Changeling by Matt Wesolowski (Orenda Books)

The Six Stories series is a firm favourite of mine. I love the unusual format and the way that a picture is built up by telling the same story from six different perspectives. I was very excited to read Changeling. Here’s the blurb:

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…

Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.

I’m writing this review having literally just finished the book. I have flown through this book, unable to put it down, desperate to get to the bottom of this mystery. It’s a highly emotive read which challenges the reader to read it without forming an opinion until you get to the end.

As a reader, it’s so easy to be drawn into the mystery, reluctantly buying into the paranormal aspect of the novel, seeing no other explanation. This is testament to Wesolowski’s writing skills, which have gone from strength to strength in this series.

The podcast format is a brilliant vehicle to tell a mystery story. With the interviews and thoughts of presenter, Scott King, as he becomes more invested in the mystery, the reader is taken along for the ride.

I have loved this “episode” of Six Stories immensely. In fact, I think it might be my favourite of the series so far. Orenda Books has a number of brilliantly innovative authors on its books and Matt Wesolowski is up there as one of the best. I hope there will be more Six Stories novels to come.