Changeling – Matt Wesolowski
Genre: Psychological Horror/ Crime Thriller
Swathi’s Rating: 5/5
Published:24 JANUARY 2019 by ORENDA BOOKS
Changeling is the third in Matt Wesolowski’s series of ‘Six Stories’ where Scott King, a psychologist runs a true crime podcast – the mysteries are presented in the form of episodes, 6 of them told from 6 different point of views, thereby unleashing the horrors of the crime to his listeners. This is the first book for me from the series and the format, and style of storytelling was totally new to me and I was completely attracted to it right from page 1. The uniqueness to the narration was so appealing and intriguing that I kept going straight through the book.
Like every other Scott King’s podcast, this time he receives an anonymous letter requesting his attention towards a 30-year-old case of a missing boy Alfie who was now presumed dead due to his long disappearance. This case is unforgettable because of all the media interests it scored and the fact that it had remained a mystery till date. There were no useful leads during the time of the boy’s disappearance except the words of his father Sorrel’s statement about the events of the dreadful night.
As the podcast begins, Scott narrates the known ‘facts’ of the cold case – Sorrel has never given up on his alcoholic ex-wife Sonia, even after his fruitless marriage. On the Christmas eve, he has taken Alfie to his mother’s place so that they could have a nice family dinner together. However, that didn’t go well due to Sonia’s erratic behaviour, finally Sorrel decides to take the boy back to his place even though it’s close to midnight now. As he was driving through the thick Wentshire Forest, Sorrel had briefly stopped his car when he heard a tapping sound from the engine and went to check on it. It was heavily raining and Alfie was strapped to his seat and sleeping peacefully. The apparent shock when the father came around the car to his sleeping child missing from the car is inevitable.
The six episodes of the podcast takes us through several witnesses and friends of Sorrel and Sonia and their accounts of what could have happened to the poor child. It also focusses on the ancient ghost stories of the infamous Wentshire Forest where the boy disappeared. A local legend that states a hungry witch luring passers into the forest, and ‘fair folk’ taking the children. One episode focusses on a witness who worked in the forest for the construction of a holiday park that was abandoned due to the unexplainable events that took place to the workers. It also coincides with the time of the boy’s disappearance. Sorrel still visits the forest on his annual pilgrimage hoping one day his boy would come back to him.
All along, Scott King keeps an open mind as he listens and narrates the various rumours and facts of the case to his listeners. Even when he is faced by a blind psychic woman who claims to know where the boy actually is!
I never read ghost stories or watch a movie with a ghost in it. It scares the hell out of me and I scare quite easily. When I started reading Changeling, I was still confused of the genre I chose. It was spooky, creepy and kept me terrified ALL night! It got to me real nice. It got to me like ‘hair standing up on the back of your neck’ way. I stayed awake at nights, under the duvet listening to ‘tapping’ sounds or ANY of the slightest noise that came to my ears. There were so many memorable scenes that still seem to haunt me. Especially the creepy camping trip with the boy at the forest; recorded tapes of the late Delyth – Alfie’s teacher.
Apparently, the mystery and creepiness was not the only thing Changeling had to offer. There are extra layers to the book, and the characters that elevates the book to a whole new level. Matt has done a fantastic job of manipulating his readers through the web he has created in his characters and the plot that is so tangled that the reader would end up looking at exactly Matt wants us to look and believe it’s the truth.
I am not new to reading Crime thrillers. Been doing it for years together. Yet, when I finished reading the whole story, I felt ashamed for accepting the lies, the cover-ups that had been thrown at me through the chapters and never guessed the actual victims even once. ESPECIALLY THAT INGENIOUS TWIST! Finally, just toward the end I realised how cunning the title is!
Matt Wesolowski is now on top of my favorite Crime writers and I am definitely reading more of his ‘Six Stories’. I really hope he writes more on the series and the lovely Orenda Books publishes them as grand as ever! Many thanks to Anne Carter for having me on the tour and my review copy. Until next time. XO
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
Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought-provoking, Changeling is the latest in the critically acclaimed, international bestselling Six Stories series, written as six Serial-style podcasts, and which are being adapted for TV by a major US studio.
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.
He tweets @ConcreteKraken