*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author, Anne Cater and Orenda Books. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A missing child
A family in denial
Which one is true?
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…
Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.
Firstly, I LOVE the Six Stories idea and format. For those new to it like me, the story is told directly to the reader by the main character Scott King and ‘Six Stories’ is his radio segment. His show involves interviewing six separate people with different perspectives on a creepy/controversial mystery and allowing the full story to come together over the course of the run of the six episodes.
In Changeling Scott tackles an old unsolved case of a missing child in a location renowned for strange goings on and unexplained mysteries. Scott himself is not too keen on covering the story, but ploughs gamely ahead into a story that twists and turns with the telling.
The different voices and perspectives we hear throughout the book make this a genuine case of six stories for the price of one, as we hear everything from horror story bumps-in-the-night to the more prosaic but equally monstrous human abuse. There are trigger warnings here for those sensitive to domestic coercion and psychological control.
Throughout the story, whilst some facts are resolved, Matt Wesolowski and Scott King leave some of the questions unanswered, or rather, leave it up to the reader to choose their preferred answer from the selection presented.
This is a mixture of classic horror, mystery and a deeply intimate and haunting human story of family, love and control, told in a unique, distinctive style that will keep you enthralled whilst reading. And long after you have put the book down and go about your day, you will tap-tap-tap suddenly find yourself scritchscritchscritch thinking about the story again and tap-tap tap-tap-taptaptapatap wondering…
It’s been thirty years since Alfie Marsden disappeared and his name still carries a faint resonance. Alfie Marsden is no longer the name of a missing boy, he is a euphemism for caution, for keeping your children close.
You realise you’re clenching your teeth. That place – Wentshire Forest. The name thrums through you like a heartbeat and you can hear yourself whispering it:
Wentshire Forest, Wentshire Forest, Wentshire Forest.
You’ve heard all the stories about the place. Apart from the missing boy, you know of the strange things that are said to go on in that darkness between the leaves.
You shiver and nearly drop the letter.
Alfie Marsden. It’s a case that’s tailor-made for Six Stories, right?
– Matt Wesolowski, Changeling
Changeling is available on Amazon right now, and don’t forget to check out the other blog stops on this tour for more great reviews and content – poster below!