anyway, back to the story! When Scott King decides to revisit the events that led to the discovery of Tom Jeffries body through six podcast discussions with those that were there in 1997, his quest is not an easy one. What follows is a deep psychological investigation, and the consequences are so completely unexpected.

I turned the pages with trepidation and fear at times. Unsure of what I was going to read. The ominous feeling of dread crept over me more than once during the course of this book. However, it is so gripping and enthralling that I just had to keep reading to see what was going to happen. The anticipation was heightened as the reader is drawn into a spiderweb narrative and it was just the right amount of the unknown.

I can’t talk about Six Stories fully, not without giving away the subtle nuances that Matt Wesolowski has embedded into this chilling novel. Dark, mysterious and definitely not without elements of horror (for me, unseen terror is the WORST!), I was more than a little unsettled while I read it.

Six Stories was so worth the wait. SO WORTH IT! 🙌🏼 A genre-bending book, with some hauntingly threatening prose, I could not put it down. (Except late at night when I got the heebie-jeebies 😂)

Highly recommended!