Changeling by Matt Wesolowski Orenda Books January 24th 2019
On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. 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 and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying 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 what happened to the little boy…
I was extremely excited to receive my copy of Matt Wesolowski’s Changeling and even more excited when I discovered that I would be opening the blogtour! Definitely a great start to the new year for My Bookish Blogspot.
Oh my word, Scott King is back and this time he was investigating Alfie Marsden, a 6 year old boy who disappeared thirty years ago. Cue the usual vigour to solve the case, yet somehow you sensed a reluctance, a different Scott King, who wanted to take his time, to uncover the actual facts before revealing the truth to his many followers.
And take his time he did, Wesolowski was more measured and controlled in his delivery, his narrative tight and succinct, full of wonderful and at times eerie imagery.
Wentshire Forest pushed its way into your imagination, taking over your mind with its mysterious knocking sounds, its strange and at times ethereal figures that plagued anyone who ventured into its clutches. Beware it may make you never wish to visit a forest again!
Wesolowski’s characters were fantastic, never superficial, never one dimensional but real and believable, with a depth that took you right into their mindsets, and which at times I found downright scary.
As in any good novel Wesolowski started with the minor characters, garnering background on Alfie’s parents, before finally we were introduced to the main protagonists.
One character in particular, stood out and that was the supposed psychic, Anne, the director, directing Scott in his investigations. Her actions and the way she relayed her own thoughts niggled at the back of my mind as I read, as I wondered if she knew more, or just where it would all end.
Other characters provided multiple points of view, as a story of abuse and control slowly unravelled until finally he introduced us to the parents Sorrell and Sonia. I held my breath as Wesolowski gave us an insight into two parents clearly ravished by the loss of their son, but were they telling the truth, who could we believe, a real conundrum that had my brain whirling into overdrive.
As if that wasn’t enough Wesolowski threw in a couple of curve balls before finally he hit me with what I can only describe as one of the most shocking and totally mind blowing twists I have ever encountered. I was definitely not prepared and it took me a little time to process what I had read, but it made sense, it was completely relevant, and in no way seemed forced just for dramatic effect.
Changeling was a novel that will live long in my brain, not just for the dramatic twist, but for the skill of its author, for the mesmerising nature of the narrative and the characters. Having read Hydra I would have to say that Changeling is better, it had all the hallmarks of an author maturing, and developing his craft, of having a deep understanding of his subject matter and an ability to pull in its reader, hold them captive, before letting them go and begging for the next Scott King instalment.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Changeling to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
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 an Amazon 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.