- Six Stories.
- Matt Wesolowski.
- 320 pages.
- Crime / Thriller / Mystery / Suspense / Horror.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
One body. Six stories. Which one is true?
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 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 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.
A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.
I devoured and loved the delicious darkness that was Hydra (Six Stories #2) It was my Orenda books cherry, caressed, teased, popped and plucked and yes, the whole experience left me totally satisfied.👍😂 That much so that I decided to do it all over again with the first book in the series, Six Stories.
Scott King is the host of the renowned podcast Six Stories where over six episodes over six weeks he looks back at an old crime or event with different people who were all in some way involved with the original crime/event. Delving into the past, bringing new information to light, new views and perhaps, more importantly, allowing the story the chance to be told from the viewpoint of the person he is interviewing giving his listeners (and us readers) individual recollections of the events.
In Six Stories King is looking back at the death of fifteen-year-old Thomas Jeffries who disappeared on an outdoor adventure trip to Scarclaw Fell in August of 2016 only for the remains of his body to be discovered a year later in 2017. Those who had been on the trip with Jeffries back in 1996 were interviewed by the police and the investigation gave the verdict of misadventure but is that verdict the right one? Was Jeffries death a tragic accident or was he killed? These are the questions that King asks and more as he delves into the past, trying to find out what really happened on that fateful trip leading up to the disappearance of Jeffries whilst putting the pieces of the puzzle together and allowing you to come to your own conclusions.
The podcast idea for a book is refreshing, it’s something modern, something new and in Wesolowski’s more than capable hands it works extremely well. As you get further into the book and progress through each of the interviews and podcasts you will see the beauty in the style. Each podcast whilst retreading the same ground offers both a completely different perspective and viewpoint on the events, those involved and on Jeffries himself pulling back the veil and giving you additional insight into the lives (family life, school life, etc) and the various complexities, personalities, relationships and dynamics of the group that Jeffries was part of.
Members of the Rangers (the outdoor adventurer group that Jeffries was a member of) along with one of the adults who ran the Rangers, a resident of Belkeld (the local village near to Scarclaw Fell) and one of the group who found the body a year later make up the list of interviewees. Each of the characters is multi-layered (there’s more than meets the eye to them. That’s a Transformers reference and if anyone gets it, high fives), unique and all have their own personalities. For me, I mentioned it in my Hydra review and I’m going to repeat it now. Wesolowski has a knack for making you forget that you are reading about ‘characters‘ and a ‘work of fiction‘ and instead you’ll find yourself thinking that you are reading ‘real accounts‘ by ‘real people‘.
The Rangers were teenagers at the time of the disappearance getting up to all the usual shenanigans that teenagers do and having all the associated drama that you expect. It’s not, however, the type of drama that makes you facepalm, groan and scoff whilst reading. Instead, in recounting their teenage years and with baggage, life and years behind them the attitude of the character’s youth has been replaced with a more measured, reflective and mature outlook.
The location of Scarclaw Fell and the surrounding area is well depicted by Wesolowksi and plays as much of a role in the story that unfolds as the characters do. A place full of abandoned mine shafts, marshes and an urban legend surrounding a ‘beast‘ it’s an atmospheric and wild setting that exudes a sense of danger.
I’m not one who goes into detail regarding the story in my reviews but I feel that I should touch on the aspect of bullying that runs through Six Stories as it plays such a large part in the story. It’s a touchy and tough subject to tackle and one that many will (sadly) be able to identify with. Wesolowski doesn’t tackle the issue of bullying with kid gloves but he doesn’t glorify it either showing the horror, the effects and the impact that it can have. For some, it will be hard to read but I felt that he handles the subject extremely well and in a manner that makes it important reading.
Holy shit! The revelation near the end, truly a ‘did I just read that’ moment! Damn, Wesolowski, with a dumbstruck look and mouthing ‘fuck‘ that made me put down my Kindle and think about all I’d previously read in the book and yes, I had to re-read the revelation a second time to take it in!
Wesolowski is a rare talent and the Six Stories series that he has created is a breath of creative fresh air, part mystery, part thriller, part character study, part horror and ALL sensational.
Purchase Six Stories.
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