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Wednesday 28 June 2017

‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski

Published by Orenda Books,
30 March 2017.


In 1996 Derek Bickers and Sally Mullen take five teenagers on an adventure weekend near Scarclaw Fell.  The group are members of an unofficial club, The Rangers, who have taken part in similar outings many times before, but on this occasion one member of the group,  fifteen-year-old Tom Jeffries, goes missing.  The alarm is raised, the area searched, but the boy cannot not be found. 

A year later Harry Saint Clement Ramsay, whose father owns the land around Scarclaw Fell, is in the area with two of his friends when the trio stumble upon Tom’s rotting corpse.  This grisly find converts the missing person enquiry into a suspicious death, and prompts an investigation.  The other members of the group, already traumatised since Tom’s disappearance, now find themselves questioned by the police as potential murder suspects.  The enquiry is thorough, but Tom’s death cannot be conclusively attributed to either misadventure or murder and effectively becomes a cold case.

Fast forward twenty years to 2017 and Harry, still haunted by the gruesome discovery he and his pals made, is contacted by a famously elusive investigative journalist who broadcasts using the pseudonym Scott King.  King wants to revisit the fatal Rangers’ excursion through a series of interviews with Tom’s friends, Eva Bickers, Anyu Kekkon, Charlie Armstrong, Brian Mings, as well as Haris Novak who befriended the group and, of course, Harry.  For a period of six weeks each member of the group will offer their perspective on the events of 1996, and at the end of the series listeners will be invited to consider their verdict on the case.

The author allows the narrative to unfold through the “Six Stories”, interspersed with Harry’s flashbacks and the reporter’s commentary.  Direct speech, reported in the podcast transcripts, injects pace as well as nuance into the story, and the presentation of different, often contradictory, viewpoints creates and maintains interest and tension.  The reader becomes a listener - looking forward to the next instalment/chapter to see what the next guest on the programme will reveal and how their lives have been affected by their involvement in the tragedy.  There are twists and turns in abundance in this refreshingly modern novel and the reader is kept guessing to the end.  A super book, highly recommended.
Reviewer: Dorothy Marshall-Gent

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for children in care and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous magazines and US anthologies. Wesolowski was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at 'Bloody Scotland'; Crime Writing Festival 2015 and his short crime story 'Tulpa' was subsequently published in the Northern Crime One' anthology (Moth Publishing 2015). .Six Stories is his debut crime novel and available through Orenda Books .

You can follow Matt on twitter @concretekraken
 and his blog can be found at

Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties.  She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues.  Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.  

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