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 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, and King himself becomes a target of media scrutiny and the public’s ire, it becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…
When you open one of Matt Wesolowski’s books you know that you are going to be reading a novel that thrills, excites and is impossible to put down. I had high expectations when I started Demon and they were met a thousand times over.
If you have read the other books in the series, you will be aware of the format they take. Set out like a series of podcasts, Scott King retrospectively investigates a crime that haunts the present. In this case why two young boys murdered another child. Now young men, the possibility that they are living a new life, hidden from view, continues to plague those that lived through the events.
Once again it works because King as a character is as much an enigma as the events he is investigating. He seeks answers, but remains as closed off to the viewers as the events he is investigating. I find him fascinating, because of his instinctive ability to burrow beyond the obvious, giving a voice to those who would otherwise remain hidden from view. He holds the story together and his mysterious, closed off world is as fascinating as the events he is looking into. What drives him to uncover why the boys committed such an awful act, why does he rake up the past? Does he believe in justice or is he simply driven by his own inner demons?
What made this, the latest installment in the Six Stories series so incredible to read beside King himself, was the way you never know if the Demon is some kind of demonic possession that drives the madness enveloping the villagers of Ussalthwaite, or if those affected, are simply suffering from some form of mental psychosis. Your mind tries desperately to reason with itself, but there is no denying that somewhere deep in your mind, he taps into the thought that out there in the dark, our worst nightmares are lurking. Matt Wesolowski teases you with your own fears, then reasons with you, until you like the characters, question the balance of your own mind. This is not simple horror, that seeks to just scare you witless with cheap shocks, but a cleverly written story that insidiously buries it’s way into your very being and is all the more delicious and dazzling as a result.
He users landscape to create the backdrop of his story. The caves where evil lurks, the hills where darkness threatens and then the recording studio where light and logic holds sway against our darkest nightmares. We feel safe in Kings world, then he plunges us into houses where darkness pushes against the light and we feel a shiver against the onslaught of the horror that has plagued the village for hundreds of years.
Will King’s investigations bring them peace, you are going to have to read to find out. But if I was you, I would keep the light on!
About the author
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 story 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. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was a bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller. Changeling, the third in the Six Stories series, will be published in 2019.