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Demon

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Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series. In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the worl Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series. In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world. Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity. Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark and fanciful stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act. And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, King himself becomes a target, with dreadful secrets from his own past dredged up and threats escalating to a terrifying level. It becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…


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Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series. In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the worl Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series. In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world. Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity. Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark and fanciful stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act. And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, King himself becomes a target, with dreadful secrets from his own past dredged up and threats escalating to a terrifying level. It becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…

30 review for Demon

  1. 5 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of Demon in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Matt Wesolowski and Orenda Books. Demon is the sixth book in Wesolowski's Six Stories series and in this entry, enigmatic journalist Scott King interviews six witnesses of a horrendous crime that occurred 26 years ago at the quaint village of Ussalthwaite. On his podcast, the crime that the interviewer is looking back at is the ferocious murder of a 12-year-old child with learning difficulties who was kil I received an uncorrected proof copy of Demon in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Matt Wesolowski and Orenda Books. Demon is the sixth book in Wesolowski's Six Stories series and in this entry, enigmatic journalist Scott King interviews six witnesses of a horrendous crime that occurred 26 years ago at the quaint village of Ussalthwaite. On his podcast, the crime that the interviewer is looking back at is the ferocious murder of a 12-year-old child with learning difficulties who was killed by 2 other children of the same age. The "demonic duo" were released in 2002 with anonymity and new identities. Present-day, a member of the public claims to have discovered the identity of one or both of the murderers and is bargaining to sell the information to the highest bidder. Opinions and interest in this famous case have become intense, and now Scott King is raking over the grave of this old crime. Will the majority of the public believe in the rehabilitation of the pair or that retribution for the heinous crime is deserved?  What will King unearth during his exchanges with these 6 individuals? Is it of importance that Ussalthwaite (a fictional town in Yorkshire) has a history that is shrouded in mystery including witches and the supernatural? Also intriguing, what are King's motives for talking about this case now? All in all, I found Demon to be a gripping, engaging, and thought-provoking horror/mystery tale that is presented in an intriguing and addictive way. It's mostly written in the form of an interview with well-timed, informative, and realistic back-and-forths between interviewer and interviewees. The book has breaks that feature letters, e-mails, and social media updates which adds depth and consequence to unfolding events. My uncorrected proof copy was 225-pages long, with each episode being about a sixth of that length, making it perfect to read one chapter per evening and therefore devouring this short but packed novel within a week. Each episode adds layers and new angles to what we understand about the case so far. It's interesting to discover each guest's role in the story, and also what their motives are, and whether they have any demons themselves. Demon is dark, sometimes gruesome, occasionally featuring torturous happenings and Wesolowski himself warns readers that distress may be caused to some as there is fictional violence to children and animals. I haven't read any of the other Six Stories books prior to reading this one and can confirm that it works perfectly as a standalone. I am sure I would have had a heightened reading experience if I had read the previous series entries but even without the back story about Scott King or how this links into the overarching Six Stories world, I'm still rating this an extremely positive 8.5/10. At some moments, King does allude to his dark past and events that have happened to him before, and I wasn't upset that I didn't understand the references, in fact, it intrigued me to the extent where I'll probably go back and work my way through the series. Reading Demon was a captivating and rewarding experience especially as I'm sure I had my amateur sleuth hat on throughout my time reading, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together myself before King or a guest reveal something of importance. The novel doesn't wrap up neatly, leaving a lot to the reader's interpretation. What influence, if any, was down to the supernatural is something I was thinking about throughout but I won't mention how that sits at the conclusion. It isn't disappointing that it doesn't end neat and tidy but it means that you'll probably be thinking about this story and the possibilities long after finishing it. I can't get some of the characters and events out of my head. I was thoroughly impressed with Wesolowski's format, writing, and the complexity of this dark tale.

  2. 5 out of 5

    booksNpenguins

    The village of Ussalthwaite itself had a brief flirtation with ironstone mining in the mid-1800s, before the rock went dry. The industry finally left in the 1920s. Just a spatter of the mining cottages remain. There are remnants scattered in and around Ussalthwaite from its industrial past; the shadows of trams and railways wind past ruined chimneys and monolithic slag piles. Hay meadows now encroach on the remains of pump houses, and the metal grates that seal the ancient pits are grown over The village of Ussalthwaite itself had a brief flirtation with ironstone mining in the mid-1800s, before the rock went dry. The industry finally left in the 1920s. Just a spatter of the mining cottages remain. There are remnants scattered in and around Ussalthwaite from its industrial past; the shadows of trams and railways wind past ruined chimneys and monolithic slag piles. Hay meadows now encroach on the remains of pump houses, and the metal grates that seal the ancient pits are grown over. This land is good at forgetting. Its people? They wish they were. I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW GOOD THIS WAS! What I totally can believe, though, is Wesolowski making it into my top 5 authors of all times. I know it's basically just a little spit in the vast ocean that is fandom life, but seriously, I've never devoured or waited for a book to come out in my life like I do MW's. Atmospheric, gothic, dark and twisty, Demon is another perfect work by one of the most talented storytellers of our generation. Skipping the summary on this one because one of the best things about these books is that they're like small personal gifts you have to unwrap little by little and in the privacy of your own mind. I still have a few questions but I admit I always do after finishing a book from this series. I think it's not the author being lazy or evasive, though. I think the fact that it's "inconclusive" has the purpose to make you think and make you draw your own conclusions. I, in fact, have some theories about certain things that happen and I like to think I'm right, and knowing the explanation would probably not be the same as the one I'm thinking, would definitely lower the quality of my experience. So...Yeah, this is one of those rare occasions in which doubts and questions are a bonus. All the kudos, Mr W! See you soon, maybe? ACTUAL RATINGS 4,5/5 ---- I totally agree with what many other reviewers and Blair in particular said: it's not winter without a new Six Stories book coming out! (check out Blair's review to get an idea of why I'm so pumped for this book!)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it isn’t winter without a new Six Stories book to get my teeth into. Like its predecessor Deity, Demon deviates slightly from the established formula: rather than a deprived or run-down area, it’s set in a picture-perfect Yorkshire village. Yet this place, Ussalthwaite, has a chequered history, and some believe it to be cursed. The crime Scott King chooses to reinvestigate is notorious: the murder of a 12-year-old boy by two classmates back in 1995. Wit I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it isn’t winter without a new Six Stories book to get my teeth into. Like its predecessor Deity, Demon deviates slightly from the established formula: rather than a deprived or run-down area, it’s set in a picture-perfect Yorkshire village. Yet this place, Ussalthwaite, has a chequered history, and some believe it to be cursed. The crime Scott King chooses to reinvestigate is notorious: the murder of a 12-year-old boy by two classmates back in 1995. With the killers now released (under new identities), the story still stokes debate and controversy. Talking to locals and people close to those involved, King paints a more detailed picture of the victim, discovers tragedy in the past of both perpetrators, and considers questions around punishment and rehabilitation. But this small community is deeply superstitious: there’s much talk of witches as well as rumours of demonic possession. While every book in this series contains suggestions of horror, I feel pretty sure Demon goes the hardest on that front (especially the climactic scenes of episode 3... shudder). At the same time, it also delves the deepest into the ethics of true crime – again, a thread that runs through the whole series, but never more prominent than it is here. Just as Changeling turned out to be about coercive control, or Deity about the corruptive nature of power, Demon explores the problem of what people do, think and say in response to a tragedy such as the Ussalthwaite murder. King struggles with this issue, and the book isn’t necessarily looking to establish a definitive answer. This ambiguous conclusion hints at Demon being the final Six Stories case, at least for now. This being the sixth book, it would, after all, be quite neat. I’d be sad – I’ll be rereading these books forever, and if there were 150 more of them I’d happily spend a year reading nothing else – but Matt Wesolowski probably doesn’t want to write 150 of them, and I’m excited to read whatever he writes next regardless. (In case you’re not familiar with Six Stories: last year I wrote a review of Deity for Sublime Horror that also acts as an overview of/intro to the whole series.) TinyLetter | Linktree

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Another "season" of Six Stories with Scott King and as ever it was excellent. I really could read one of these every week and never be bored. Demon is darkly insightful and thought provoking whilst also being quietly terrifying, playing with concepts both real and imagined that may end up haunting your dreams. The writing is sublime, the sense of the characters you only ever meet in passing is emotionally resonant and the central theme will get you thinking endlessly about crime, punishment and th Another "season" of Six Stories with Scott King and as ever it was excellent. I really could read one of these every week and never be bored. Demon is darkly insightful and thought provoking whilst also being quietly terrifying, playing with concepts both real and imagined that may end up haunting your dreams. The writing is sublime, the sense of the characters you only ever meet in passing is emotionally resonant and the central theme will get you thinking endlessly about crime, punishment and the meaning of the term justice. Plenty of time to ponder all that while you are peering out from under your duvet wondering what might lurk in the darkness... Highly Recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Reads

    You can read my full review on my blog, here: https://rebekahreads.ca/demon-by-matt... You can find my bookstagram review, here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYdG73aLdB2/ huge thank you goes to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for putting together the blog tour for Demon by Matt Wesolowski, as well as to Orenda Books and Matt Wesolowski for the gifted digital copy, which publishes in June 2022 in Canada. To put it simply, I LOVE this book and I cannot wait to go back to the beginning of this seri You can read my full review on my blog, here: https://rebekahreads.ca/demon-by-matt... You can find my bookstagram review, here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYdG73aLdB2/ huge thank you goes to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for putting together the blog tour for Demon by Matt Wesolowski, as well as to Orenda Books and Matt Wesolowski for the gifted digital copy, which publishes in June 2022 in Canada. To put it simply, I LOVE this book and I cannot wait to go back to the beginning of this series and read every other book (which I’m slowly acquiring!). This is such a unique and well-crafted horror series that deserves to be both read and raved about. Demon is the sixth and latest book the Six Stories series written by Matt Wesolowski, featuring journalist Scott King as he interviews six different witnesses of a cold case on his true-crime podcast, Six Stories. In this book, the focus is on what really happened to Sydney Parsons in 1995. 26 years ago, in the quaint, picturesque village of Ussalthwaite, Yorkshire (fictional location), twelve-year-old Sydney Parsons was heinously murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this crime, and the boys who killed him, known as the ‘Demonic Duo,’ were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were each given new identities and lifetime anonymity. Demon, and the discussion that unfolds surrounding Sydney Parsons’ death, is divided into six episodes, predominantly written in interview format consisting of realistic back-and-forths between the interviewer, Scott King, and his interviewees: Penny Myers, Leo Corrin, Will Campbell, Terry Atkinson, Katie Rosen, and Kelly Valentine—who each provide a unique theory to what really happened leading up to Sydney Parson’s death. In between each episode, the reader will also find sections that feature letters and e-mails that add an extra layer of depth and tension to the overall story. Once again, I love this book. Every single thing about it. Each character is unique in their own story, age, characteristics, and even in their connection to Sydney’s death. They all have their own distinct voice and manner of explaining events that make the entire story feel so real and believable. Demon is engaging and thought-provoking, but also a short read that readers will find absolutely impossible to put down! A definite must-read for all crime fiction lovers, especially if you love your crime reads with elements of horror.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Another excellent installment in the Six Stories series. It's a mystery/crime story told in the style of a true crime podcast. Each book shares similar themes and so if you've liked any of the books in the series then this will be a winner! If you don't know the series then I would recommend for fans of mystery / crime / psychological drama / true crime (even though it's fictional it feels very real)... oh and start at the beginning! Another excellent installment in the Six Stories series. It's a mystery/crime story told in the style of a true crime podcast. Each book shares similar themes and so if you've liked any of the books in the series then this will be a winner! If you don't know the series then I would recommend for fans of mystery / crime / psychological drama / true crime (even though it's fictional it feels very real)... oh and start at the beginning!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    [image error] Discover the locations in Demon set in Yorkshire Whoah Matt W - what are you doing to me? This was the most chilling episode yet I think. It had all the horror elements and more. Swarms of flies, unexplained noises and something dark shrouding a small Yorkshire village in mystery and murder. The murder of course is described on the book cover as being one of the most disturbing that has ever occurred. When a child murders another child. It will take some of you back to the early 1990s [image error] Discover the locations in Demon set in Yorkshire Whoah Matt W - what are you doing to me? This was the most chilling episode yet I think. It had all the horror elements and more. Swarms of flies, unexplained noises and something dark shrouding a small Yorkshire village in mystery and murder. The murder of course is described on the book cover as being one of the most disturbing that has ever occurred. When a child murders another child. It will take some of you back to the early 1990s when James Bulger made headlines in the news. The crime in the novel is bad enough but it's the outpouring of grief and media interest that fuels what happens all those years later. It makes for some very interesting conversations and interviews on Scott King's podcast. Such a great way to tell a story and have events unfold. Each character voice is distinct and chilling. Boy, when you realise what someone knows, what someone else is hiding....my nerves were in bits. This had all the excellent hallmarks of the previous episodes but was even more disturbing. The foreboding of darkness, the flies, the unexplained events, the confessions, admissions and what they are not saying...You can hear the fear in their voices. There's such a strong overtone of the occult, witches and dark spells, the unknown and the demon within a person's soul..... In Demon, the podcast presenter takes more of a role if that's the right way of putting it. He is accused of raking up an old case, causing more pain and more besides. But the seed of this crime has roots which twist and burrow deep inside the villagers, those who remember and that dark place in the caves on the hill...... The setting is one of the most graphic and unsettling I have read about in a long while. I might never look at a stone in the same way again. Nor will I ever enter a cave in Yorkshire....

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nicki

    Elusive online journalist Scott King returns in the sixth instalment in the dark, addictive and often thought provoking six stories series. His latest investigation centres around the shocking murder of twelve year old Sidney Parsons who's battered body was discovered dumped in a small stream situated near the isolated village of Ussalthwaite which nestled in the stunning Yorkshire countryside. The crime had caused shock waves to ripple across the nation due to the fact that the perpetrators of Elusive online journalist Scott King returns in the sixth instalment in the dark, addictive and often thought provoking six stories series. His latest investigation centres around the shocking murder of twelve year old Sidney Parsons who's battered body was discovered dumped in a small stream situated near the isolated village of Ussalthwaite which nestled in the stunning Yorkshire countryside. The crime had caused shock waves to ripple across the nation due to the fact that the perpetrators of the innocent young boy's murder Robbie Hooper and Danny Greenwell were also both just twelve years old. I don't know the statistics involved when it comes down to children being murdered by their peers but two cases that did come to mind whilst I was reading this spine chilling story were Mary Bell in 1968 and poor little James Bulger in 1993. I don't think many people would struggle to remember the shocking image of little James being led away from the shopping centre on that fateful day by his two young killers. As in the Bulger case, Demon's fictional killer's Robbie and Danny stood trial,were found guilty,had served their allocated sentences and had been released back into society with new identities. Free to continue their lives and do all the things that their heartless act of violence had deprived their young victim of achieving. The question is, does the rehabilitation of prisoners actually work? Should perpetrators of sickening crimes have the right to live anonymously amongst people who have no knowledge of their crimes? Is it right that citizens like you and me fork out millions of pounds a year to ensure that convicted criminals can sleep peacefully in their beds at night? We all know how well rehabilitation worked for one of Jamie Bulger's killer's don't we? The plot of Demon also raises the age old debate of nature vs nurture, is it possible for a child to be born evil or were Robbie and Danny simply innocent victims of their individual circumstances? What directions would their lives have taken if they had never met and become friends?  As Scott's six witnesses recounted their individual stories, a picture began to emerge like the illustration on a jigsaw puzzle as the various pieces are slotted into their correct locations. It was a picture that portrayed the culture of small mindedness, judgement, bullying, neglect and gossip which resided within both the picturesque village and the outer reaches of civilisation and society. A picture which revealed that no matter how outwardly serene and beautiful a setting might appear, it can still have undercurrents of darkness and suspicion bubbling away below the surface. Scattered throughout the book was letters that were written by one of the killer's which gave the reader an insight into the village and it's residents as seen from that person's perspective. We were taken through the events leading up to Sidney's tragic death and what had actually happened on that fateful day. As with the previous five titles in this extraordinary and addictive series, the author deftly combines realism and fiction with a added dash of the supernatural to produce a story that is dark, mesmerising and thought provoking. Demon is a powerful story that causes the reader to experience a wide range of conflicting emotions and has a jaw dropping,unexpected conclusion that almost caused me to drop my kindle in shock. The author's cast of characters were a eclectic mix of realistic individuals,some more likeable than others. Although Demon is the sixth book in the series and if you want to enjoy this brilliant series to its full potential, it is advisable to read the books in the correct order, it can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone. If I could, I would definitely award this book far more than five stars, chilling, brilliant, compelling and very very very highly recommended by little old me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tripfiction

    Horror mystery set on the NORTH YORK MOORS Another outing for the fictional #SixStories podcast, hosted by Ross King. This time he focusses on the murder of 12 year old Sidney and the two perpetrators, who were classmates and of a similar age. The murder took place in 1995, in the close knit community of Ussalthwaite, near Pickering. The demonic duo, who shocked the world, are now out of prison with new identities, and there is debate whether they are sufficiently rehabilitated. True crime podcast Horror mystery set on the NORTH YORK MOORS Another outing for the fictional #SixStories podcast, hosted by Ross King. This time he focusses on the murder of 12 year old Sidney and the two perpetrators, who were classmates and of a similar age. The murder took place in 1995, in the close knit community of Ussalthwaite, near Pickering. The demonic duo, who shocked the world, are now out of prison with new identities, and there is debate whether they are sufficiently rehabilitated. True crime podcasts are really popular in the real word (I for one enjoy the occasional podcast and am still searching for anything to really top Death in Ice Valley), so it is not surprising that authors are finding ways of transposing the structure into novel form. Demon is no. 6 in the Six Stories series and the author anticipated interest in this kind of storytelling back in 2016, when the first in the Six Stories series was published. (Others are following in the author’s footsteps, including True Crime Story, by Joseph Knox, set in Manchester). As always, the story is well constructed, as the interviewer looks into the past as he encourages experts, locals, and anyone who had some association with the events back then to talk him through their take on the traumatic events. As well as interviews, the author uses all kinds of devices to slide in information, in order to build up a very gothic picture of demonic possession: whether conversations led by the host, letters from a child to the child’s mother, the occasional outraged listener who needs to vent his spleen, and growing media scrutiny. It works very well and the author writes ‘dark’ very well. Now, in the very same place where Sydney’s body was found, a man’s body is found, but the identity is not revealed in the early stages of the investigation. Whatever the cause, however, the significance of the setting is paramount. Gradually the ‘listener’ discovers that Ussalthwaite – on the face of it a beautiful, rural village – has its own very unusual, dark and cursed history, and the players in the latter few years are living their lives on a stage that was set several centuries ago. The setting is suitably dark and unforgiving and centres around spooky disused kilns up on the moors. The author does stress at the beginning that his book contains fictional violence against children and animals that may cause some readers distress and upset.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zoé-Lee O'Farrell

    And that could be a wrap, excuse me why I get a tissue. The way this has ended, well it implies it. I really hope not!! What a way to end the series if it is! I listened to the audiobook of this one and I will admit I didn’t fully concentrate at the beginning so missed a couple of bits. But I soon got back on track and became absorbed in this sad tale of Sidney, Robbie and Danny. You would think the case would focus on Sidney as it is his demise which is why we are here. However, we focus on Dann And that could be a wrap, excuse me why I get a tissue. The way this has ended, well it implies it. I really hope not!! What a way to end the series if it is! I listened to the audiobook of this one and I will admit I didn’t fully concentrate at the beginning so missed a couple of bits. But I soon got back on track and became absorbed in this sad tale of Sidney, Robbie and Danny. You would think the case would focus on Sidney as it is his demise which is why we are here. However, we focus on Danny, predominantly, and Robbie as we look back to the way they were and the days leading up to the unfortunate day. One thing I always love, are the people that Scott interviews. It’s not always people you would think that would have a say in the matter and you always wonder where they fit. Joe Bloggs down the road always has an opinion but just how important that opinion is, well you discover that when you look back at the story. Everyone is picked for a reason, and as a way to move the story along and give you new facts along the way. There is a lot of talk about demons in this story and there are quite a few things that are there to unsettle you. The voices, the singing, the swarms of flies and those black stones. They were creepy and just add to the chill of the book. Things aren’t always what they seem. You have just enough to make you doubt whether this time it is the supernatural at play here. Just enough to question your sanity. There is also the undercurrent of someone threatening Scott and his podcast. Someone does not want this story looked into. I was also hoping for more of a fallout from Deity, but we did have it mentioned, which had me cheering. I really do hope Scott comes back and doesn’t disappear for too long, I am already having withdrawals from Scott and his podcast! Another belter and a strong way to finish the book, with a jaw-dropping revelation. It is beautifully written and as mentioned by other people, there are similarities with the James Bulger case, so this book hits you harder than you could imagine it would. Just fab!

  11. 4 out of 5

    The Book Review Café

    This is one of my favourite times of year, forget Christmas! It’s all about Six Stories, and it’s time for another thrilling instalment in this dark series from one of the most exciting and original voices in crime fiction. Demon is book six in the chilling Six Stories series, and Scott King’s investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where 12-year-old Sidney Parsons was murdered in cold blood by two children. Part mystery with a hefty dose of the supern This is one of my favourite times of year, forget Christmas! It’s all about Six Stories, and it’s time for another thrilling instalment in this dark series from one of the most exciting and original voices in crime fiction. Demon is book six in the chilling Six Stories series, and Scott King’s investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where 12-year-old Sidney Parsons was murdered in cold blood by two children. Part mystery with a hefty dose of the supernatural thrown in, Demon is a creepy, suspense filled novel that captures the reader’s imagination from the off. The thing that makes this series such an original read is the fact the story is narrated as episodes of a true-crime podcast. Each post cast comprises of six episodes, each one features their perspectives of the crime Each story takes you to the darkest place and raises more questions than answers. The authors unique writing brings each voice to life, you feel you’re listening too rather than reading about the pod casts. Tales of folklore passed down through generations, strange occurrences within the village, changes in children’s behaviour, whispers of possession and witches add credence to the supernatural element of this book. From the first page of Demon, a frisson of horror trickled down my spine, but as the story unfolded my horror turned to fear, as an intense feeling of something dark and evil lurking within in its pages grew. You're desperate to learn more, but you nervously wonder what dark, twisted path Wesolowski is leading you down. The author always creates the perfect creepy backdrop for his book. Here it’s the Kilns at Ussel Back, a place that’s shrouded in mystery and supernatural tales, a place where evil seems to radiate from within the gouged rocks. The author has created an atmosphere that’s thick with malevolence, unnerving the reader at every turn of the page. The supernatural elements of the book provide the creep factor, but it’s the subject of young children committing the most heinous crimes that make it such a chilling and desperately sad read. This series goes from strength to strength thanks to the authors’ exceptionally descriptive writing and his vivid imagination. His plots are original, terrifying, disturbing and deliciously dark. Demon consumed my every waking moment, and I absolutely loved every page of this compelling read. Would I recommend it? You bet I would! It’s made my list of top reads of 2021!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    Intriguing thriller The format and style will be very familiar to anyone who has read other books by Matt but this is an entertaining thriller. There's always a twist but there are some contemporary issued and social challenges touched upon. Intriguing thriller The format and style will be very familiar to anyone who has read other books by Matt but this is an entertaining thriller. There's always a twist but there are some contemporary issued and social challenges touched upon.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    ''This land is good at forgetting. Its people? They wish they were.'' The best way to enjoy the Six Stories series is, in my humble opinion, via audiobook, as it brings the story to life in a way that accentuates, yet is seperate from, the written word. So naturally I bought myself the Audible audiobook, with a full cast reading and it honestly gives you shivers. If you want a book , a story, to turn the blood in your veins to ice, check you locked the doors more than once and have you looking over ''This land is good at forgetting. Its people? They wish they were.'' The best way to enjoy the Six Stories series is, in my humble opinion, via audiobook, as it brings the story to life in a way that accentuates, yet is seperate from, the written word. So naturally I bought myself the Audible audiobook, with a full cast reading and it honestly gives you shivers. If you want a book , a story, to turn the blood in your veins to ice, check you locked the doors more than once and have you looking over your shoulders into the dark, then Matt Wesolowski is your man. For a series which is now, ironically, 6 instalments in, it is so refreshing that each story is both new, and different from the one which came before, and yet can be listened to in order, or out of it, it is up to the personal preference of each reader. This time, Covid restrictions might limit Scott King's travels, but the use of Zoom, Facetime and so forth makes maximum use of available technology to bring the intimate nature of Scott's interviews alive . His clever use of probing, yet never leading, questions make the most of each of his 6 subjects, leaving you, the seventh guest at the table, to puzzle and tease the details out of the case of Ussalthwaite Kilns, and draw your own conclusion. 'Demon' is such a deeply appropriate title, the two boys who have been accused of the murder of a classmate and whose story is under investigation, are technically outsiders in the village. Their sense of otherness is written off as a reason for their either being, or becoming open to 'possession', this is the only way that this tight knit community can begin to rationalise the horrific events of 1995, and the death of 12 year old Sidney Parsons by , supposedly, Robbie Hooper and Daniel Greenwell. One is a troubled foster child, brought to the village two well meaning, and invested outsiders, who bring the community feeling back. Ken and Jennifer Hartley are taken in as Ussalthwaite's own as they return village traditions such as the Harvest Festival, so when they announce they are taking in a child with possible special needs, no one bats an eyelid. And when they also take in Danny, following the death of his mother, Saffron (herself someone from 'away' with 'notions' and basically a hippie outsider). Danny being the one who found her body in the farm they lived on, he needs careful handling which is beyond what his dad can give him. And yet, the two of these broken boys together spark a series of very odd, almost Biblical events, which they deny having done, that escalates to the point of Sidney's death. As various villagers and those who lived there at the time relay their memories, you are aware that there is a certain bias to these tales. Firstly, now elderly neighbour of the Hartley's , Penny, who states she has never lived anywhere else and never will in spite of the horrific events of '95, admits that someone should have done something before it got to 'that point', that point being the horrendous murder of a child. But as the famous saying goes, whilst everyone waited for somebody to do something, no -one did anything. The plague of flies, stealing of farmers eggs, getting stuck on the church roof and also being genuinely super creepy and the possible source of thumping noises like they were running up the walls, all escalates because no one expected any less from these lads. And in the discursive narrative of nature versus nurture, redemption versus damnation and guilt versus innocence, it is far easier, although unpalatable, to beleive that these children were demons, or , inhabited by them. This then speaks to the underlying tale, that of the Ussalthwaite Kilns, dark and ominous structures which have resulted in death, sickness and madness for those who ventured in there. As an allegory of evil this is just perfect, the abdication for responsibility for the village inhabitants can be traced to digging down through the earth, finding or releasing something that should have remained buried, and touching everything there abouts with the stench of evil. The two boys have allegedly been given new identities and are about to, or have been, released from their custodial sentences which speaks then to the possibility of anyone ever being truly repentant for their crimes. Have they been punished? Do they deserve more? And what does the dead body of a man found near the Kilns have to do with the Demonic Duo? As you read, and/or listen, apart from feeling the nubs of your spine inch closer together to each other, you see the central, Scott King led narrative of Six Stories-Demon , as the backbone of the tale, with each of the six tales extending out from the core concept like ribs , enclosing the heart, or conclusion , which each reader will inevitably draw at the end of of the novel. This is what I enjoy so much about each and every story, the air of tragedy, melancholy and darkness which overlays the tales is balanced by the humanity which is teased out of each participant. Or, in fact, their lack of it. Either way, Scott King is the one who drags the story out, into the light of day, and whilst it blinks it outrage at the sunshine, hands you the stake. Will you? Could you? Have you? I would.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen Cole

    Demon is the sixth book in the Six Stories series and again finds podcaster Scott King examining an old crime. The format - six episodes featuring six people somehow connected to the case - may now be familiar, as are the chilling occultic elements to the storyline but Matt Wesolowski's writing remains as fresh and compelling as ever. Demon is another standalone but as each book has an uncanny way of hooking its claws into its readers, I suspect that those new to the series won't be able to resi Demon is the sixth book in the Six Stories series and again finds podcaster Scott King examining an old crime. The format - six episodes featuring six people somehow connected to the case - may now be familiar, as are the chilling occultic elements to the storyline but Matt Wesolowski's writing remains as fresh and compelling as ever. Demon is another standalone but as each book has an uncanny way of hooking its claws into its readers, I suspect that those new to the series won't be able to resist going back to the earlier novels! Demon might be the closest this series has come to being a true horror novel, perhaps because what is more horrific than children killing other children? At the start of the book, Matt Wesolowski even advises that the content matter includes (fictional) violence towards children and animals which may distress some readers. The facts of this case – two twelve-year-old boys savagely beat another boy to death – means there are obvious parallels to Jamie Bulger's murder and given the intense interest in the case in the past and present, it's a fair comparison despite the victim here also being twelve rather than a toddler. However, despite the grim subject matter, Demon is not an exploitative book and as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that it's arguably more about examining the response to tragedies like this rather than trying to find definitive answers as to why children become killers. Scott King likens his investigations to raking over old graves but it earns him some criticism here, particularly as it's the twenty-sixth anniversary of Sidney's death. This case is still an emotive one, angering many who believe that Danny Greenwell and Robbie Hooper's controversial release from the secure units they were imprisoned in until 2002 indicates that the law was too soft on them. Alongside the chapters which reveal what occurs in the six podcast episodes there are also newspaper opinion pieces and angry emails from somebody who warns King he is going too far. At first it seems as if the book might be a condemnation of true crime programmes but while it's thought-provoking to consider why they are so popular, Matt Wesolowski subtly twists the narrative into a damning critique of the pearl-clutching hypocrisy of the moralising newspaper commentaries that cynically appropriate tragedies such as this. As King hears from those who knew the two boys who became known as the 'Demonic Duo', a frightening picture of a village darkened by its history of deaths, witchcraft and demonic possession emerges. This is probably the most ambiguous Six Stories novel to date and there are some deeply unnerving allegations made during the course of the investigation. I'll leave you to decide for yourselves whether the accounts are true or some sort of mass delusion but there can be no doubting the potency of such beliefs, especially in a small place like Ussalthwaite where warnings become shared teenage retellings and urban legend. Matt Wesolowski does what he excels at again in Demon and shines a light into these dark places; what he discovers might not be comforting but isn't it better that we confront and examine these issues? This melancholic, immersive read acknowledges that the murder of a child by other children is a tragedy on so many levels, understanding that while we should be able to hold more nuanced conversations about what drives young people to crime and subsequently their punishment and rehabilitation, the emotional, painful demands of such cases still retain a tight grip on our society. There are no easy answers offered here but this poignant, challenging novel is another sterling addition to this outstanding series and I think may even be my favourite – against some stiff opposition! The intriguing conclusion means that I'm not sure what Matt Wesolowski plans to write next but I know I'm guaranteed to read it. Very highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beverley

    https://beverleyhasread.wordpress.com/ Demon, the latest in the Six Stories series, is another taut and compelling book by author Matt Wesolowski. If you’re a newcomer to the series, then get yourself a copy of Six Stories and enjoy! The series all follow the same narrative structure. They feature Scott King, a podcast host who examines cold cases. He speaks to six different people involved with an unsolved mystery, posting each interview as an episode, hoping to try and shed new light on the puz https://beverleyhasread.wordpress.com/ Demon, the latest in the Six Stories series, is another taut and compelling book by author Matt Wesolowski. If you’re a newcomer to the series, then get yourself a copy of Six Stories and enjoy! The series all follow the same narrative structure. They feature Scott King, a podcast host who examines cold cases. He speaks to six different people involved with an unsolved mystery, posting each interview as an episode, hoping to try and shed new light on the puzzle. Each book takes the format of a podcast, with six different episodes featuring six different people. Interspersed with these episodes are other missives such as e-mails Scott has received or newspaper articles from the case. There is almost always a hint (or more!) of the supernatural and the books do err on the darker side of things. They are dark in the best way though, and Wesolowski uses his books to explore a number of societies ills, most recently in Deity where he examines the line between fame and infamy in the Scottish Highlands. In Demon, the location is Ussalthwaite, an affluent Yorkshire village which is haunted by the memories of what happened there decades ago. Ussalthwaite is a beautiful village nestled within remote moorland littered with abandoned barns and kilns built into the landscape – a relic from it’s long dead industrial past. In 1995, a young boy Sidney Parsons was murdered by local boys Robbie and Danny, who were both subsequently convicted and sent to prison. In 2002 they were both released and given new identities much to the chagrin of the British public who felt that their punishment had been far too lenient. In the present day, somebody is threatening to reveal the new identities of Robbie and Danny and the press and internet are both awash with chatter about it. Scott King decides to delve into the case, not to unmask Danny and Robbie, but to find out just what happened in 1995. Wesolwoski writes a sad and mournful tale of two young boys who were both deeply troubled. Danny has lived in the village all of his life and is poleaxed by grief after the death of his mother, whilst Robbie’s parents have both recently lost their lives in a car accident, leaving him under the care of family friends far away from home. These two boys are both isolated and are targets for the mean and cruel words of their fellow students and forge a friendship, realising that there is strength in numbers. As their friendship becomes more intense, weird things start to happen in the village and the boys are blamed. There are eerie and creepy instances such as swarms of flies and ropes hanging from buildings in the village, and the boys’ behaviour gets worse and more extreme. Wesolwoski builds a picture of a village under seige from two young boys. But is this the case? Is some of it just tittle tattle? Or are there darker forces at work? There are moments of the supernatural which is written so incredibly well. The rational part of my brain knew that there was a perfectly plausible explanation, but what if there wasn’t? What if something other worldly was happening. Were the boys being possessed by a malevolent force? It is fabulously eerie. But, take away these moments of supernatural, and what you have is an incredibly sad tale of two boys who have been through unimaginable things. Both have lost parents and are unable to cope with their grief. Danny tries to work through things the best way he can by writing to his dead mother, whilst Robbie uses aggression to act out at others. Wesolowski explores the effect on children of extreme trauma and lack of care. There is something very upsetting about reading about how the adults in the lives of Danny and Robbie chose to look the other way rather than help. It makes for sad and poignant reading. This is yet another great Six Stories book which is full of intrigue and suspense. It features difficult subject matter but it is sensitively handled, allowing the reader to feel sympathy for two boys who are emotionally lost. It’s powerful and clever and as usual, the writing is pin sharp. Recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emma Shaw

    “A horror. There’s no other word for it. Horror upon horror.” Scott King is back with his Six Stories Podcast, a show that investigates old crimes from six different perspectives to try to get to the truth of what happened. He specialises in the strange and mysterious. Cases that are surrounded by rumours of the supernatural and the occult. This time it is the brutal, senseless murder of a child by other children, two outcast boys mired in trauma and grief, the Usslethwaite kilns iwth their magne “A horror. There’s no other word for it. Horror upon horror.” Scott King is back with his Six Stories Podcast, a show that investigates old crimes from six different perspectives to try to get to the truth of what happened. He specialises in the strange and mysterious. Cases that are surrounded by rumours of the supernatural and the occult. This time it is the brutal, senseless murder of a child by other children, two outcast boys mired in trauma and grief, the Usslethwaite kilns iwth their magnetic pull and the strange folklore that surrounds them and rumours of witchcraft and demons. Can he unravel the truth of what happened that day in 1995? What a way to start the year! Unsettling, dark and haunting, this atmospheric story had me hooked. The sixth book in the Six Stories series sees Podcaster Scott King is investigating the 1995 murder of twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons by two of his classmates. It was a brutal murder with no apparent motive that took place in a small North Yorkshire village where superstition and suspicion of those who are different was and is rife. It is a disturbing case, and while there are inevitably stomach-churning and spine-chilling moments, this goes much deeper, humanising the boys that the media dubbed the ‘Demonic Duo’ and exploring what could have led two troubled boys to escalate from acting up in class and playing pranks to terrorising the village and savagely killing one of their peers. Through the interviews with six people with very different perspectives, news articles and letters from one of the boys to his late mother that he wrote in the months and days leading up to the crime, we get an insight into who these boys were and how they arrived at the moment where they killed another child without any apparent motive. “The answer to this case lies somewhere in the strange hinterland between pity and condemnation. It's a rocky and treacherous place to stand.” The story also examines topics such as the lingering effects of the crime, offender rehabilitation, the bestowing of new identities and lifetime anonymity upon the most vilified offenders, vigilante justice and online commentary. It makes you think, stirs up uncomfortable emotions and makes you reflect on your own reactions to a crime such as this. When a crime seems particularly heinous and unforgivable, it is easy to demonise the perpetrators rather than taking a real look at the very human reasons this could have happened. We need to believe only real evil can do such a thing in order to separate ourselves from the people who commit such unspeakable acts. For me, it conjured up memories of the tragic murder of James Bulger; the horror and disbelief that two children could commit such a terrible act, the outrage at what they did, and how the pair were immediately demonised with the entire country calling for justice. I don’t know if the Bulger case or its aftermath inspired this book, but I feel like it echoed a lot of what I remember happening in the media and my own conversations with people about the crime even to this day. When I pick up one of Matt Wesolowski’s books I know what I’m getting, a book that is bold, mysterious, thought-provoking, eerie and addictive. Demon delivers all of those things and more in what I think is the best of his books I’ve read yet. But it isn’t for the faint hearted. In fact, the book opens with warnings about the content which I appreciated as it means readers can make an informed decision before deciding to proceed. Expertly written, deftly told and filled with fascinating characters, Demon is a chilling tale you won’t forget. TW: Violence against children and animals.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Review by Martin Cater As a now long-term firm fan of the Six Stories series, and guest reviewer of the last four, I am back once again, on this the sixth in the series. As with all the Six Stories, Demon can be read as a standalone, though I highly recommend them all. As ever, my only aim is to try to encourage and entice you, the reader, to pick up something that is fresh and unique. The Six Stories series is written in a clever ‘podcast’ style delivery by the enigmatic host, Scott King. The pr Review by Martin Cater As a now long-term firm fan of the Six Stories series, and guest reviewer of the last four, I am back once again, on this the sixth in the series. As with all the Six Stories, Demon can be read as a standalone, though I highly recommend them all. As ever, my only aim is to try to encourage and entice you, the reader, to pick up something that is fresh and unique. The Six Stories series is written in a clever ‘podcast’ style delivery by the enigmatic host, Scott King. The premise in each series is to ‘rake over’ cold cases in the quest for answers and new information. Each story centres around six interviews with people connected with the case, presenting the listener/reader with their own account. The challenge then is to make up your own mind, on what are generally quite thought-provoking subjects. With Demon, Matt Wesolowski brings to the fore possibly the most challenging case of the entire series. Just what brings two young boys to commit the ultimate horror of killing another child. For those who clearly remember the case of James Bulger in the early 90’s, it is difficult not to be taken back, and remember all the media stories that surrounded those unspeakable events. This would not be a series of Six Stories without a healthy sprinkling of darkness, folklore, and general down-right creepiness. As those familiar with previous stories will attest, this is an area where Matt Welsolowski excels. Demon is no exception, and centres around the small Yorkshire village of Ussalthwaite (think League of Gentlemen & Royston Vasey). A place where everyone knows everyone, with its share of ‘interesting’ residents. The village is backdropped by an area of foreboding moorland – Ussal Bank, which houses long since abandoned smelting kilns. Forbidden by parents, so naturally a draw to any inquisitive child. I’m sure most of us can remember somewhere similar from our childhood. The kilns are surrounded in myth, rituals and talk of the supernatural, they are also the scene of the awful crime. Through the six accounts the reader is drawn into an intriguing set of circumstances, leaving you questioning if the terrible crime was just an evil act perpetrated by a ‘Demonic-Duo’ with no apparent reason or motive – or is there something entirely more sinister that has been infiltrating the village for years. ‘Something’ that drove these two boys to murder. If you’re the sort of person that likes everything wrapped up in a nice, neat bow, then Matt Wesolowski does the opposite of that. Through Scott King, whose character has slowly grown throughout this series of books, and the people he interviews, you are challenged to look at things from a slightly more skewed angle. Sometimes things are not just ‘cut and dry’, and with Demon it feels that way, probably more than any of the previous cases. Can we ever really know what drives seemingly ordinary people to carry out horrendous atrocities? Is it inherent? Is it the result of a traumatic event? Is it a cry out for help? ……..or in some cases is there something out there, lurking, looking for the next vulnerable victim to do its bidding? Demon is yet another captivating read in this excellent series of books, and the usual clever cross-over between crime fiction and horror, long may it last!? Hopefully there will be a next time, but until then, this has been my fifth….

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Read

    Two boys aged twelve, both with lives fractured in different ways come together. What at first seems like a match made in heaven soon becomes the friendship from hell. They met in February 1995 and by that September another twelve-year-old, Sidney Parsons, lay dead. Yes, in hindsight people there could see it coming. All the strange and sinister happenings in the area, like a plague of flies, a haunted barn, the dark Ussal Bank kilns that children were forbidden from playing near, even talk of s Two boys aged twelve, both with lives fractured in different ways come together. What at first seems like a match made in heaven soon becomes the friendship from hell. They met in February 1995 and by that September another twelve-year-old, Sidney Parsons, lay dead. Yes, in hindsight people there could see it coming. All the strange and sinister happenings in the area, like a plague of flies, a haunted barn, the dark Ussal Bank kilns that children were forbidden from playing near, even talk of satanic worship, as the boys’ behaviour descended from playing planks to verging on the savage. Released from custody at eighteen with new names, there is now a rumour in the media that the identity of one is soon to be revealed. Many people are looking forward to this and hoping for an “eye for an eye” revenge. Also reported in the news is the recent suicide of a middle-aged man at the former murder site where evil is rumoured to abound. His identity is a closely guarded secret by the police. Could this death be related to the murder twenty-six years ago? During the podcasts we hear from six people involved in the case and the village. Long term Ussalthwaite resident Penny Myers, Leo Corrin, a visiting farm labourer who vowed never to return to the farm where one boy lived a lonely and miserable life, Will, a lifelong friend of the other boy’s guardians with an interest in the paranormal, also Sidney’s childhood friend Terry, a former secure home care worker and one very angry listener. For me the one that stood out the most was the tortured voice of Terry as he relived his guilt over his feelings for Sidney. Sometimes these six people contradicted each other’s stories, sometimes there was corroboration of the events and as the podcast neared its close, explanations appeared for some of the more puzzling stories. However some things simply defied rational explanation. So the question remains - were the boys “evil” from birth, was their behaviour a product of the events they endured during their short and troubled lives or were they cursed? Something in the air, in the land, in the very fabric of Ussalthwaite, a place steeped in legend and folklore, that somehow possessed them? You’ll have to make up your own minds as you read the chilling accounts by eye witnesses. Also included are letters written by one boy to his dead mother which are simply heart-rending in places and provide even more insight into the whole tragedy. This is one book that is impossible to put down! The more I read, the more I wanted to read. Superbly written and paced, it drew me right into the time and places, and it was so easy to imagine the voices in the podcasts as they each gave their own version of events. One thing is for sure – the ending had me in tears as everything I had read about the case was shaken to its very foundations. This is certainly one of the best books I have read in a long time and one which I cannot recommend enough! Needless to say, I’ve just placed my order for the first five books in this series! 5*

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kerry https://likeherdingcatsblog.wordpress.com Robinson

    Every time I finish a Six Stories novel I’m left speechless and bereft. I’ve said it in every review, but I can’t express it any other way – you don’t read a Six Stories book, you become immersed in it and experience every little thing inside the pages. Wesolowski is a master storyteller, manipulator of minds and breaker of hearts. He creates a complete experience to the point where everything feels real, every character gets under your skin in one way or another and every noise, sound and exper Every time I finish a Six Stories novel I’m left speechless and bereft. I’ve said it in every review, but I can’t express it any other way – you don’t read a Six Stories book, you become immersed in it and experience every little thing inside the pages. Wesolowski is a master storyteller, manipulator of minds and breaker of hearts. He creates a complete experience to the point where everything feels real, every character gets under your skin in one way or another and every noise, sound and experience grips you and doesn’t let go until the closing pages. A close-knit community and beautiful scenery make the North Yorkshire village of Ussalthwaite seem like the most perfect and idyllic place to live but beneath the beauty lies something much more sinister. The moors and kilns left from days of mining are known as the ‘bad place’ and generations of children heed the warning to stay away; except two boys who have found solace in each other’s friendship. The scene and atmosphere are totally all consuming, and it grows around you whilst reading. Every sight, sound and smell is there and a times it creates such a stark contrast between perfection and absolutely terrifying. In 1995 the community was shook to the core when the body of 12 year old Sydney Parsons is found and the two friends are found guilty of his murder and then released 7 years later with new identities. With the media and community whipped into a frenzy, Scott King takes his podcast to Ussalthwaite in order to tell the full story from 6 different perspectives. If you’ve never experienced a Six Stories novel before they are told as podcasts, led by Scott King. Each episode consists of a different perspective from somebody close to the case that Scott is covering. It’s simply a genius way to present the narrative and creates a a completely immersive experience. If you love audio books then I highly recommend you listen to Six Stories as it works superbly. The story of the Ussalthwaite murders really touches on some very current issues and dilemmas and Demon definitely led me on my own moral journey; questioning my perspectives and reactions to things and provoking an internal conversation with how I allow myself to be swayed by different sources. For me, the most terrifying thing in Demon (and all the series) is humans. It’s so difficult to go into without spoilers but the themes of ostracization and pre-conceived notions relating to specific things are strong and despite being heart breaking – they are relevant and a good reflection of some pockets of society. Another mind-blowingly, devastating Six Stories and made all the more devastating by the possibility it’s the last one (I really hope not). I cannot recommend Demon and this series enough.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan Corcoran

    When you open one of Matt Wesolowski’s books you know that you are going to be reading a novel that thrills, excites and is impossible to put down. I had high expectations when I started Demon and they were met a thousand times over. If you have read the other books in the series, you will be aware of the format they take. Set out like a series of podcasts, Scott King retrospectively investigates a crime that haunts the present. In this case why two young boys murdered another child. Now young me When you open one of Matt Wesolowski’s books you know that you are going to be reading a novel that thrills, excites and is impossible to put down. I had high expectations when I started Demon and they were met a thousand times over. If you have read the other books in the series, you will be aware of the format they take. Set out like a series of podcasts, Scott King retrospectively investigates a crime that haunts the present. In this case why two young boys murdered another child. Now young men, the possibility that they are living a new life, hidden from view, continues to plague those that lived through the events. Once again it works because King as a character is as much an enigma as the events he is investigating. He seeks answers, but remains as closed off to the viewers as the events he is investigating. I find him fascinating, because of his instinctive ability to burrow beyond the obvious, giving a voice to those who would otherwise remain hidden from view. He holds the story together and his mysterious, closed off world is as fascinating as the events he is looking into. What drives him to uncover why the boys committed such an awful act, why does he rake up the past? Does he believe in justice or is he simply driven by his own inner demons? What made this, the latest installment in the Six Stories series so incredible to read beside King himself, was the way you never know if the Demon is some kind of demonic possession that drives the madness enveloping the villagers of Ussalthwaite, or if those affected, are simply suffering from some form of mental psychosis. Your mind tries desperately to reason with itself, but there is no denying that somewhere deep in your mind, he taps into the thought that out there in the dark, our worst nightmares are lurking. Matt Wesolowski teases you with your own fears, then reasons with you, until you like the characters, question the balance of your own mind. This is not simple horror, that seeks to just scare you witless with cheap shocks, but a cleverly written story that insidiously buries it’s way into your very being and is all the more delicious and dazzling as a result. He users landscape to create the backdrop of his story. The caves where evil lurks, the hills where darkness threatens and then the recording studio where light and logic holds sway against our darkest nightmares. We feel safe in Kings world, then he plunges us into houses where darkness pushes against the light and we feel a shiver against the onslaught of the horror that has plagued the village for hundreds of years. Will King’s investigations bring them peace, you are going to have to read to find out. But if I was you, I would keep the light on!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Mcghie

    A new Six Stories book is cause for celebration. Matt Wesolowski’s superb chiller crime tales always skirt the supernatural but leave enough doubt in the reader’s mind that there may be a more “grounded” explanation for creepy incidents which arise in his stories. A quick recap of the Six Stories format for new visitors. Podcast host Scott King will focus on an event which has a degree of notoriety. Over the course of six podcast episodes he interviews six different people with a connection to th A new Six Stories book is cause for celebration. Matt Wesolowski’s superb chiller crime tales always skirt the supernatural but leave enough doubt in the reader’s mind that there may be a more “grounded” explanation for creepy incidents which arise in his stories. A quick recap of the Six Stories format for new visitors. Podcast host Scott King will focus on an event which has a degree of notoriety. Over the course of six podcast episodes he interviews six different people with a connection to the focus of the series. He is not trying to convince his listeners he has “solved” or can explain a mystery, he presents these six stories and leaves listeners to form their own conclusions around what may have happened. In Demon the subject of the new run of Six Stories is an extremely controversial event: two children murdered a school friend and were convicted for their crime. Both the boys were granted new identities and after a long period of rehabilitation were to be released back into society. It’s a highly emotive story and many feel the two killers should not be returned to society – there is even an online social media threat to leak their new identities and allow “justice” to be done. Wesolowski tackles this controversial scenario with an astute narrative. Through one of the stories the guest explains how the child rehabilitation process works and how killers could possibly be considered for release. But this is done using the narrative from the story and readers may well find they agree there may be circumstances where young criminals could become mature rehabilitated citizens. The murder of 12yo Sidney Parsons shocks the small Northern town but the two boys who ended his life had been terrorising the people in the village for weeks. However we learn through Kings podcast that the town has a history of dark incidents and more than one brush with witchcraft down the years. How much of the events surrounding Sidney’s murder was down to the evil behaviour of two “Demon” children and how much relied upon external factors? I had thought this story was clear cut but along the way there are revelations which changed my perception of the people involved and by the end of the final story my understanding of the whole episode had radically changed. It’s a terrific example of a slow reveal of information and hiding clues from the reader in plain sight. I cannot recommend the Six Stories books more highly. Each new instalment has been a delight and Demon makes the series even stronger. Already looking forward to what comes next.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Collins

    The Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski continues to go from strength to strength. Demon is the latest addition to the series and if you love a good horror novel, mixed with crime, then you definitely need to read it. In the latest episode, presenter Scott King examines a horrific case which took place in 1995. I could see where some of the inspiration for this story comes from, especially the Jamie Bulger case here in the UK, and it’s what makes this novel all the more chilling and harrowing. The Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski continues to go from strength to strength. Demon is the latest addition to the series and if you love a good horror novel, mixed with crime, then you definitely need to read it. In the latest episode, presenter Scott King examines a horrific case which took place in 1995. I could see where some of the inspiration for this story comes from, especially the Jamie Bulger case here in the UK, and it’s what makes this novel all the more chilling and harrowing. It feels like this can happen and that’s what makes it so scary. Once again, Scott King is taking a look into the supernatural as he tries to understand what happened in 1995, when a young boy is killed by two boys the same age as him. The village in which the crime took place is called Ussalthwaite and it is a village said to be haunted by an evil spirit. There are lots of different stories told by people over the years about this, and I wanted to know more about it. As locals described the events that led up to these hauntings, it did send a shiver up my spine. I really liked how Matt Wesolowski blended the supernatural and the real world. The way how he describes the supernatural events leaves just enough room open to make you wonder what is really going on here. It doesn’t make you think straight away that this couldn’t happen. This is also what makes the stories that are told so terrifying. As with the previous books in this series, we hear the story through six podcasts from the show Scott King hosts. This is what I really love about this series. We always have Scott King, who, in his world, has become quite famous, but with each new book, we hear from a cast of new characters as Scott King tries to uncover the real facts behind the case he is investigating. With each episode, you know you are getting closer to the truth and it makes me turn the pages faster as I want to know what really happened in the events Scott is investigating. It’s what makes these books so gripping and I always look forward to the next book in the series. It’s such a clever way of telling a story. I feel Scott King’s character also continues to develop with each book. He examines quite a lot of dark stories and he really delves deep into the mind-set of the people who were involved. The end of each book does make me wonder what is going on inside his head and what case he will choose to investigate next. I really enjoyed Demon, it is always a real treat to read a new Six Stories novel. I can’t wait to see where Matt Wesolowski takes the series next.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Monika Armet

    This is the sixth (and last?) instalment of The Six Stories series. The book is written as a series of episodes for Six Stories podcast, where Scott King interviews six different people to find out various points of view. This time, King is investigating a brutal murder of 12 year-old Sidney Parsons, who was beaten by his two peers, Danny Greenwell and Robbie Hooper, back in 1995 in small and picturesque village of Ussalthwaite. The two killers, dubbed as ‘Demonic Duo’, were sent to a secure unit This is the sixth (and last?) instalment of The Six Stories series. The book is written as a series of episodes for Six Stories podcast, where Scott King interviews six different people to find out various points of view. This time, King is investigating a brutal murder of 12 year-old Sidney Parsons, who was beaten by his two peers, Danny Greenwell and Robbie Hooper, back in 1995 in small and picturesque village of Ussalthwaite. The two killers, dubbed as ‘Demonic Duo’, were sent to a secure unit after being convicted of murder. They served seven years for their crime and were granted anonymity and new identities upon release. Scott interviews six people who knew knew the victim or the killers. We find out that one of the perpetrators, Danny was a quiet and withdrawn boy, grieving for his mother who committed suicide. His father was absent, he was too preoccupied with working on the farm rather than talking to his son. Danny’s behaviour changed when Robbie Hooper moved to the village. Robbie came from a challenging background and that reflected in his everyday actions. The two boys, two outcasts, were drawn to each other and quickly became friends. Throughout the book there is an underlying theme of paranormal incidents, which the interviewees experienced. A mysterious fly infestation affecting the whole town in the summer when Sidney Parsons was murdered, strange running footsteps coming from Robbie’s bedroom while he was away at the time, feelings of a ‘presence’, and seeing black shadows are just few examples of the supernatural occurrences outlined in this book. I found myself really drawn to these parts and their descriptions were very chilling. Out of the all Six Stories books, for me this one had the strongest paranormal feel. Weaved in between the podcasts episodes, we read letters from Danny to his dead Mum, which I found utterly heart-breaking. I found myself at odds, because the society tells us we absolutely cannot feel sorry for a murderer. They need to be condemned, not pitied, regardless of their age or gender. That’s why the book theme was difficult and delicate, but Wesolowski dealt with it with compassion and empathy. The pace of this book was slower compared to the other ones in the series: it was more reflective, explored human moral compass, and left the reader with mixed emotions and sense of melancholy. I definitely recommend it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary Picken

    Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series is something quite special and it really is worth reading all of them. Each can be read as a stand–alone, (though there is some gradual revelatory stuff about the interviewer, Scott King, if you read them sequentially). Each story is presented as six interviews with people who are connected to the story under investigation. Those interviews are conducted by Scott King whose interested and empathetic voice seems to draw out his interviewees and get the most fro Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series is something quite special and it really is worth reading all of them. Each can be read as a stand–alone, (though there is some gradual revelatory stuff about the interviewer, Scott King, if you read them sequentially). Each story is presented as six interviews with people who are connected to the story under investigation. Those interviews are conducted by Scott King whose interested and empathetic voice seems to draw out his interviewees and get the most from their contributions so that you, as a reader, feel that you are getting real, in-depth information that is new. In Demon, Wesolowski tackles perhaps his most difficult case yet. Certainly it’s the one that will cause the most hesitancy before the reader embarks on it. For that reason there is a trigger warning. But this is a book that you should read. The case is awful, but this book is about finding the truth behind the assumptions, speculation and gossip. It is also as much about the aftermath and how the public, the media and others react when bad things happen in a community. Matt Wesolowski creates a spooky moorland backdrop in the Kilns at Ussel Back and imbues them with centuries of folklore and legend to give them a sense of lingering ghosts and malevolence which lends credence to the outlying suggestions of supernatural interference in this story. But the real horror is in the tragedy itself. That children could be caught up in such an awful crime. That a young life was lost. This is in so many ways a heart-breaking story but we see so clearly how much more heart-breaking we have made it through our own desire to have a perspective on something we really know so little about. And that desire is what fuels the media to fulminate and spout the ire and venom that always characterises such sad cases. Do we ever stop to ask ourselves why these things sell papers or garner listeners? Verdict: Wesolowski is so good at making us think; insisting we examine all the angles and at what is really driving the judgements we make. Demon does all this and more. It’s a compelling and horrifying book, made all the more so by its crystal clear ring of authenticity. A must read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl M-M

    This is the sixth book in the Six Stories series, I also highly recommend the previous books they are great reads. This one has the usual moral conundrum the author tends to play with within the myths, the rumours, the folklore and the cold hard facts. Given the raw material and factual case this was very likely based on, because a lot of it veers on the factual precipice of the tragic Bulger case and the way the public still demands their pound of flesh from the perpetrators, I can imagine the p This is the sixth book in the Six Stories series, I also highly recommend the previous books they are great reads. This one has the usual moral conundrum the author tends to play with within the myths, the rumours, the folklore and the cold hard facts. Given the raw material and factual case this was very likely based on, because a lot of it veers on the factual precipice of the tragic Bulger case and the way the public still demands their pound of flesh from the perpetrators, I can imagine the points of discussion being quite divisive. If a child commits the unimaginable is it possible for them to create a normal life after serving their time and completing the punishment considered suitable by the judicial system? If their crime is considered evil, do the actions of one moment mean they should be hounded, harassed and persecuted till they are gone too? Clearly many people think so, but this book looks at the crime and perpetrator from a different angle – the result is an intriguing read. This is the kind of premise that has endless opportunities going forward, that includes any visual on-screen representation. The modern element will appeal to a multitude of readers, and true crime as a premise is always a draw. The author doesn’t rest on the laurels of his trail of success, he is always looking for a way to keep the premise fresh and readers engaged. Going beyond the boundaries of the crime by introducing the limitations of his main character or in this case the implications of a failing judicial system and how the world in general reacts to crime, punishment and justice.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Veronika Jordan

    I listen to podcasts, usually audio plays, but last year I listened to a podcast called The Battersea Poltergeist and the format of Demon reminded me of this. A number of people are interviewed including people who were there, but are the supernatural happenings real or is it some kind of mass hysteria? And of course there always those who wish to profit financially for giving their view, as well as those who have an ‘opinion’ (we know the kind of people we are talking about). In Demon we have a I listen to podcasts, usually audio plays, but last year I listened to a podcast called The Battersea Poltergeist and the format of Demon reminded me of this. A number of people are interviewed including people who were there, but are the supernatural happenings real or is it some kind of mass hysteria? And of course there always those who wish to profit financially for giving their view, as well as those who have an ‘opinion’ (we know the kind of people we are talking about). In Demon we have a mix of interviewees, though of course we don’t get to hear from Robbie and Danny, the killers of 12-yer-old Sidney Parsons, as they were incarcerated and given new identities on release (rather like the killers of James Bulger). The killers in this case are a tiny bit older (ie about 12 years old, but the victim was their own age and had learning difficulties. The podcast is the brainchild of Scott King who claims to ‘rake over old graves’ and he is criticised openly by many who believe he is cashing in on the misery of the victim’s family. He sees it differently however, but then he would, wouldn’t he. The most interesting side to this is the idea that the fictitious village of Ussalthwaite is in some way haunted, possibly by a witch who lived in the 1600s and cursed it. There is ‘evidence’ of dark shadows and demonic possession, but as I said earlier, this is often the result of a kind of mass hysteria. Suddenly everyone has a tale to tell of mysterious goings on, swinging ropes and small black stones appearing again and again. I love this kind of book. Haunting, creepy and often scary, it’s right up my street. The idea of telling it as a podcast is very original and gave it an unusual twist. It allowed us to hear different ‘voices’ – from Scott King himself and also from people who were there, in their own words. Very clever and often unsettling. Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pam Robertson

    Readers of the Six Stories series will be familiar with the format. Told through six characters who all contribute to a podcast which is investigating a cold crime, there are elements of horror which swirl around the scene. Set in an isolated setting there is danger and foreboding in buckets and each podcast contributor adds to a slowly unfolding picture which leaves the reader feeling unsettled. The subject of Demon concerns child murder in which the perpetrators are also children. It therefore Readers of the Six Stories series will be familiar with the format. Told through six characters who all contribute to a podcast which is investigating a cold crime, there are elements of horror which swirl around the scene. Set in an isolated setting there is danger and foreboding in buckets and each podcast contributor adds to a slowly unfolding picture which leaves the reader feeling unsettled. The subject of Demon concerns child murder in which the perpetrators are also children. It therefore forces you to consider how such children should be treated and rehabilitated. I found the variety of the characters to be one of the strengths of this novel. They each had their own back story and all shared the sense that their pasts had not been forgotten and were continuing to have a profound effect on their lives. You are also shown how childish perception can be fed by their imagination and their treatment by others. Disconnected from the mainstream, they are looking for acceptance in their own way. There is something quite disturbing about the juxtaposition of childhood and the supernatural. Unsettling and dark, you know that you are reading a great story written by a great storyteller. In short: dark and disturbing Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Armor

    As I finished Demon in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I thought, he’s done it again. I loved this book. I went back and checked my ratings on all his previous books, and as I remembered, they were all five star reads for me. This author deftly weaves a crime story, creepy paranormal elements, and current social themes in every one of his books. His settings are places we’ve haven’t been. In Demon, a small town in the North Yorkshire Moors is both malevolent and everyday. His characters are p As I finished Demon in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I thought, he’s done it again. I loved this book. I went back and checked my ratings on all his previous books, and as I remembered, they were all five star reads for me. This author deftly weaves a crime story, creepy paranormal elements, and current social themes in every one of his books. His settings are places we’ve haven’t been. In Demon, a small town in the North Yorkshire Moors is both malevolent and everyday. His characters are people we don’t often meet in the genre. The way they talk, the things they care about, seem spot on. These stories aren’t about the privileged in glitzy London, as fun and fantastic as those can be. In particular, Kelly in Demon really stood out as an example of this. I loved her pride and strength, her love of family and place, her unwillingness to let Scott King trample what was important to her. The way that the author handles the sixth story (no spoilers) was completely unexpected and so satisfying. Two important things: I have to figure out which book I need to go back and read regarding Scott King’s revelation in the sixth story. And I need to know that he’s coming back!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    Outstanding! The Six Stories format is an incredibly clever one that offers the reader 6 viewpoints of a single plot point. In Demon that point is a child's murder and the subsequent repercussions. Matt Wesolowski manages to give all the different episodes their own unique voice and shows a genuine skill is story telling. Each episode offers new clues and insight to the case. Sometimes debunking, usually adding wonderful twists but always pushing the story forward in clever ways. I love that there Outstanding! The Six Stories format is an incredibly clever one that offers the reader 6 viewpoints of a single plot point. In Demon that point is a child's murder and the subsequent repercussions. Matt Wesolowski manages to give all the different episodes their own unique voice and shows a genuine skill is story telling. Each episode offers new clues and insight to the case. Sometimes debunking, usually adding wonderful twists but always pushing the story forward in clever ways. I love that there are still parts of the story unexplained. The reader is treated with respect and across all 6 books feature some of the most engaging fiction I've read. The fact that there are supernatural elements sprinkled throughout makes these books even more appealing to me. Six Stories are the very definition of a pageturner. I'm constantly asked who my top 3 authors are and I easily snap back with 1) Clive Barker. 2) Adam Nevill but I always struggle to name a third. I'm beginning to think that Matt Wesolowski is that missing name. A brilliant author and in Six Stories a series of books that are quite simply PERFECT.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dale Robertson

    Another masterclass in writing by Mr Wesolowski. This (and the other Six Stories books) is like binge watching your favorite tv show - twists, turns, creepy, emotional, sad, scary. Ticks all the boxes for fans of horror and crime thrillers. Even psychological thrillers. This book's story is basically like the Bulger case but for 2021 - what would social media and the public be like if that had happened nowadays. That's the premise in a nutshell. The story Matt weaves is addictive and is cleverly Another masterclass in writing by Mr Wesolowski. This (and the other Six Stories books) is like binge watching your favorite tv show - twists, turns, creepy, emotional, sad, scary. Ticks all the boxes for fans of horror and crime thrillers. Even psychological thrillers. This book's story is basically like the Bulger case but for 2021 - what would social media and the public be like if that had happened nowadays. That's the premise in a nutshell. The story Matt weaves is addictive and is cleverly pulled together by the end of the book. His skill at doing this is phenomenal. There's a positive message in this book and it's asking people to check facts, take a step back and think, before commenting on a situation they don't know fully about, no matter how tragic. People are too quick to judge. And with social media the way it is - the public are judge, jury and executioner. It's so easy to join in and hate, but don't...use kindness and understanding. Perhaps think about all angles before hitting that Send button. Anyway....the series is called Six Stories and this is actually the sixth book. Coincidence? I hope it's not the end. These books are brilliant.

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