As well as spreading the word about my own writing and publications, I wanted to use this site to discuss books, films, music – whatever I’ve been enjoying lately. They’re not reviews, as such, more a quick run down of what I’ve been reading or listening to so that people who read this site can check them out for themselves.
Seeing as the site is just getting going, I wanted to take the opportunity to get promoting other books as soon as possible. Luckily, I have just finished reading a cracking book so I can get the ball rolling with something memorable.
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski is a book I saw recommended by the fantastic Alasdair Stuart of Pseudopod fame in a column that he wrote at Tor.com about childhood cruelty and Moors settings. A cheery mix huh? The column is a great read, I’m yet to read Chalk but it’s pretty high on the list.
Six Stories is a tale of murder and teenage bad behaviour, with a sprinkling of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. The story centres around the murder of a teenager, Tom Jeffries in 1997, and those who were either there or associated with him at the time.
I’m a big fan of books that are told in an epistolary style and Six Stories is presented in the form of an ongoing true crime podcast. Each week, the host of the titular Six Stories podcast, Scott King, interviews someone connected with Tom Jeffries and unravels another layer of the mystery around his death.
The skill in Wesolowski’s writing is two-fold. His characterisation is superb, with each podcast guest having their own truly unique voice. The characters in Six Stories are all full realised and have quirks and motives that are believable and logical. Be it, a hidden agenda or overt unrequited love, each interview makes the reader feel a different emotion.
The layering of the story throughout the novel is also exceptional. Each interview reveals details, contradictions and motives that build towards a tense, deserved climax to the story. Whilst not overtly a horror novel, there is a touch of folk horror here. Repeated references to a local myth crop up throughout, and whilst the supernatural element is a minor part of the story, the passages where it features prominently are among the most powerful. A quick browse through Wesoloswski’s back catalogue reveals a love of horror, something that is evident in the strength of his Nana Wrack myth in this book. (Note to self: pick up The Black Land)
The Six Stories series continues with Hydra, another investigation from podcast host Scott King and hopefully there are plans afoot for future installments.