A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Which one is true?
When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.
Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?
First of all I have a confession to make: I read this novel months ago, right after I received it and I loved it one hundred percent. The only problem was finding the words to tell you this. Now I recently heard the news that the next novel ‘Demon’ is going to be published by the end of the year, so I didn’t want to let Deity just pass unnoticed. I really want Deity to receive the attention it deserves. I therefore reread Deity (this is exceptional let me tell you because I plan to reread dozens of novels but due to lack of time this is probably the first one in a decade) and honestly, it really was as enjoyable as the first time. It was not a waste of time, on the contrary, I’d read Deity a third time too if it would help me to convince you to read this novel and the entire series. I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to give it a shot now though!
To situate, Deity is the fifth title of the Six Stories series. The series is called this way because the stories are told by Scott King, an online journalist who interviews six people in six podcast episodes. His goal is always to reveal the truth and in Deity he tries to find out who Zach Crystal really was. A good man or a devil in disguise? He investigates the accusations against mega pop star Zach Crystal of sexual abuse and murder before his death. There are many rumors but Scott King can’t question Zach Crystal himself because he’s dead and the five women who accused the star of sexual assault in 2010 and 2011 are not willing to be interviewed either but Scott wouldn’t be King if he didn’t find other interesting figures who can shed a light onto this case.
Scott’s first interviewee is an opponent of Zach Crystal, someone who sides with the accusations and has his own story to tell about Zach which puts him in a very bad light. A harrowing story if it were to be true and the connection to existing stars with unsavory stories was easily made. These statements and his credibility were then contradicted by the second interviewee, a Crystal Truther as she is called, someone who is a bit of an expert and who was actually at Crystal Forest herself because yes, Crystal lives in a ‘tree house’ in the forest where he invites disadvantaged teenage girls to stay, to watch horror movies and take strolls in the forest. Apparently if you’re a pop star then it’s quite ok to do such things. Crystal believes in a presence in the Whispering Forest too, in a creature called the Frithghast, some ‘thing’ he always sees when something bad is about to happen. It creates a bond between him and his followers who’ve seen it too. Is it manipulation or is it real?
With each new interview there’s strange new information that comes forward, both speaking for and against the star, depending on who is talking. There’s a former employee, a mother of one of his fans, a fellow musician who was an unexpected but very pleasant surprise and the last one… well you just need to read it to find out but it will bring the closure you will crave after reading the other podcasts.
I didn’t know what to think of Zach anymore, my opinions swung this and that way. Are the people making accusations about popstars money-grabbing vultures with a hidden agenda? Do we actually know the stars we adore so much? Do they deserve to be put on such a pedestal though simply because they’re great singers? Do they possess a power over people who are willing to believe anything they say? Deity is a thought-provoking and reflective novel, and it managed to change my own thinking. Next to the amazing inclusion of yet another creepy legend this is what I loved most about this novel. Deity is a well thought-out story, it covers all angles (you even hear from Zach himself in an exclusive interview before his death) and you never know how it’s going to end, it ALWAYS takes me by surprise. I can’t say which novel is my absolute favorite but I can say that Deity is definitely in my top 3 of the series!
I received a free paperback copy of this novel from the publisher Orenda Books to read and review. This is still my honest opinion.
Here are my reviews of the Six Stories series so far: