Demon by Matt Wesolowski – Book review

Synopsis

Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series.

In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world. Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark and fanciful stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act.

And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, King himself becomes a target, with dreadful secrets from his own past dredged up and threats escalating to a terrifying level. It becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…

My Thoughts

Every time I finish a Six Stories novel I’m left speechless and bereft.  I’ve said it in every review, but I can’t express it any other way – you don’t read a Six Stories book, you become immersed in it and experience every little thing inside the pages.   Wesolowski is a master storyteller, manipulator of minds and breaker of hearts. He creates a complete experience to the point where everything feels real, every character gets under your skin in one way or another and every noise, sound and experience grips you and doesn’t let go until the closing pages.

A close-knit community and beautiful scenery make the North Yorkshire village of Ussalthwaite seem like the most perfect and idyllic place to live but beneath the beauty lies something much more sinister.  The moors and kilns left from days of mining are known as the ‘bad place’ and generations of children heed the warning to stay away; except two boys who have found solace in each other’s friendship.  The scene and atmosphere are totally all consuming, and it grows around you whilst reading.  Every sight, sound and smell is there and a times it creates such a stark contrast between perfection and absolutely terrifying.      

In 1995 the community was shook to the core when the body of 12 year old Sydney Parsons is found and the two friends are found guilty of his murder and then released 7 years later with new identities.  With the media and community whipped into a frenzy, Scott King takes his podcast to Ussalthwaite in order to tell the full story from 6 different perspectives.

If you’ve never experienced a Six Stories novel before they are told as podcasts, led by Scott King.  Each episode consists of a different perspective from somebody close to the case that Scott is covering.  It’s simply a genius way to present the narrative and creates a a completely immersive experience.  If you love audio books then I highly recommend you listen to Six Stories as it works superbly.

The story of the Ussalthwaite murders really touches on some very current issues and dilemmas and Demon definitely led me on my own moral journey; questioning my perspectives and reactions to things and provoking an internal conversation with how I allow myself to be swayed by different sources. 

For me, the most terrifying thing in Demon (and all the series) is humans.  It’s so difficult to go into without spoilers but the themes of ostracization and pre-conceived notions relating to specific things are strong and despite being heart breaking – they are relevant and a good reflection of some pockets of society.

Another mind-blowingly, devastating Six Stories and made all the more devastating by the possibility it’s the last one (I really hope not). 

I cannot recommend Demon and this series enough.  

Author Bio – Matt Wesolowski

Matt Author Pic

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 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.

‘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

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s