The latest addition to my favourite crime series is Beast by Matt Wesolowski, and it will leave you begging for more. The whole of Six Stories so far gets a 10/10 from me.
In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. 24-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.
Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth’s death, and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.
Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case.
I cannot believe that this story didn’t happen
It seems only right that I start this review off with the opening paragraph of Beast, because Wosoloswki knows how to draw in a reader the best:
So in six days, I’m going to meet a vampire.
That vampire is going to kill me.
I’m going to die in six days’ time.
AM I RIGHT? This book starts on a high and doesn’t drop once throughout the book. It’s dark and clever, and the author has really nailed the whole ‘transporting you to a place’ thang. It’s relevant in its topics, and I cannot believe that this story didn’t happen. I find it super hard to remind myself that this is fiction because it just reminds me of a true crime read (this is a huge compliment).
There’s a touch of the paranormal, but it’s definitely the cult-y side which got the hairs on my arms raised. It’s tense and makes for an uncomfortable read 80% of the time with how twisted it can be, but I get a nostalgic feeling when you read “I’m Scott King” – like yesssss I’m back for more, horrify me please!
This whole Six Stories series is incredible, and Beast fits in perfectly. I read these in a strange order, reading book 3 first for a blog tour (my review here), and then bought books 1 and 2, read those back to back, and then book 4. Book 3 is still my favourite because of the plot twist, but I love them ALL.
A few people have said that Beast is the darkest of the Six Stories series and I disagree, but it’s still nail-bitingly tense, makes your heart beat 20x faster and is impossible to put down – I’m always saying, “at the end of this episode”, and then lo and behold, I’ve read the lot.
These books have a way of being totally unpredictable until it sneaks up on you and hits you right in the face. I dig that.
My only down-side is that Wesolowski cannot write these quick enough. I’m addicted to the formatting, his writing style and ideas, and require a new book at least once a month. It’s a bit frustrating as there’s nothing even remotely similar, but re-reads are there for a reason!
It can be read as a stand-alone, although I would recommend just starting from the first, or at least the third, because you’ll be wondering why Scott says things every now and again. You’ll become addicted like me, so have some order in your life and start from numero uno.
Buy the book. You won’t regret it.
Beast, Matt Wesolowski, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Book Depository
Genre: Crime Fiction / Thriller / Horror