Opening sentence: “So in six days, I’m going to meet a vampire.”
Welcome to my stop on the Beast blog tour! I decided that 2020 was the year I was going to listen to more podcasts. Usually it’s audiobooks that flow through my earphones but this year – so far – I have kept to my podcast resolution. Serendipitous then that this book would come my way, as it takes the form of a podcast transcript.
Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski. In the novel, Six Stories is the name of the true crime podcast hosted by Scott King. Scott speaks to six people and gets six points of view about a crime case: ‘In this series we look back at crimes: cold cases, missing people, the motivations for murder.’
I haven’t actually read the preceding three books in the series, but this didn’t hinder my understanding (there were a few cryptic references to what happened to Scott in a previous story, which only made me want to read it) or enjoyment of Beast at all. And I enjoyed it a lot; couldn’t stop reading it, in fact!
Scott King delves into the murder of 24-year-old Elizabeth Barton, an up-and-coming lifestyle blogger / vlogger who takes part in the viral Dead in Six Days challenge and does, indeed, end up dead. Not only that, she is found naked and decapitated. Two years after her death, graffiti appears on her parent’s house: ‘Who locked Lizzie in the tower?’ This brings people’s attention back to the case and indicates that the three men currently in prison for her murder might not be the right culprits…
Scott travels to the small northern town of Ergath, where Elizabeth lived and died. As he talks to six people who knew either Lizzie or her killers, tantalising snippets of information are slowly revealed and the story takes you on a whip-smart journey through the duplicitous nature of people. Mix in the local legend of the Ergarth vampire – and the fact that one of the men convicted of Elizabeth’s murder, Solomon Meer, had an obsession with vampires – and you have a brilliant, creepy story on your hands.
Scott makes it clear that, ‘We don’t solve cases here, we present evidence, we talk and we discuss.’ But events do reveal themselves to a very satisfying – if disturbing – conclusion. I loved how realistic this story felt and am thrilled it’s part of a series. I’ve already popped the other three books onto my kindle.
/ Published by Orenda Books 6th February 2020
/ 320 pages
/ Rating: 5/5
About the Author:
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and 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 anthologies. 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 and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio.