SECOND OPINION: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Review published on May 10, 2017.

It is not often that a debut can knock you sideways, but Six Stories does just that. It is an original and chilling thriller that keeps you guessing all the way to the end. You could say that Six Stories should fail, being as it features the same story repeated six times, but what you get is a taut, claustrophobic and atmospheric thriller that is utterly compelling. This is a dark suspenseful thriller that will keep you gripped from beginning to end.

In 1997, the body of Tom Jeffries is found on the marshes of Scarclaw Fell and, at the later coroner’s inquest, a verdict of misadventure is found. Not everybody is convinced that this is the correct verdict.

It is 2017, Scott King is an investigative journalist who has a podcast that is popular because he likes to investigate complicated cases, which in turn has made him a cult figure. He decides to look into what happened to Tom Jeffries in a series of six interviews with people who were on Scarclaw Fell to see if he can find the truth about what happened in 1996 when Tom Jeffries went missing.

This involves looking into the group dynamics of teenagers twenty years after the event, when they were nicknamed the Rangers. As their backstories come out, will any of their stories match or will they be completely different? It is a common fact that eyewitness accounts are never the same and suggestions could easily be made as to what they saw and did at the time. How honest will they be in this investigation?

What emerges is not a victim who elicits sympathy, as well as eyewitnesses and friends who are just as unsympathetic and at times annoying. Somehow all these characters get under your skin and draw you in and leave you guessing the outcome. A truly brilliant debut.

Paul Diggett 5/5

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski
Orenda 9781910633625 pbk Mar 2017

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