Thanks to Ann Cater of Random Things Tours for organising this blog tour and to Matt Wesolowski and Orenda Books for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
Online investigative journalist Scott King investigates the death of a pop megastar, the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse and murder before his untimely demise in a fire … another episode of the startlingly original, award-winning Six Stories series.
When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.
Online journalist Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rakes over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Whose remains – still unidentified – were found in the ashes? Why was he never officially charged?
Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…
Today I’m reviewing the 5th instalment of the Six Stories Series and I’m once again blown away. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the others yet as they don’t necessarily need to be read in order although I will warn you, once you read one you’ll be compelled to read the whole set because it’s difficult to feel as though you’ve had enough of these books. They are so difficult to review as you risk giving too much away and the be honest – each time I read one my brain is a mess for a length of time, unravelling my own thoughts and feelings.
Highly topical and relevant, Deity hits a raw nerve. So many times over the years the world has seen idols fall from grace in spectacular fashions. No more than in recent years where the world of the elite and wealthy are under sever scrutiny and rife with tales of abuse; sexual and emotional. Wesolowski plays on this and weaves yet another clever and chilling narrative set around the life and death of Zach Crystal.
The narrative is led by Scott King, paranormal and mysteries investigator who seeks to find answers for unanswered questions. He interviews 6 different people, each with 6 different stories and perspectives and tries to piece together pieces of a puzzle. As each story is told, some pieces of the puzzle become clearer whilst others remain blurred and bewildering.
Atmospheric settings are the trademark of a Six Stories book and this one is no different. Set in Crystal forest in the secluded Scottish Highlands. The opening chapter well and truly sets a terrifying scene and taints what should be a place of beauty with a dark and disturbing feel. There’s an element of the occult hanging over the whole narrative which adds to the unsettling feeling throughout the whole novel too.
What I find most fascinating about all these novels, but in particular Deity, is how it forces the reader to reflect on themselves and their own thoughts and experiences. Most adults have knowledge of real-life cases that hold similarities to this but how often do we question? Do we truly ever believe our idols are capable of such things? Do we overlook it or under play it or at worse, make excuses for it? Do we continue to worship people capable of such things because ‘separate the art from the person’? And on the other hand, do we become judgemental and accusatory of people based on what we read in the media and online? Do we fill in gaps of those who wish to remain more private by making things up that fit? Honestly, so many questions but such thought-provoking ideas.
Zach Crystal is a fascinating character but we learn about him through the eyes of others and the media – not really through his own eyes so there’s an added sense of uncertainty over how much of each story is factual or accurate. In Zach, Wesolowski has created a child-like man who it is easy to sympathise with and feel some compassion for but also to harbour a fear of him. It’s a weird and unique feeling that is hard to describe and the fact I felt that about him also made me really uncomfortable.
I’ve said it before but you don’t just read this (and other Six Story) books. You become immersed and experience them first-hand. A relationship between reader and the narrative emerges and it becomes an intimate and personal experience. The stories stay with you long after finishing and there is nothing that can quench the thirst for more until the next instalment comes along.
I cannot recommend these books enough to readers – it’s hard to fully appreciate the genius of writing and the powerful story telling that is found between the pages until you experience it for yourself.
Author Bio – Matt Wesolowski
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care.
‘Six Stories’ was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017, ‘Changeling’ in 2018, ‘Beast’ in 2019 and ‘Deity in 2020
‘Six Stories’ has been optioned by a major Hollywood studio; ‘Changeling’ was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, 2019 Amazon Publishing Readers’ Award for Best Thriller and Best Independent Voice.
‘Beast’ won the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Award for Best Independent Voice in 2020