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…
Another instalment of the increasingly brilliant “Six Stories” series here from Matt Wesolowski, who is fast becoming one of the highest quality writers in the business. His Scott King character is layered, engaging and quirkily relevant in today’s world so every time I open one of these I get a quiver of expectation that is always, always rewarded.
Beast was no exception, I read it as I usually do in one sitting, glued to the page as another deliciously dark drama unfolded. From having a random Salem’s Lot adaptation type scare (Who of my generation DOESN’T remember the whole nails on the window thing) to looking up to ponder how scarily the internet can play into our deepest fears, there was nothing about Beast that didn’t engage me. Also the Six Stories series never fails to make me sleep with the lights on for several nights after finishing one.
Beast is both wildly entertaining and provocatively authentic, the plotting is taut and oft unexpected- the realities it embeds into the narrative whilst telling a ripping good yarn are intelligent and totally absorbing.
Matt Wesolowski creates water cooler moments in fiction seemingly effortlessly, his writing is of the highest standards and with an honest touch of genius.
Love this series. Go read them all if you haven’t already. From the creepy forest to the vampires lair you’ll fall into the world created here and bring a bit of it out with you when you leave.