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Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories… 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. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories… 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. Twenty-four-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 Barton'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. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire'… Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society's desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…


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Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories… 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. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories… 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. Twenty-four-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 Barton'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. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire'… Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society's desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

30 review for Beast

  1. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    (3.5) Over the last few years, Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories books have become a winter tradition for me, and last year's Changeling was the highlight of the series so far. Not only was it an astoundingly clever and cunning piece of storytelling, it also brought podcast host Scott King to the fore, integrating the series' narrator into the story ingeniously. I reread it over Christmas, and I still find it astonishing. I mention all this because Changeling was always going to be a very tough act (3.5) Over the last few years, Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories books have become a winter tradition for me, and last year's Changeling was the highlight of the series so far. Not only was it an astoundingly clever and cunning piece of storytelling, it also brought podcast host Scott King to the fore, integrating the series' narrator into the story ingeniously. I reread it over Christmas, and I still find it astonishing. I mention all this because Changeling was always going to be a very tough act to follow, and it definitely affected the way I read and reacted to Beast. This fourth book is enjoyable but, in contrast to its predecessor, does not present a complete narrative or a revelatory conclusion. Instead, it's a very different take on the perspective 'six stories' can provide. In Beast, a provocative piece of graffiti leads Scott to reinvestigate the death of a young woman amid the 'Beast of the East' cold snap circa early 2018. Elizabeth Barton, who was enjoying burgeoning popularity as a vlogger, died of hypothermia after being locked in an abandoned building. This seems to be an open-and-shut case: three men, former classmates of the victim, were convicted. Video evidence and DNA proved they were at the scene. Yet the most disturbing aspect of the case – the fact that Elizabeth was decapitated after her death – has never been satisfactorily explained. And there's the added fact that the building, the forbidding Tankerville Tower, has been the focus of a local vampire legend for generations. There's a strong focus on how government cuts have affected the downtrodden community of Ergarth, and may even have had a direct hand in the murder. As always, some intriguing little threads are worked into the plot, like Jason's animal activism, and Amirah's rant about middle-class vs. working-class use of the term 'chav' (with which I wholeheartedly agree, and I'm so happy to see this perspective make it into a book, however briefly!). However, I also found some elements a bit far-fetched – that widely known and gossiped-about connections between the victim and accused wouldn't have come out in court, for example. I struggled to believe in some of the events in the climactic chapter, and was confused and troubled by the final transcript. This story does some similar things to Changeling: firstly, it suggests that someone close to the case is manipulating Scott, drip-feeding information; secondly, it gradually builds a picture of one pivotal character that differs significantly from the way this person is generally perceived. Yet the results are very different. In Changeling, the stories revealed a powerful truth. In Beast, they only seem to make things murkier. Midway through the final chapter, Scott says he is still 'struggling to get the story straight'; so was I. Yet it seems this is the point. Sometimes there is no real answer. Investigating a mystery can result in confusion rather than clarity. Here, the 'six stories' are not puzzle pieces slotting together, but a jumble of contradictions that overlap and obscure one another. This is, in its own way, as important a lesson as the one we learned in Changeling, but it is certainly less satisfying. TinyLetter

  2. 5 out of 5

    Louise Beech

    Oh my God. I get so excited when a Wesolowski comes out and he always goes RIGHT TO THE TOP of my book pile. And this was worth putting everything aside for. He is a genius. He always takes a traditional legend or tale and tells it with a shocking or surprising modern day slant. This time we have vampires. And boy, do they live among us. That is ALL I will say. I can't believe I'll have to wait another year for his next one! WRITE FASTER MAN!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shalini

    WHAT THE FREAK!! This was bloody brilliant, if I may say so. Matt Wesolowski is one mad-hatter with a concept so far out that I was blown out of my F mind. I started with this book before I went back to read book 1. A girl frozen to death and three accused with 6 witnesses and a journalist with his own crime podcast were all in this book. 6 stories from the witnesses and I was capitulated into a different world so away from my reality. My first book by this author, I bought the first 3 books, WHAT THE FREAK!! This was bloody brilliant, if I may say so. Matt Wesolowski is one mad-hatter with a concept so far out that I was blown out of my F mind. I started with this book before I went back to read book 1. A girl frozen to death and three accused with 6 witnesses and a journalist with his own crime podcast were all in this book. 6 stories from the witnesses and I was capitulated into a different world so away from my reality. My first book by this author, I bought the first 3 books, which I hoped to read before my tour date as the story and its conceptualization shook me apart then brought me back. The whole book gave me an eerie feel like I was being observed. Not many authors can bring out the creepy aura well, I had to admit, at the end of the book, that the author did creepazoid well. The story coursed the imaginary boundary between real and supernatural well, I was left in a swirling maze from where I knew not whom to believe in. A truly compelling read, giving the other side of social media and its fake world, the writing captivated me and brought out a weird craving that I need more of this author's books. Matt's books would be best appreciated in the audiobook format, so I went ahead and bought the audiobooks 2 and 3. Sheesh, am I obsessed or what?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Goodness gracious me. What do they put in Matt Wesolowski’s food?! Another year, another episode in the absolutely brilliant Six Stories series. If you’re not reading this series, I’m judging you like you wouldn’t believe. And if this fourth book in the series doesn’t get under your skin and make you think about the truly warped-up world we live in these days, there is something really wrong with you. Scott King, our not-so-much-elusive-anymore online podcaster, travels to the, quite frankly, Goodness gracious me. What do they put in Matt Wesolowski’s food?! Another year, another episode in the absolutely brilliant Six Stories series. If you’re not reading this series, I’m judging you like you wouldn’t believe. And if this fourth book in the series doesn’t get under your skin and make you think about the truly warped-up world we live in these days, there is something really wrong with you. Scott King, our not-so-much-elusive-anymore online podcaster, travels to the, quite frankly, utterly miserable town or Ergarth to delve in to the case of Elizabeth Barton’s death. Elizabeth was twenty-four years old and a successful and popular vlogger when she was found murdered inside, what locals refer to as, The Vampire Tower. Three young men were found guilty of her murder. The “who” seems to have been solved, but what about the “why”? Murder, a vampire legend and a young dead woman at the centre of it all. It has all the ingredients of a gripping thriller right there, doesn’t it? But there is so much more to it than meets the eye. Beast is a story of hidden truths, of secrets, of labels and masks and more than anything, of the most horrific manipulation and Matt Wesolowski once again manages to prove that the monsters we all fear are sadly very much real. It brings to the fore the power some people are able to exert over others, the power of social media and the growing dangers of modern society’s almost unhealthy obsession with “likes” and “followers”, while all the while showing that most people will only see what they want to see. Obviously I don’t want to give anything away but there is something to be said for an author who somehow makes a reader feel compassion for those who at first glance don’t seem to deserve it. Beast is immensely compelling and a true page-turner with each of the six stories and points-of-view giving the reader an opportunity to try and figure out for themselves what went on in the tower that night and why. I had a bit of an inkling but the truth ended up being far more devastating than I could ever have imagined and at the end of this thrilling ride, what I was left with the most, was this overwhelming feeling of sadness. This is one of those series that just keeps getting better and better. With impeccable writing, believable characters and folklore combined with a modern scenario, there is so much to love about Beast. Dark, disturbing and thought-provoking, Beast is an impressive addition to the series; a must-read like its predecessors, and you’d better believe you’ll be seeing this book on my list of “books of the year” in December. Just outstanding! Way to kick off my year in style, Mr. Wesolowski. I can’t wait for more!

  5. 5 out of 5

    The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).

    This review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... Six Stories is a popular podcast hosted by Scott King. The premise is simple, six stories from six different people all with links to a specific case told over six episodes. King uses the podcast to look into cold cases and unsolved mysteries where he delves deep in search of answers to unanswered questions and the truth surrounded the case. Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series. This review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... Six Stories is a popular podcast hosted by Scott King. The premise is simple, six stories from six different people all with links to a specific case told over six episodes. King uses the podcast to look into cold cases and unsolved mysteries where he delves deep in search of answers to unanswered questions and the truth surrounded the case. Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series. If you have read any of the previous books (Six Stories, Hydra and Changeling) then you will know what to expect and Beast doesn’t disappoint, once again finding Wesolowski on addictive, chilling and macabre form. If you are new to the Six Stories series then what you get is something atmospheric, clever, fresh and unique. Each ominous offering leads you on a compelling journey down dark paths and through stormy waters with a palpable sense of creeping unease that courses through the pages. Each Six Stories book is a single self-contained case told over the featured Six Stories series in each individual book and can easily be read as a standalone. I will say that there are certain events that have happened to Scott King throughout the series that, in Beast, he does allude to and mention but, it doesn’t impact the case and it isn’t necessary to have read the other books in the series. Beast is set against the backdrop of the Beast from the East storm that ravaged the UK in 2018. In the small coastal town of Ergarth on the Northumbrian coast, there is a local legend of the Ergarth Vampire. During the storm with the wind howling, the snow falling and the temperature dropping below zero twenty-four-year-old local vlogger Elizabeth Barton was taking part in the Dead in Six Days Challenge that was sweeping through the youth of Ergath. Elizabeth was imprisoned, locked inside Tankerville tower dubbed by the locals as ‘The Vampire Tower‘ where hours later she was found frozen to death. Three young men, former classmates of Elizabeth were convicted of the crime, admitting that it was a prank that went fatally wrong and that ended with the devastating loss of innocent life. So, in Beast we know who killed Elizabeth but, what we don’t know is the why? What were the motivations, what roads led to that fateful night at The Vampire Tower and what would drive three individuals to commit such a heinous act? Over the course of Beast, Scott King speaks to six people all with ties to Elizabeth, the killers and Ergarth. Each individual account and each perspective adds to the overall story. Pulling back the mask, lifting up the veil and revealing the face beneath, for both Elizabeth and for the convicted trio. Looking at those involved, at Elizabeth, her online persona and who she really was, making you question if they are the same or not. At the killers, who they are, their backgrounds, the relationship between the three and what ties they had to Elizabeth. And, finally, the legend of the Ergarth Vampire, what it was born from and how it impacts the town. Interspersed with the six podcast episodes you also get to see the research that Scott has done on the case and snippets of Elizabeth and her YouTube channel too. The addition of social media to the story makes Beast relevant to today’s society. How we fall under its spell, how people are desperate for attention, how they will do anything to be famous, striving for their five minutes of Internet fame and how they push the boundaries ever further in their pursuit of comments, likes, follows, subscribers and the adoration, the validation of strangers. How ruthless they can be in their goal of getting to the top, how they control people, use and manipulate them. The Internet crazes that are prevalent in today’s society, that are rife in the youth culture amongst the attention junkies who crave their next fix of fleeting fame. You see how far a person is willing to go to be popular and to be seen to fit in by participating in whatever is deemed to be the latest ‘cool‘ Internet craze. The setting and the sense of place that you get whilst reading Beast is tremendous and you are transported to the rundown coastal town of Ergarth. Ergarth is a claustrophobic small town where Tankerville Tower ‘The Vampire Tower’ a decaying monolith on the outskirts casts a forbidding shadow over the whole town. It is an area that has been forgotten by the government with no money and no jobs available. It is a place where life has been drained, leeched away, bleak and drab where the colour is muted and has turned to grey. It is a community where everyone knows each other and where gossip and rumours are rife. It is a town with history, the Ergarth Vampire a story that has been passed down through the centuries and from one generation to the next. As the disturbing darkness unfolds you have the old and the new, local legend, fable, folklore and myth of the Ergarth Vampire combined with social media, perverse Internet games, modern life and real-world issues in an unholy union. With Beast it is like the line between fiction and reality is blurred, like you are standing on the boundary between two worlds and have one foot on the side of ‘story‘ and the other on the side of ‘it’s real‘. It’s a book, a story, a work of unsettling fiction, you know that, a stone-cold and sinister creation from the Dark Prince of Orenda Books. But, at the same time, you have a feeling that you can’t shake, a spectre that whispers in your ear that what you are reading is real, that those souls tangled in the story are real and that it all really happened. Due to that, after finishing and when you have turned the final page you are left with an overriding sense of poignancy and of sadness for those involved in the powerful and tragic tale. That is something very special and that is the talent of an exceptional storyteller. Simply, I loved Beast and I love the Six Stories series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Van Damme

    I’m pretty sure the format is fairly well known by now, but for those of you who are new to the series: Six Stories is a fictional podcast hosted and created by Scott King. Beast is Scott King’s fourth outing, and I’m here to tell you: I’m ready for however many more Matt Wesolowski can come up with! As always, Scott King talks to six people who each tell him (and us) their story, their side of the events. The case at hand seems pretty cut and dried, rather black and white, a girl is dead and I’m pretty sure the format is fairly well known by now, but for those of you who are new to the series: Six Stories is a fictional podcast hosted and created by Scott King. Beast is Scott King’s fourth outing, and I’m here to tell you: I’m ready for however many more Matt Wesolowski can come up with! As always, Scott King talks to six people who each tell him (and us) their story, their side of the events. The case at hand seems pretty cut and dried, rather black and white, a girl is dead and her killers are in prison, but each story adds more and more shades of grey, until the sixth and final episode of the podcast is done and dusted and you’re some place completely different than where you started out, feeling exhilarated and bereft in equal measure and more than a little flabbergasted. If you want to read Beast because you have a thing for vampires or whatever, but you haven’t read Six Stories, Hydra or Changeling, go right ahead! It can be read as a standalone, there’s some hinting at a reveal in Changeling, but there are no actual spoilers to ruin the fun should you want to go back to any of the previous three novels. No judgement of any kind, but you really REALLY should! As usual there’s a supernatural element, in Beast it’s a vampire. The little town of Ergarth has its own vampire legend and everybody knows somebody who knows somebody else whose cousin / babysitter / granny has had a chance encounter with said vampire. Legend has it this vampire is female and originally from Siberia, so with the ‘Beast from the East’ snow storms and everything it’s not that difficult to imagine that the Ergarth vampire is back with a vengeance. To that backdrop, Ergath vlogger Lizzie B is entering the Dead in Six Days Challenge: the new internet craze where you get a challenge from an unknown phone number, supposedly the vampire’s, and you take the challenge, film it and post it online. Afterwards you get a next challenge which you’re supposed to set to someone else, but Lizzie has decided to carry out all six challenges herself, after which she’ll meet the vampire and die! Well not really. Except that she does die. She’s found naked and frozen to death in the infamous Ergath ‘Vampire Tower’. The vampire? A prank gone wrong? Things are never quite what they seem in Six Stories but if anyone can get to the bottom of it, it’s Scott King. In whatever format, this is a fantastic series, I always go in with the highest expectations and still each new novel manages exceed them. Novel after novel, Matt Wesolowski succeeds in grabbing my attention from the very first page and keeping me at the edge of my seat throughout. Like its predecessors, Beast got under my skin, it set its claws into me and hunkered down. With the audiobooks I kept making up chores to do so I could keep listening. This Beast paperback had the opposite effect: I went out of my way to escape any kind of adulting, I wanted the world and everyone in it to leave me alone with the Beast from Orenda Books. Beast is a flawless thriller but once again Matt Wesolowski does not hesitate to turn the spotlight on human flaws: the need for attention, to be liked and to get likes, the total disregard for other people’s feelings, and snowball effect that may have. Creepy, edgy and dark, Beast is another must-read and a fabulous addition to your Orenda collection and/or any decent thriller collection!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne (It's All About Books)

    Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour next month!! (February 21st) SPOILER: I bloody loved it!! And I'm not sure yet how I'm going to write a review that actually does it justice... xD

  8. 4 out of 5

    The Coycaterpillar Reads

    What an absolute Beast! Fist bumps all round to Matt Wesolowski. The premise of a pod cast that investigates true crime is always going to warm my soul. This is my first rodeo reading this author, but it will not be the last. I’m going to immediately order the six stories series. Rest assured you can read this as a standalone, I did, and I didn’t find myself grappling for more back story information. This book has everything to get you through the remainder of the cold winter dark nights. What an absolute Beast!  Fist bumps all round to Matt Wesolowski.  The premise of a pod cast that investigates true crime is always going to warm my soul.  This is my first rodeo reading this author, but it will not be the last.  I’m going to immediately order the six stories series.  Rest assured you can read this as a standalone, I did, and I didn’t find myself grappling for more back story information.  This book has everything to get you through the remainder of the cold winter dark nights.  Vampires, a grisly murder and a podcast series that will send chills ricocheting down your body. Horror is right up there in my favourite genres but quite often the stories are regurgitated with samey plotlines, disappointing conclusions and it all just leaves me feeling jaded.  The author has created something really quite original, I definitely haven’t read anything like it before.  The opening instantly had me licking my lips and fighting a giddy feeling that this was going to rock my damn boat.  Beast is like a vivid nightmare.  The sweat beads at your temple, you rock back and forth, you will yourself to wake up but at the same time you really don’t want to.  I was transported to Ergath and I was transported to the dark underbelly of poverty, despair and a deep-seated horror that I just couldn’t get enough of!  Podcasts are simply amazing.  If I’m not reading a book or listening to an audiobook, then I’m listening to a podcast.  They are informative, we have a great selection at the tap of a finger, it has never been easier to be instantly entertained.  The Scott King podcasts are top tier level.  Scott King delves into true crime cases that spark his interest, he’s influential and can connect with his interviewees on a personal level.  Imagine an empty room – no furniture, blinds drawn, and walls covered floor to ceiling in newspaper clippings, internet printouts, victim and perpetrator photographs.  An incident room.  He’s immaculate.  It’s split into six episodes/interviews from six people directly involved with the victim of the crime.  You get their take on the crime and the victim and perpetrator, you get the whole spectrum, good and bad.  Let me make this absolutely clear this is a podcast that yanks at your attention as you weigh up the different points of view.  Beast will turn you into just that – a hungering beast clawing at every bit of evidence, every scrap that Scott King will throw at us.  The story is an intriguing one.  The beast of the East snow storm of 2018.  A dead vlogger.  A dangerous following.  An old tale of Vampires.  Three culprits.  A foreboding tower. The darkness this story creates is threatening and ever lingering.  It creeps up on you and you don’t notice until it’s too late.  Supernatural or something far darker, something more human?  Well I guess you’re just going to have to read the book/podcast.  Beast Is a richly immersive and deeply haunting that catapults you into a world of intrigue, fear and terrifying monsters.  An avid blend of nightmare and mystery.

  9. 4 out of 5

    James

    This is the fourth novel in the author’s Six Stories series and once again we’re with podcaster Scott King as he investigates a mysterious event over six episodes, in each one speaking to someone with a different perspective of what occurred. King has journeyed to the small town of Ergath on the north east coast of England, to investigate the grisly murder of Elizabeth Barton, a beauty and lifestyle YouTube vlogger. Elizabeth was participating in a viral internet challenge, the Dead in Six Days This is the fourth novel in the author’s Six Stories series and once again we’re with podcaster Scott King as he investigates a mysterious event over six episodes, in each one speaking to someone with a different perspective of what occurred. King has journeyed to the small town of Ergath on the north east coast of England, to investigate the grisly murder of Elizabeth Barton, a beauty and lifestyle YouTube vlogger. Elizabeth was participating in a viral internet challenge, the Dead in Six Days challenge, where participants were set a dare by a vampire. They had to do the dare and then pass it on, or the vampire would own their soul. But Elizabeth refused to pass on the dare, wanting to do each dare herself until the sixth day when she would supposedly meet the vampire herself. Ergath has a local legend of its own vampire, supposedly brought to the town during the Crimean War and imprisoned in a tower, the ruins of which still stand on the seafront. Elizabeth’s involvement in the Dead in Six Days challenge takes place to the backdrop of the town’s mythology and occurs during the Beast from The East – the frozen weather front which came in from Siberia in 2018 and froze sections of the UK. Each of the dares that Elizabeth is set during the challenge becomes a little more extreme until she is meant to meet the vampire in the tower. It is here that she is locked inside by three local young men, dies of hypothermia, and then one of them beheads her. Throughout King’s investigation it is never really in doubt who killed Elizabeth Barton. The evidence against her killers is overwhelming. But the questions that King wants to discover is why they killed her, and if possible, the men’s differing levels of culpability. To do this, he is soon looking into both killers and victim and discovering that not everything is what it seems. The story has always been that Elizabeth was a beautiful, popular, and kind person involved in charity work; her killers’ oddballs and loners. That Elizabeth’s killers murdered her at least in part due to jealousy (the other reason being that one of them believed her to be a vampire). But King soon finds other perspectives, that Elizabeth had secrets and that the killers were not the cardboard cut-out villains they had been portrayed. Beast is a complex novel. There are elements of horror with the legend of the vampire, but that is not what this novel is really about. Rather, Beast is about social media, the pressure to conform, the pile in and witch-hunts that can occur on social media platforms, the challenges and games people can play on social media (and how sometimes these are hyped up in press scare stories). It is also about small towns hollowed out by deindustrialisation, and how the poverty and lack of services that plague such places can lead people to spiral out of control. This is a great read and the Six Stories series continues to impress.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    *Holds on to breaches and rolls from heal to toes* Well, what do we have here? Another chilling Wesolowski rollercoaster, that's what we have. How does he do it? It's an unbelievable talent it is, through the use of his words Matt executes an unsettling read that entwines aspects of societal issues with the snowy covering of horrifying warpness! Through multi-narration, including that of Scott King and six individual's close to the victim in question - YouTube channel host, Elizabeth Barton, as *Holds on to breaches and rolls from heal to toes* Well, what do we have here? Another chilling Wesolowski rollercoaster, that's what we have. How does he do it? It's an unbelievable talent it is, through the use of his words Matt executes an unsettling read that entwines aspects of societal issues with the snowy covering of horrifying warpness! Through multi-narration, including that of Scott King and six individual's close to the victim in question - YouTube channel host, Elizabeth Barton, as well as segments of this channel, an eerie deathly journey has been created, a cold case has been drawn out of the shadows and investigated with the use of a podcast format. Personally, for me, the format in which Matt pens his novels is something uniquely special, it merges both my love for podcasts, crime and reading. Another reason why I absolutely love the creative format in which Matt writes, is that each 'episode' introduces a new character, that allows the story to unfold that little bit more with their own independent voices. This is a read that I also can't wait for in Audible - it'll be superb, I just know it! The reader is immediately drawn into a chilling setting, both in weather and nature as we visit the small derelict, lonely town of Ergarth. A town that has been built on a haunting folklore that has been echoed throughout many of its generations. Beast quickly rolls from intriguing to super dark and twisty really fast, blink and you'll miss the separating line! While reading, you can't help but feel like you're there, in Ergarth, you can feel the frost biting at your skin, flowing through your veins. With each chapter, the frozen hold upon the reader gets tighter, you can feel yourself becoming more chilled to the bone as you submerge yourself further into the unnerving literary depth, where waves of sinister details, revelations and themes will wash over you. The true fear that Matt encases within his novels are of necessary subjects that flash fire through the online world, whether it's trends, trolls or individual desperation to fit in. Matt's incredible talent to create a novel is awing, his ability to steer the reader in the exact directions he wishes is brilliant and his writing is fantastic. His writing is very much when fiction meets reality, especially when he highlights that our lives have become a spider web of likes, followers, 'instagrammable' expectations with a slue of detachment of personal validity isn't based on these factors. The concept is absolutely haunting, with it's subtle unfolding storyline it provides a sinistrous entrée of a warped treasure that will keep you on your toes as your reading appetite is satisfied with a contemporary take on classical horror. Sounds like your sort of thing? Damn right it does, it's great and you should absolutely grab a copy!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Any one who is familiar with the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski will expect this current edition to be brilliant. And they would not be wrong. Brilliant, terrifying (in more ways than one), and insightful. It also brought back the terror of high school and wanting to fit in. As one who went to several schools, I am extremely familiar with that feeling. And extremely familiar with the Elizabeths of this world. I adored each and every interview and how each one advanced the story. You will Any one who is familiar with the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski will expect this current edition to be brilliant. And they would not be wrong. Brilliant, terrifying (in more ways than one), and insightful. It also brought back the terror of high school and wanting to fit in. As one who went to several schools, I am extremely familiar with that feeling. And extremely familiar with the Elizabeths of this world. I adored each and every interview and how each one advanced the story. You will end up miles from the beginning by the last chapter. Already looking forward to the next episode of six stories and this edition hasn't even gone cold yet.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Visit the locations in BEAST the novel Just when you think it's safe to venture back onto the Northumberland coast and moors.... Six Stories is a series that just keeps getting better and better. This arrived just before Christmas and I immediately wanted to dive in. Vampires and legends in Northumberland? Yes please? A vlogger found in a pele tower? A youngsters prank gone wrong? The blurb says the book will look at our obsession with needing attention on social media so there's the modern Visit the locations in BEAST the novel Just when you think it's safe to venture back onto the Northumberland coast and moors.... Six Stories is a series that just keeps getting better and better. This arrived just before Christmas and I immediately wanted to dive in. Vampires and legends in Northumberland? Yes please? A vlogger found in a pele tower? A youngsters prank gone wrong? The blurb says the book will look at our obsession with needing attention on social media so there's the modern angle. Old folklore mixed with modern day life? Bring it on. The mystery is quickly established and like in the other books, the podcast king examines the story, legend, witnesses and more. It's impeccably researched and set up and reads very realistically - just like a true podcast. The language, turn of phrase and observation of what teenagers get up to are all nicely done. There's LOTS here to admire. I'm not going to say much about the story as like with the others, you have to read and discover the threads for yourself. The mystery deepens, the legends explored, the vampire stories come to the fore. Think Whitby, rituals and the dark side. Bram Stoker and Dracula get mentions and team that with the wild North Sea, the rocks, the raw coastline and that lonely tower silhouetted against the rich winter sky. There is SO MUCH TO LOVE and FEAR here. Gothically inspired and deliciously dark. I had all the feels, the chills, the horrors mixed with excitement and trepidation. Visually stunning and chillingly complex. 5 stars are not enough.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Between The Pages Book Club (Gemma M)

    I have been waiting for so long for this book I just couldn’t wait to read it and had to sneak it in before the end of the year. Boy I was not disappointed. Kept me up late into the night reading it. I am absolutely loving this series, it just gets better and better doesn’t it? Very happy. Very impressed. The perfect book to end the year on. As usual brilliantly written, gripping, thrilling and chilling. A real page turner. I was hooked. I needed to know the answers as much as Scott. The outcome I have been waiting for so long for this book I just couldn’t wait to read it and had to sneak it in before the end of the year. Boy I was not disappointed. Kept me up late into the night reading it. I am absolutely loving this series, it just gets better and better doesn’t it? Very happy. Very impressed. The perfect book to end the year on. As usual brilliantly written, gripping, thrilling and chilling. A real page turner. I was hooked. I needed to know the answers as much as Scott. The outcome I could not see coming at all, a true shocker. Unexpected. Truelly. Shocking. A brilliant look back into the death of Elizabeth Barton. We get a glimpse into all sides of this character and some ain’t pretty. As they say not as they appear or seem. A well deserved five stars from me and another late one slipping into my top twenty of the year. Cannot recommend this enough. I could say so much more but know a lot of my followers plan to read this or are currently reading it. Enjoy. So when’s the next one coming Matt? I think I may have a long wait…

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mairead Hearne (swirlandthread.com)

    'A frozen girl A haunted town A deadly challenge Six Stories Which one is true?' Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series of books featuring the elusive, online podcast journalist, Scott King. Written by Matt Wesolowski, this series has been longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the year and shortlisted in two categories for Amazon Publishing Readers Award 2019. Published with Orenda Books February 6th, Beast is described as ‘a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller… 'A frozen girl A haunted town A deadly challenge Six Stories Which one is true?' Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series of books featuring the elusive, online podcast journalist, Scott King. Written by Matt Wesolowski, this series has been longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the year and shortlisted in two categories for Amazon Publishing Readers Award 2019. Published with Orenda Books February 6th, Beast is described as ‘a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller…..a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention' Prepare yourself for a dark, dark read folks and, if I’m honest, at times, quite a depressing one, as our obsession with social media is highlighted with a shocking and stark clarity Set in the town of Ergarth on the Northumbrian coast, Beast revolves around the death of vlogger Elizabeth Barton, aka Lizzie B. Elizabeth’s naked remains were found in the bleak outcrop of Tankerville Tower in 2018, during the brutally cold weather that was nicknamed The Beast from the East. “Ergarth is not your typical seaside town….there’s very little of anything, just a grey, rain-flecked cluster of buildings that ends abruptly in a cliff edge where the ruined Tankerville Tower stands; an austere and crumbling monolith square-edged, five stories high, made from thick, dark-coloured basalt and limestone…a Brutalist, black rectangle” Elizabeth’s death was traumatic for the locals. At twenty-four, Elizabeth was well known and, by all accounts, well liked within her community. As a popular vlogger, she had gained quite a number of very dedicated followers with her videos and live streams gaining high numbers of subscribers. Elizabeth Barton was gaining traction online and was been hailed as the next ‘Zoella’. The shocking discovery of her brutally attacked and frozen remains put the towns folk on high-alert. Fingers were pointed, suspicions were raised and three local lads, considered misfits and troublemakers, were charged with her murder. Now, two years later, questions have been raised and the truth behind what actually happened that night in 2018 becomes the subject of Scott King’s latest podcast. “In this series we look back at crimes: cold cases, missing people, the motivations for murder. We rake up old graves. Some of them don’t want to be unearthed though. Sometimes I hit a rock, find an impasse. Sometimes cold cases are called that for a reason. The following is one of those…. Over the next six weeks we are going to look back at the brutal murder of Elizabeth Barton in 2018. We’re going to examine the events that led up to her death from six different perspectives, through six pairs of eyes...” – Scott King Scott travels to Ergarth to meet some people who would have known Elizabeth Barton but also locals who are familiar with the rumours surrounding Tankerville Tower. The old tower, known locally as ‘The Vampire Tower’ casts a dark shadow over the town with many superstitious and wary of the tales surrounding this bleak and desolate place. History recounts the story of a Vampire from the East being locked up there many years back and her ghost now inhabits the ruins, bringing fear and despair to some local folk. Scott attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding Elizabeth Barton’s murder with his own very unique method of questioning and research. Interspersed through the chapters we are introduced to the social media stream of Lizzie B, her last few videos before she was murdered. Lizzie enlightens her followers about an online challenge she was participating in, one that could potentially dramatically affect her numbers and rankings and would take her to the next level of popularity among the online community. This craze encouraged her fans to participate in some outrageous pranks until her final death. But was Lizzie B murdered? Was it a prank gone wrong? Was there darker and more sinister acts at play here? There is a cloak of darkness over Beast, a sense of an ever-present foreboding. As I read I was trying to understand why ANYONE would live in Ergarth. I would have packed my bags and high-tailed out of there in no time. The descriptions of the town create a very strong image of an ominous and threatening place where nothing is as it seems. The Six Stories series will make an excellent book to screen transfer. If Netflix aren’t already on this, they are seriously missing a trick. Matt Wesolowski writes chilling and menacing books. Beast is grim. It is unsettling. It is a wonderfully woven tale…warped, creepy, compelling…downright nasty!!! The imaginative nature of the plot-line, the whole premise behind it, is such a unique concept. Beast (and the Six Stories series) is a contemporary, edgy and unique thriller that will appeal to those who like their fiction to have a sinister and unconventional twist.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beadyjan

    Six stories is a darkly different and daring contemporary thriller series. Beast is part of the six stories series, published by Orenda Books. (They could almost be called Sick stories as they are all dark and devious and pretty much a very modren take on the gothic horror genre) The previous 3 books are, in order, Six Stories #1, Hydra #2, Changeling #3 and Beast is number 4. It can be read as a stand alone book, but to be honest once you've read it and loved it, you're going to be desperate to Six stories is a darkly different and daring contemporary thriller series. Beast is part of the six stories series, published by Orenda Books. (They could almost be called Sick stories as they are all dark and devious and pretty much a very modren take on the gothic horror genre) The previous 3 books are, in order, Six Stories #1, Hydra #2, Changeling #3 and Beast is number 4. It can be read as a stand alone book, but to be honest once you've read it and loved it, you're going to be desperate to read the other 3, so you may as well read them in order. If you're new to this authors work, I envy you, because I had to wait patiently after reading each Six stories novel, for him to write another - You're going to be able to binge read all 4 if you choose to - go for it - enjoy! Six stories is a Podcast series created by online journalist Scott King, who deliberately keeps as low a profile as possible whilst investigating for his popular podcasts, where he takes on a cold crime case from a few years ago. All the stories he chooses link closely to some kind of eerie urban legend and he recreates interest in the crime by interviewing six people who were involved at the time. Thus retelling the story in six different voices - six stories. The authors ability to speak in many voices gives a uniqueness to each and every version of the same event, which at first may seem repetitive but, new facts emerge every time. The books are refreshingly and uncompromisingly up to date. In Beast, Scott King begins to unravel a murder mystery which took place in 2018, during the cold spell we will all remember, which became known as The Beast From the East. In a small rundown seaside town in the North East of England a young, popular vlogger Elizabeth Barton was found murdered in a notorious abandoned building known locally as the Vampire tower. Her frozen stiff body was discovered with her decapitated head on her knee. 3 local youths were convicted of this hideous crime which they continue to insist was merely a prank, which went very very wrong. But they are believed to have been part of a cult. As he begins his investigations it emerges that Elizabeth was taking part in a bizarre online social media craze which went viral, in which participants take part in a series of increasingly weird and dangerous dares. Its so hard to describe the story without giving too much away. So I'll tell you what I can without making any spoilers. The Setting. The Author recreates the stifling, claustrophobic feel of life in a bleak, dying Northern smalltown, which makes Broadchurch seem positively cosmopolitan! Where there is little hope of a good future if you don't have the strong desire to escape or the imagination to carve out a career on-line. Yet there is an ultra contemporary and up to date theme running through the book. Like many run down pit villages in the North East, Ergarth is all boarded up shops, hanging around on street corners and a few staple local businesses around which life, not so much revolves as staggers - in main a former pastie factory, and a nasty, notorious, abbatoir (I will offer a warning here, there is a chapter set in this abbatoir where graphic scenes of animal slaughter made me baulk and skim read this part, If, like me you are sensitive to animal cruelty, you have been warned) The Characters As Scott King interviews 6 people and there are many other characters whose voices join in the storyteling, there are quite a lot of folk to get your head around, but he has this wonderful ability to paint his characters with unique voices and who speak in local dialect with all the Ums and Errs, dialect and swearing which make them seem incredibly real. The Legend This is where the real story lies, an urban myth which may have grown around fact or have been woven from bored minds with too little to do, there is no doubt that the story of the Ergarth Vampire is chilling and macabre and believed by many. This lends a very spooky and terrifying atmosphere to the whole book and you won't want to read it, whilst alone in the house with a howling wind outside. I was going to write just a short review and yet I've rambled on and still haven't said half of what the book made me think and feel. So I'll just say - brilliant, go read it and enjoy but don't expect it to be an easy ride. Thought provoking and clever throughout this book deserves to tell its own six stories.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicki

    Scott King returns in the latest instalment in the haunting Six Stories pod cast series. In 2018 whilst the Uk was caught in the freezing grip of the Beast From The East, the naked, beheaded body of Vlogger Elizabeth Barton was discoved in Tankerville Tower. A crumbling eye sore that stands on the cliff and overlooks the coastal town of Ergarth on the North - West coast of England. Scott had previously looked into the case before but because three young men had already been charged and convicted Scott King returns in the latest instalment in the haunting Six Stories pod cast series. In 2018 whilst the Uk was caught in the freezing grip of the Beast From The East, the naked, beheaded body of Vlogger Elizabeth Barton was discoved in Tankerville Tower. A crumbling eye sore that stands on the cliff and overlooks the coastal town of Ergarth on the North - West coast of England. Scott had previously looked into the case before but because three young men had already been charged and convicted for Elizabeth's murder and nothing had stood out as worth looking into, he had decided that it was a simple open and shut case. Only, now with the mysterious appearance of graffiti on the wall outside the Barton family home, it looks like someone wasn't happy with the original investigation and wants the case reopened. Still struggling with the shocking discoveries that he made during his previous case, Scott cant resist taking a trip to Ergarth and trying to uncover 'Who locked Lizzie in the tower' Six stories told from the perspectives of six people who knew the victim and the alleged killers. Ergarth was one of those towns where everyone knew each others business and all had an opinion on what happened. Unfortunately the three young men Solomon Meer, George Meldby and Martin Flynn who were convinced for Elizabeth's barbaric murder were all misfits and had troubled backgrounds so were badly judged even before the murder occurred. Sadly, wether they were innocent or not, they didn't really have a chance to make anything of their lives. Unlike the perfect Elizabeth's of this world. She had looks, was intelligent, the apple of her parents eye and her vlog posts had thousands of followers, she was the child who could do no wrong unlike her poor brother Jason. Interspersed throughout the book was Elizabeth's vlog posts recounting her activities during her six day challenge. At the start, i thought she was a likeable, fun character but appearances can be deceptive, was she as perfect as she appeared to be or was there a darkness hiding within her soul. I really loved the setting for this haunting story, the tower that all the residents hated and wanted demolished which stood like a rotten tooth on the hill. Spooky Ergarth Dene with its sinister atmosphere, hidden crossroads, vampire legend and alleged vampire grave. The author has cleverly combined a mix of urban legend, folk lore and the modern obsession with social media to produce a totally enthralling, mesmerising mystery. Vivid, relatable characters some of whom were definitely not who they appeared to be, plot twists and turns and a truly chilling conclusion. I was captivated as his words gripped me with their icy fingers and sent shivers down my spine. This is the first book that i have read in this series and i can understand why the books are receiving so many rave reviews. Fortunately i own Six Stories, Hydra and The Changling and look forward to reading them in the not too distant future. I really really loved this brilliant book. Very very highly recommended Many thanks to Anne Carter of Random Things Tours and Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for a arc of this book and the opportunity be take part in the blog tour

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ingstje

    I’m usually hopelessly falling behind reading a series and the general rule tends to be that I’m slacking by the time book 3 comes out. Six Stories is the big exception though, as I read all three of the previous books in the series and I have now devoured the fourth novel Beast. I simply want to read the next one as soon as I possibly can and even with a year in between I’m always eagerly waiting for the new novel to be released. You can read the books as standalones but if you want to know I’m usually hopelessly falling behind reading a series and the general rule tends to be that I’m slacking by the time book 3 comes out. Six Stories is the big exception though, as I read all three of the previous books in the series and I have now devoured the fourth novel Beast. I simply want to read the next one as soon as I possibly can and even with a year in between I’m always eagerly waiting for the new novel to be released. You can read the books as standalones but if you want to know more about the podcast presenter Mr. Scott King himself, you really should start with book 1, Six Stories, and then just keep on going with Hydra, Changeling and this Beast of a book. They are all amazing and this new title is definitely another great addition to the series. The title is quite meaningful by the way when you read this novel, and I can only say that it fits the book like a glove. All of Matt Wesolowski’s stories are presented as mysteries and there’s a touch of the paranormal in every novel and I love it that he always incorporates legends and fables in the stories too, and presents a history to every reader that makes the story all the more real. In Beast he incorporates a vampire legend and it is the perfect backdrop for this grisly murder committed at the most remote, dank, cold place you can imagine. It really is the perfect novel to read in the cold winter months. I could see the Tankerville Tower before my eyes but I could not fathom how a young and sweet girl who tried to give so much to society could find her end there. Ah but in these podcast stories nothing is ever as it seems and secrets are served very cold. The dark side of people never ceases to surprise me. I knew the story was much more complex than initially laid out. I was also quite fascinated to read anything and everything about her three killers. They might have had a questionable history but an arsenist doesn’t make a killer per se, right? Somehow, even with their bad reputations, I couldn’t see them do this. I tossed and turned at night thinking about a reason.. what pushed them so much, how on earth could do this to this lovely girl? Imagine my surprise when I found out. Maybe I would have preferred after all to have heard more from the three young men in prison, or a first person POV on the night she was killed to get even more personal but I was already in rapture to just hear about it and the shock effect was in place just the same. Social media presence plays a big part in this novel and I feel like I’ve woken up to many things that I have never thought about, like all those silly challenges that people do. I had also never even heard of ‘flying monkeys’ before but it exists, and probably more than you realise. The series is brilliantly challenging and the latest addition Beast is an imaginative novel, relevant to today’s day and age. I totally recommend every novel in the series (saves me from answering that question which one is my favorite right). Now, can we skip a few months ahead perhaps so we can hold number 5 in our hands sooner?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl M-M

    Aside from the premise, which even four stories in hasn't lost the capacity to captivate me, the author writes with such detail to authenticity when it comes to the characters - it's remarkable. It also has me googling places, people and events, because he absolutely convinces me that everything is real. It's a testament to Wesolowski's talent as a writer. Wesolowski uses darkness and the depth of inhumanity to create this almost imperceptible layer on top of his stories. No matter which Aside from the premise, which even four stories in hasn't lost the capacity to captivate me, the author writes with such detail to authenticity when it comes to the characters - it's remarkable. It also has me googling places, people and events, because he absolutely convinces me that everything is real. It's a testament to Wesolowski's talent as a writer. Wesolowski uses darkness and the depth of inhumanity to create this almost imperceptible layer on top of his stories. No matter which character, scene or atmosphere - it's always there lurking. You can feel it sift into your very being. Each word is saturated with the expectation of evil, fear and the inevitability of human failure. In this fourth part or episode of the Six Stories series our narrator Scott King has taken a step into the limelight. After revealing his own story in Changeling (part three) he no longer hides his identity. In a strange way it creates a sense of equality between himself and the people he interviews. They are somehow all in the same boat, right? This time we are on the hunt for vampires. We have a victim and her three killers, but do we really know the why? Was she really the lovable influencer with a penchant for having a bit of cheeky fun and saving the world at the same time? Or is there something more nefarious behind the way she tried to garner as many likes, shares as possible, and become famous? Scott King tries to find the truth in the midst of the rumours, half-truths and omissions. It's urban noir soaked in folklore, myth and imperfection of humankind. It's a riveting read. This author never fails to draw me in and keep me enthralled. I know people throw this out there all the time, but this would make a fascinating visual experience. Either way Wesolowksi is always a read I would recommend. He creates the kind of read that stays with you, which isn't an easy feat at all. *I received a courtesy copy*

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alex (PaperbackPiano)

    First of all, it was delightful to read about the North East of England, where I grew up! It’s always a weirdly awesome feeling, reading about somewhere you know – or is that just me? Not only that but having lived through the ‘Beast from the East’, there was a great sense of reality to this book. It made me feel even more invested. This sense of place is one of Beast's biggest strengths. Wesolowski really captures the bleakness of the rugged coastal village of Ergarth and it worked so perfectly First of all, it was delightful to read about the North East of England, where I grew up! It’s always a weirdly awesome feeling, reading about somewhere you know – or is that just me? Not only that but having lived through the ‘Beast from the East’, there was a great sense of reality to this book. It made me feel even more invested. This sense of place is one of Beast's biggest strengths. Wesolowski really captures the bleakness of the rugged coastal village of Ergarth and it worked so perfectly for the story he was telling. I could visualise everything so clearly and could almost feel the biting cold of that snowstorm all over again. Beast has a fantastic conversational tone, being written in the format of podcast episodes. I thought this was a really clever framing device to keep the reader hooked. You can’t possibly put the book down in the middle of an episode! The style makes for a fast-paced read with great flow. I think it would translate so well to audiobook! I really enjoyed all the different perspectives that were presented and the slow piecing together of what happened. As a reader, you begin to question things and doubt what you thought you knew until the ending totally blows you away. Overall, I thought this was a unique thriller that kept me gripped from start to finish. Beast takes an important look at society’s obsession with social media and the need to be ‘liked’, and I’m sure it will make many readers uncomfortable at times. But I highly recommend it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I have been putting off reviewing this book. Why? Because I really don't know what to write. Why? Because whatever I write, I am not going to do the book justice. End of story. I do love this series. It is a highly original series of books, with the common thread of the narrator, or podcaster, Scott King, and the fact that each of the stories are told through a series of six podcasts. And that is where the similarity ends. Every single story has been unique, from the whodunnit styling of the I have been putting off reviewing this book. Why? Because I really don't know what to write. Why? Because whatever I write, I am not going to do the book justice. End of story. I do love this series. It is a highly original series of books, with the common thread of the narrator, or podcaster, Scott King, and the fact that each of the stories are told through a series of six podcasts. And that is where the similarity ends. Every single story has been unique, from the whodunnit styling of the original Six Stories, to the whydunnit of the dark and twisted, Hydra, up to now quite probably my favourite of the previously published books. Then there is the very personal, and chilling Changeling, which marks a turning point for protagonist King. With Beast we are treated to something else again. Set against the backdrop of the 'Beast from the East' storm of a couple of years ago, this is a chilling (literally for the characters - figuratively for us) that feeds into the who idea of the internet generation and the new wave of 'Youtube entrepreneurs' who are famous, notorious even, for simply being online. Being a brand. I love how Matt Wesolowski takes such a relevant and instantly recognisable subject and shakes it up. Moulds it into something far more powerful than the sum of its parts. We've all seen it happen - the whole concept of celebrity culture being dominated by reality stars, Youtubers, and Instagrammers. But is everything we see on screen, large and small, the whole truth, or does the smiles, the make up demos and self indulgent videos hide something far removed than the reality being portrayed? That is the question Scott Kind attempts to answer here. Was the victim in this story, up and coming instafamer and vlogger Elizabeth Barton, as great a victim as she is made out to be. What is the real story if you chip away the perfectly sculpted veneer? I love the way in which Matt Wesolowski crafts his characters. He creates people who are so believable, so relatable, that it adds an authenticity to even the most unlikely of elements in this novel. From the sheep-like followers of Elizabeth Barton, who would do anything to simply be noticed, to the victims of this tragedy, not all of whom are instantly recognisable. He will take what you think you know and turn it on it's head, highlighting the vulnerability in even the apparently darkest of souls. You will find yourself empathising with the most unlikely of people and questioning where the true guilt lies. It's brilliantly poignant at times as well as satisfyingly dark. Threaded into this tragic story of what ultimately amounts to murder, is the whole idea of mythology and legend that rivals and eclipses that of the "Wentshire Witch" or the "Black Eyed Kids" - that of the Ergarth Vampire. It is following a crazy 'Dead In Six Days Challenge' which ultimately leads to Elizabeth's death, but is she the victim of a real vampires curse or something more tangible? I love the way in which the author wove the legend of the vampire into the story, never once intimating the belief that the vampire really existed, but still creating that undercurrent of unease, the sense that someone believed it to be true, that made the hairs on my arms stand up on end. And who doesn't love a vampire legend anyway, right? This is a dark and atmospheric novel, one where you can feel the intense chill of the legend and the storm enter your bones as you read. Matt Wesolowski really does transport you right into the heart of the story through his intense narrative, not allowing you to pause for breath until you reach the end of each breath stealing episode. There is such a varied cast of characters in this novel, so once again prepare to have your beliefs and your surety of what is happening completely challenged. And prepare for some real surprises along the way as the author deals out those tale twisting milestone clues as only he can. It really is something special and despite the fact that the whole book is essentially divided into just six chapters - one per podcast - I never once felt like I wanted to step away from it, although I did have an overwhelming urge to kick the heating up, just a notch or two. Dark, twisted, haunting, atmospheric and brilliant. An en-pointe observation of how a painful truth can be hidden behind the virtual insanity of modern life. And ultimately this is a cautionary tale. Be careful what you wish for. There are certain levels of infamy even Elizabeth Barton would not have aspired to.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Helen Christmas

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I confess to being a 'Six Stories' fan and while the last book 'Changeling' was always going to be a hard act to follow, I was very quickly reeled into the twisted and convoluted saga of 'Beast.' Ergarth (like all locations in Matt's novels) is a chilly, austere place in the north of England, steeped in folklore and its infamous 'Tankerville Tower' (known as the Vampire tower) provides a creepy setting but fated location of the shocking death of a young woman. In 2018 the 'Beast from the East' I confess to being a 'Six Stories' fan and while the last book 'Changeling' was always going to be a hard act to follow, I was very quickly reeled into the twisted and convoluted saga of 'Beast.' Ergarth (like all locations in Matt's novels) is a chilly, austere place in the north of England, steeped in folklore and its infamous 'Tankerville Tower' (known as the Vampire tower) provides a creepy setting but fated location of the shocking death of a young woman. In 2018 the 'Beast from the East' brought sub zero temperatures and icy winds from Siberia. When YouTube Vlogger Elizabeth Barton takes on an internet challenge known as Dead in Six Days, she is locked in the tower, freezes to death, only to be found naked and decapitated. UGH. But while a community is left reeling in shock, a sinister message scrawled on the wall of the family home brings journalist Scott King straight into the furore to investigate. What hidden stories lurk beneath the surface? The first to be interviewed is an emergency worker, the second a friend of the deceased who took part in some of the challenges but alerts us to Elizabeth's 'hidden monkeys' those fans who are quick to defend her online if anyone slights her. There is no doubt Elizabeth has power, a huge online following, where image is important. But it is not until her younger brother, Jason, is interviewed we see a different side. Jason is the iconoclast who presents a different image, the one twist that gives this story an entirely new take. I confess, I did not like Elizabeth. Even in her videos she came across as a hedonistic show off, with the modern day 'internet speak' that sets my teeth on edge - drum roll please - DISD Challenge. Yeah , that's right, I'm going to be... DEAD. IN. SIX. DAYS. Simple as pimple, right? Let's do this. and so on. Reading Jason's story though, I didn't much care that Elizabeth died. For all her grandiose online presence she was a sociopath, cruel and manipulative, someone who picked on the most vulnerable members of society, people who could not defend themselves and for what? To boost her online image? This story has so many angles, from the tortured soul who is the accused, to her followers. But who is the true victim? I admit to being a tad confused by the time I finished but this was nonetheless a thought provoking story that will stay with me for a very long time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Scott King returns in this 4th series of Six Stories. His face and story are well known now ( and I appreciated the nod to people who must have contacted the author after reading Changeling) he acknowledges those who have been helped by hearing his story. What I love about Six Stories is episode is set as a podcast, each story another link in the events of the cold case Scott King has decided to look into. Not solve. Your mind really does the walking through probable events, suspects, sometimes new Scott King returns in this 4th series of Six Stories. His face and story are well known now ( and I appreciated the nod to people who must have contacted the author after reading Changeling) he acknowledges those who have been helped by hearing his story. What I love about Six Stories is episode is set as a podcast, each story another link in the events of the cold case Scott King has decided to look into. Not solve. Your mind really does the walking through probable events, suspects, sometimes new voices want to be heard. There's a sense of unease as I read. A sense of trepidation of what Scott King will uncover sometimes makes for uncomfortable bedtime reading, but that's exactly why I go back again and again. If these episodes were released as 6 novellas over 6 months I would still buy them, so compelling. In this story a young woman's body was found in the derelict tower. Her head decapitated. Hints of a vampire cult. Strange occurances around the tower. Always, there's more to it. The three young men charged with her murder have only ever claimed it was a prank gone. As we follow Scott King through the six accounts of those who were on the edges, we know someone wanted him here. But why? With a history of the beast from the East and weather that helps confirm the stories, can six episodes of Beast be enough to uncover what happened that fateful night?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dale Robertson

    Once again, another superb twisty, creepy tale. This time involving a vampire! Is it real, is it not? Pick up the book to find out. Go on, i dare ya! The writing is brilliant, the story itself intertwines so much i genuinely don't know how Matt kept track of it whilst writing. Whatever his methods, the end product is one of beauty. There's a real lesson in this book about society these days and it hits the nail right on the head. All the books in the series have an underlying message and they are Once again, another superb twisty, creepy tale. This time involving a vampire! Is it real, is it not? Pick up the book to find out. Go on, i dare ya! The writing is brilliant, the story itself intertwines so much i genuinely don't know how Matt kept track of it whilst writing. Whatever his methods, the end product is one of beauty. There's a real lesson in this book about society these days and it hits the nail right on the head. All the books in the series have an underlying message and they are all correct in their observations. Another hit!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series. It could be read as a standalone but I would recommend that you at least read book three – Changeling before reading this. There are no spoilers but you would gain more by knowing what happened to Scott in his past. I do like a novel about vampires and the legend of the ‘Ergath Vampire’ is a chilling one. Especially when it coincides with the very cold weather that the region was experiencing, the nickname the ‘Beast From The East’ has more than Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series. It could be read as a standalone but I would recommend that you at least read book three – Changeling before reading this. There are no spoilers but you would gain more by knowing what happened to Scott in his past. I do like a novel about vampires and the legend of the ‘Ergath Vampire’ is a chilling one. Especially when it coincides with the very cold weather that the region was experiencing, the nickname the ‘Beast From The East’ has more than one meaning in this novel. Lizzie B is the victim, if this was real life she isn’t somebody I would follow on social media, I don’t have time for self obsessed people who thrive on likes across their various channels. I definitely don’t understand the current fascination with unboxing videos on YouTube, but many do judging by how popular they are. Each to their own. But Lizzie isn’t as liked or as popular as we are led to believe, even though she does appear to have many followers. The author shows how she is an expert in manipulation but amongst her supposed fans are some who have a grudge over events that happened before she became an internet celebrity. There are parts of this novel that are unsettling. The control of social media, how fake and shallow it is. How it can be used to bully and create unrest. And how easy it is to hide behind a keyboard. There was also a description of events that occurred in an abattoir that could very easily have made me go vegetarian. I love the way Scott King uncovers the reasons why Lizzie had to die. He never seems to judge, and he doesn’t do it to solve a crime. He just wants to understand and see how those connected feel. The reader isn’t expected to feel sympathy for either the victim or the culprits, just understand why it happened. The Six Stories series has been added to with originality and style. I would love to see it televised and see who would be cast in some fantastic roles.

  25. 5 out of 5

    The Book Review Café

    The Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski is one of my favourite crime series EVER! It’s deliciously dark, extremely imaginative, each book has been beyond riveting. Beast like the other books in the series features modern day themes, combined with darkest folklore, and yet again the author’s vivid imagination propels the reader into a plot that’s marked by an unrelenting bleakness, and yet Beast makes for an all consuming read. Six Stories is precisely that, Six Stories told from the perspective The Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski is one of my favourite crime series EVER! It’s deliciously dark, extremely imaginative, each book has been beyond riveting. Beast like the other books in the series features modern day themes, combined with darkest folklore, and yet again the author’s vivid imagination propels the reader into a plot that’s marked by an unrelenting bleakness, and yet Beast makes for an all consuming read. Six Stories is precisely that, Six Stories told from the perspective of six witnesses narrated in the form of pod casts with online investigating journalist Paul King. I’m not going to rehash the plot details, I think the tagline on the book sums Beast up perfectly “A frozen girl, a haunted town, a deadly challenge, six stories, which one is true?”. What follows is a tense, horrifying read that’s darker than the dead of night. The author has an unique ability to create the perfect setting, Tankerville Tower in the small town of Ergarth is a character darkly atmospheric, and creeping, it’s a place shrouded in folklore tales of bloodthirsty vampires, a place where evil lies. Even the climate is the perfect backdrop for this book, set during the wake of ‘The Beast from the East’, with its plummeting temperatures, the biting winds, it gives the sense that Ergarth is inhospitable, a place you wouldn’t want to visit for the fear of what you might encounter. Beast is very much a modern day tale, and one that highlights, a phenomenon that’s very real, society’s need for validation and attention through social media. The author paints a bleak and disquieting picture of the negative side of social media, it’s disturbing and frighteningly credible. As each pod cast ends, trepidation and dread grows, the darkness of the book pulls you in, holding you in its clutches until the final page. If there’s one thing I love about this series, it’s the author’s ability to write a book that doesn’t fit one particular genre, Beast is no different it has components of horror, thriller and crime with a modern day twist, it’s impossible to second guess where the plot is leading, which for me made this such a memorising read. Each book Matt Wesolowski writes is imaginative, captivating, and cleverly constructed, this is an author who doesn’t rest on his laurels each book is as good if not better than the last. Matt Wesolowski has once again written the epitome of a page-turner. Highly, highly recommended. All my reviews can be found at http://thebookreviewcafe.com

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mandie

    God knows how I have done it, but I have managed to get far enough into my reading to pounce on an Orenda book not long after it was published. And boy am I glad that I managed to read this one as I can happily say that I think it is my favourite one of the series. After all what’s not to love about a book that has a vampire myth at the heart of it?? Downside is that it’s the latest in the series so now I will have to wait for the next one. In this installment of six stories we see Scott King God knows how I have done it, but I have managed to get far enough into my reading to pounce on an Orenda book not long after it was published. And boy am I glad that I managed to read this one as I can happily say that I think it is my favourite one of the series. After all what’s not to love about a book that has a vampire myth at the heart of it?? Downside is that it’s the latest in the series so now I will have to wait for the next one. In this installment of six stories we see Scott King travel to Ergarth to look into the death of vlogger Elizabeth Barton who was killed after taking part in the Dead in Six Days Challenge, an online challenge where you had to complete six tasks over six days or you would meet a vampire and die. As with Hydra we know who committed the crime, what we don’t know is why. The answer to that question may surprise you. After the revelation’s in Changeling, Scott King is no longer hiding his identity and meets with six different people that were either affected by Elizabeth’s death or knew her or her killers. On the surface Elizabeth was a well-liked person who was in the process of setting up a charity to help the homeless. The truth that was being uncovered however may not have been quite as rosy. With the “Beast from the East” myth running through the book, you do have to wonder if what people have witnessed is real or just their imaginations running wild late at night. This book is so much more than myths and murder. With the world of vlogging and the need for everyone to post what they are doing (real or fake) in order to get likes exposed it shows just how people can hide their true personalities to the outside world. Online trolling and bullying are such a reality these days that there is just no escape. In writing Beast Matt Wesolowski highlights just how quickly things can turn to tragedy just because you want to be popular. As I said at the beginning of this review I think that this is definitely my favorite so far but I am really looking forward to what Matt produces next as he certainly has a style that stands out and leaves the reader wanting more.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sally Boocock

    Another incredible six stories from Matt Wesolowski. A tale of a decapitated girl and vampires with a modern twist. A real look at what social media can do. Captivating, gripping and awful but goes to make a great book

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I am such a huge fan of Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series. Set out as podcasts, they are original, clever, dark and gut wrenchingly chilling. ‘Beast’ is book four in the series, they can be read as stand-alones but I highly recommend that you read all of them and in order – a) because they are brilliant and b) because you get the odd spoiler in the later books if you haven’t read the others. In ‘Beast’ Scott King is delving into the murder of popular vlogger, Elizabeth Barton. Her small home I am such a huge fan of Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series. Set out as podcasts, they are original, clever, dark and gut wrenchingly chilling. ‘Beast’ is book four in the series, they can be read as stand-alones but I highly recommend that you read all of them and in order – a) because they are brilliant and b) because you get the odd spoiler in the later books if you haven’t read the others. In ‘Beast’ Scott King is delving into the murder of popular vlogger, Elizabeth Barton. Her small home town, Ergarth, is rife with legends of the Ergarth Vampire and gossip about her cult killers. I always enjoy a crime tale set in a small town. Those environments can be stiflingly claustrophobic, everyone knows each other or thinks they know each other, everyone has an opinion and when you throw in a murder the stage is set for explosive results. Matt Wesolowski captures that inescapable situation perfectly and Scott King delivers the rumours and the gossip to his listeners and let’s them pick apart fact from fiction. I took an immediate dislike to Elizabeth Barton, the Six Stories podcast is interspersed with snippets of Lizzie B’s vlog that she made leading up to her death. And as we slowly find out more about her, the more unlikeable she becomes and her death doesn’t seem to be as straight forward as originally thought. We hear from her parents, her brother, school peers, the teacher of one of the murderer’s and a local volunteer fireman. Each interview slowly gives us more information and detail, and like Scott King’s listeners, we’re able to play detective and come up with our own theories as to what really happened. Full of creepy atmosphere, completely gripping and with ingenious plotting, ‘Beast’ is another spectacular read from Matt Wesolowski.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    What time is it? Time to be horribly upset for another year that I've read the latest SIX STORIES book so quickly I loved the story in this one, loved how it was more than just about a vampire, but about the double edged sword that humans are. Wesolowski did a great job with BEAST. What time is it? Time to be horribly upset for another year that I've read the latest SIX STORIES book so quickly 😭😭 I loved the story in this one, loved how it was more than just about a vampire, but about the double edged sword that humans are. Wesolowski did a great job with BEAST.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Don Jimmy Reviews

    Once again I was left dumbfounded after reading one of Matt’s books. Once again it was only for positive reasons. Matt has hit another home run. He’s smashed it. He’s pulled off another…. OK… you get where I’m going I remember when “the Beast from the East” was happening a lot of bookish people I spoke to were joking about how someone was going to write a book about it. Enter Matt. Matt took “the Beast from the East”, twisted it into a tale of horror, (and I’m not just talking about running out Once again I was left dumbfounded after reading one of Matt’s books. Once again it was only for positive reasons. Matt has hit another home run. He’s smashed it. He’s pulled off another…. OK… you get where I’m going I remember when “the Beast from the East” was happening a lot of bookish people I spoke to were joking about how someone was going to write a book about it. Enter Matt. Matt took “the Beast from the East”, twisted it into a tale of horror, (and I’m not just talking about running out of bread and milk) and executed it perfectly. The backbone of this story is built on an urban legend about a vampire that causes a large snow storm in Ergath. Locals therefore start to believe that another storm can only mean one thing – SHE’S BACK! The format hasn’t changed here so we once again get six stories split relatively evenly throughout, with the bulk of the narrative being told by six people. Our host, Scott, once again leads the line with his questions. The biggest difference this time is that Scott is no longer secretive, and has decided to reveal himself to the public, adding another dimension to how his interviewees act around him. The cast are once again fantastic, each with their own tics and strong personalities. I loved how different they were, and the part that each of them played in the overall story. The story itself is once again brilliant and shows just why so many people love the series. It is perfectly paced, and kept me gripped throughout, my fingers are shredded from all the nail biting I was doing. This is a vampire story to give you the chills but don’t worry, your heart will be racing soon enough. That will warm you up. I have admitted previously that I am not a big fan of horror but there is something about this series that keeps drawing me back in. Once again, I made sure I wasn’t alone in the apartment when reading this. This is possibly the best of the series to date. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Go and get it NOW…. but maybe keep a light on.

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