#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2020
My day seventeen #bookvent selection is the fourth book in a series that I have been following from the start. Highly original and beautifully written, every single episode (yes, that is a clue …)has delivered such vivid imagery and absolute suspense that it drew me right in. With a perfect blend of mystery, crime and just bouncing around the edges of horror writing, the books are right up my street. I absolutely loved book two and wondered if another could match it. Book four absolutely did capturing everything and every style I love in books. If you haven’t already guessed, you really do need to get out and discover this series, but my seventeenth pick is …
Beast by Matt Wesolowski
A frozen girl
A haunted town
A deadly challenge
Which one is true?
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…
Vampires, and legends and mystery … Definitely a case of oh my … as in Oh! My! God! What a book. I grew up reading horror tales, ghost stories, that kind of thing. Watching vampire movies and tucking into a healthy (or perhaps unhealthy as I was very young) dose of Michael Myers every single Halloween. My A Level extended essay was on classical horror tales including Dracula, so a story that included a vampire legend was always going to get my attention. Matt Wesolowski did not disappoint. From the minute I started reading I was completely lost in the pages and the story of popular Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton and the increasingly bizarre series of challenges she undertakes in a bid to uncover the truth about the ‘Ergarth Vampire’. Add in the fact that she is found in derelict lighthouse – can you think of a more foreboding and creepy location – and all of the intrigue surrounding those accused of her murder, and the scene is set for a brilliantly intense, dark and thoroughly enjoyable read.
It is safe to say that Matt Wesolowski has created something very unique and very, very well crafted with the Six Stories series. Many have tried to recreate the format, but I not sure that any of the ones I have read have ever captured the same kind of authenticity. He really makes the whole thing feel like an interview, each chapter reads like a transcript of the podcast and you can picture the elusive host Scott King as he trails around trying to get to the truth. Not only that though, he manages to convey the tension, the emotion, whilst instilling a real sense of dread as readers slowly make their way through the tangled web of deceit. It is packed with suspense, every page turn leaving you wondering what more he can reveal. But reveal he does. And he makes you care for the characters, but perhaps not the ones you are expecting. There is a real chill in the air surrounding this one, and not just the freezing wind of the Beast From The East that finally claims Elizabeth’s life. If you love a mystery with a supernatural twist, one that creates such stark and chilling imagery and that, no matter where you leave off reading, will leave you with a real need to go ooooohhhhh, then you need to be reading these books. They are fabulous.
If you would like to read my full review of Beast, you can find it here.
Happy #bookvent reading all