Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…
In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger Elizabeth Barton had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.
Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.
Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire’…
Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…
Another new year also means another new novel in the Six Stories series published at the start of the year, and that annual promise is pretty much what always makes me look forward to the end of the year and the beginning of the next. Happy new year indeed! I’m usually hopelessly falling behind reading a series and the general rule tends to be that I’m slacking by the time book 3 comes out. Six Stories is the big exception though, as I read all three of the previous books in the series and I have now devoured the fourth novel Beast. I simply want to read the next one as soon as I possibly can and even with a year in between I’m always eagerly waiting for the new novel to be released.
You can read the books as standalones but if you want to know more about the podcast presenter Mr. Scott King himself, you really should start with book 1, Six Stories, and then just keep on going with Hydra, Changeling and this Beast of a book. They are all amazing and this new title is definitely another great addition to the series. The title is quite meaningful by the way when you read this novel, and I can only say that it fits the book like a glove.
All of Matt Wesolowski’s stories are presented as mysteries and there’s a touch of the paranormal in every novel and I love it that he always incorporates legends and fables in the stories too, and presents a history to every reader that makes the story all the more real. In Beast he incorporates a vampire legend and it is the perfect backdrop for this grisly murder committed at the most remote, dank, cold place you can imagine. It really is the perfect novel to read in the cold winter months. I could see the Tankerville Tower before my eyes but I could not fathom how a young and sweet girl who tried to give so much to society could find her end there. Ah but in these podcast stories nothing is ever as it seems and secrets are served very cold. The dark side of people never ceases to surprise me. I knew the story was much more complex than initially laid out. I was also quite fascinated to read anything and everything about her three killers. They might have had a questionable history but an arsenist doesn’t make a killer per se, right? Somehow, even with their bad reputations, I couldn’t see them do this. I tossed and turned at night thinking about a reason.. what pushed them so much, how on earth could do this to this lovely girl? Imagine my surprise when I found out. Maybe I would have preferred after all to have heard more from the three young men in prison, or a first person POV on the night she was killed to get even more personal but I was already in rapture to just hear about it and the shock effect was in place just the same.
Social media presence plays a big part in this novel and I feel like I’ve woken up to many things that I have never thought about, like all those silly challenges that people do. I had also never even heard of ‘flying monkeys’ before but it exists, and probably more than you realise.
The series is brilliantly challenging and the latest addition Beast is an imaginative novel, relevant to today’s day and age. I totally recommend every novel in the series (saves me from answering that question which one is my favorite right). Now, can we skip a few months ahead perhaps so we can hold number 5 in our hands sooner?
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Orenda Books for review. This is still my honest opinion.