Six Stories: A Thriller by Matt WesolowskiSix Stories: A Thriller by Matt Wesolowski

Six Stories: A Thriller

byMatt Wesolowski

Paperback | June 1, 2017

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1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an Outward Bound center. 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 rivaled 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. 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.
Matt Wesolowski has had short horror fiction published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land was published in 2013. He was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015.
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Title:Six Stories: A ThrillerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.8 inPublished:June 1, 2017Publisher:Orenda BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1910633623

ISBN - 13:9781910633625

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creepy, dark, and atmospheric murder mystery. After reading myriad glowing reviews of this novel throughout the year, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed. An outstanding debut thriller that incorporates a cold case murder and folk legends in the rather unique format of a modern day podcast. Back in 1996, Tom Jeffries, just fifteen years of age, went missing on Northumberland's atmospheric Scarclaw Fell. He was one of five teenagers who were attending an outdoor adventure trip to Scarclaw Fell Woodlands Centre. Scott King runs a series of podcasts which investigate cold cases. His latest investigation examines the Scarclaw Fell tragedy of 1996. He intends to interview six different people who were a part of the tragedy back then, hoping to glean some insight into the tragedy by seeing the events that took place via six different perspectives - or Six Stories. Harry Saint Clement-Ramsay, the son of the man who owns the land that encompasses Scarclaw Fell, and who found Tom Jeffries body a year after he went missing. After an inquest, the death of Tom Jeffries was deemed misadventure, with no signs of foul-play. Derek Bickers, outdoorsman and leader of the Rangers group of children and adolescents who frequently visited the Scarclaw Fell Woodlands Centre. He was the adult in charge of the youth the weekend that Tom Jeffries went missing. For a while he was a suspect in the case. "Even in daylight, there's darkness on Scarclaw". The teenagers at Scarclaw that night had all been drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis. In addition to this rebellious conduct, they told each other sinister stories of mythic entities that were said to inhabit Scarclaw Fell. Stories that perhaps were instigated by the locals to frighten their children so they would stay away from the Fell and the many dangerous, disused mines it contained. The most popular story they told to frighten each other was the story of Nanna Wrack. A marsh hag that was thought to feed off bodies in the marshy land of Scarclaw Fell. Then there is the story of the Belkeld Beast. (Belkeld being the name of the village closest to Scarclaw). "Mother, is that father's form at the door? It's taller and longer than ever before, His face is all white, coat black like a loon, His teeth glow like blades in the light of the moon." They all maintained that they were asleep when Tom Jeffries disappeared. "Kids are like packs of wild animals. And the pack has certain characters. There are leaders, voices of reason, the brains, the brawn, the wild card, the outsider...the victim." Charlie Armstrong, the alpha of the small band of teenage friends. Also fifteen years of age, but a rebel who smoked and drank, dressed differently, and, like most teenagers his age, was full of confusion and anger. Eva Bickers, (the fifteen year-old daughter of Derek Bickers) was sort of second-in-command to Charlie, who was a life-long friend of hers. Anyu Kekkonen, the strategist, the brains. A quiet enigma. Brian Mings is devoted to her. Eva is her best-friend. "Like water-torture, or death by a thousand cuts. 'Professional bullies crush your soul a sliver at a time." Brian Mings, a follower, a victim of bullying, a boy desperate for approval and acceptance by his peers. His parents had separated due to his father's alcoholism and PTSD. Brian was an only child, lonely at home and shunned by his peers. Tom Jeffries, the murder victim, a rough and tumble youth who joined the Rangers later than the others. He had a reputation for delinquency, and was seen as controlling and manipulative. When Tom joined the group, he quickly became Charlie's 'right-hand man'. The two boys 'wound each other up'. And then there is Haris Novak. What we would now term a 'vulnerable adult', Haris was autistic, a reclusive loner and nature enthusiast. He showed the teens his 'secret place', an old disused mine entrance, where he liked to go to watch the bats. He was deemed the prime suspect in the case of the death of Tom Jeffries - though many thought he was just an easy scapegoat. Haris was manipulated and preyed upon by the teenagers. As you read, you learn the dynamic of the group. What they thought of each other, who was sleeping with who. How the power shifted over time... My only quibble with the novel is that I felt no real sympathy for Tom, the murder victim. As the story is told from six different viewpoints, I was reminded how memory is selective. How different people's perceptions can be of the same event. This novel cleverly used this premise, and with a delicious twist at the end, the reader comes to understand what did happen that tragic night in 1996. This is a dark and creepy murder mystery. Highly recommended! (4.5 stars rounded up for Chapters/Indigo)
Date published: 2017-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique and Creepy Six Stories packs a lot of punch in a short novel. Told in the form of podcasts, Six Stores sets out to unravel the mysterious death of Tom Jeffries 20 years after the body is found. Tom goes missing on an outdoors weekend in the murky woodlands of Scarclaw Falls, and a year later, his body is found in the swamp. Shrouded by legends and teen angst, his death is ruled an accident until the truth is uncovered, podcast style. This novel is a slow burn – the first podcast absolutely freaked me out (and I don’t scare easily). The next few interviews held a bothering ambiguity – would we find out the truth behind Tom’s death? Do monsters really exist? There are a few twists towards the end but nothing shocking or new in the thriller-esque genre. Overall, a solid read – I think it could have been edgier and perhaps a touch more complex, but it certainly offered a unique and modern perspective and delivery. Thank you to Netgalley and Orenda Publishing for an advanced reading copy. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-01

Editorial Reviews

“[A] complex, clever literary thriller that at times left me feeling claustrophobic, and yet I could not stop reading.” —Book Ramblings