*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 shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Which one is true?
When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.
Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?
Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…
I am absolutely thrilled to be on this blog tour, as not only did I love Matt Wesolowski’s Changeling, I was recently treated to all five of the Six Stories books for my birthday. It’s safe to say I’m a fan!
For those new to the Six Stories series, first I would strongly recommend starting at the beginning and reading through in order. Each book stands alone in terms of the main story under investigation, but each book also reveals layers of back story about our host, narrator and main character, Scott King.
This series has a unique format that I find utterly compelling: Scott’s ‘Six Stories’ is a podcast in which he takes a high-profile cold case – a murder, a disappearance, a fire – and ‘digs over the grave’, looking at the story from six different angles, six different points of view. Scott interviews six people involved, directly or peripherally, with the case and we readers get the transcripts of his six podcasts featuring those interviews, along with other related research material – newspaper reports, transcripts of tv shows, song lyrics. Scott’s commentary on the information is presented within his podcast format, with no story narrator editorializing the material, leaving the listeners, and readers, to make up their own minds as to what to believe and what might have happened.
That uncertainty and open-ended concept applies to the plots as much as the opinions. Scott repeatedly assures his listeners that he can’t produce answers or definitive ‘truths’. His purpose is to simply rake through the remains, as impartially as possible, and show us aspects of the story that may not previously have been uncovered or understood. Of course, sometimes answers do show up as a result of his digging, resulting in an explosive climactic reveal, but there will always be questions left unanswered, mysteries left to haunt you.
Deity features an investigation into the life and death of Zach Crystal, a controversial pop star who rose to fame from childhood and was known for Neverland-ranch-style eccentricities. Now, some still adore him as a god, while others decry him as a monster, but who is the real Zach Crystal behind the mask and make-up? And does a skeletal, antlered figure really haunt him and his closest fans? Scott puts on his most neutral, objective professional mask and begins to (metaphorically) dig up the grounds of the infamous Crystal Forest, to see what bones he can turn up, and his listeners won’t be disappointed. Sickened. Horrified. Saddened. But not disappointed.
Woven into the story of a pop star on his pedestal are some very current themes: #metoo; the license that allows the rich and/or famous to do whatever they want; our tendency to believe what we want to believe, regardless of evidence; spin and propaganda; the corruption of power; idols and clay feet. All real problems – mundane, dirty, common – but Wesolowski elevates and twists the issues into something new and arresting, with his signature ingredient: a touch of the paranormal, a hint of the occult, a glimpse behind the curtain of the other.
Matt Wesolowski is a master of subtle, creepy storytelling, and Deity is yet another example of his finest craft. Immersive, haunting and very topical, the Six Stories series is perfect for fans of dark mystery looking for something unique. Personally, I am off to gloat Gollum-style over my precious birthday paperback set, while I wait anxiously for the next in what I hope will be a very long-running series!
Welcome to Six Stories.– Matt Wesolowski, Deity
I’m Scott King.
Over the next six weeks, we’ll be looking back at one of the most polarising scandals of recent times, one that should have opened up the floodgates, made a giant crack in the zeitgeist, made us question ourselves and each other and perhaps galvanised us into questioning how we look at things.
Yet somehow it didn’t.
This was the biggest thing that never happened.
Deity 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!