Beast by Matt Wesolowski – Review.

About The Book

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…

My Review

Beast is the fourth book in the Six Stories series. It could be read as a standalone but I would recommend that you at least read book three – Changeling before reading this. There are no spoilers but you would gain more by knowing what happened to Scott in his past.

I do like a novel about vampires and the legend of the ‘Ergath Vampire’ is a chilling one. Especially when it coincides with the very cold weather that the region was experiencing, the nickname the ‘Beast From The East’ has more than one meaning in this novel.

Lizzie B is the victim, if this was real life she isn’t somebody I would follow on social media, I don’t have time for self obsessed people who thrive on likes across their various channels. I definitely don’t understand the current fascination with unboxing videos on YouTube, but many do judging by how popular they are. Each to their own.

But Lizzie isn’t as liked or as popular as we are led to believe, even though she does appear to have many followers. The author shows how she is an expert in manipulation but amongst her supposed fans are some who have a grudge over events that happened before she became an internet celebrity.

There are parts of this novel that are unsettling. The control of social media, how fake and shallow it is. How it can be used to bully and create unrest. And how easy it is to hide behind a keyboard. There was also a description of events that occurred in an abattoir that could very easily have made me go vegetarian.

I love the way Scott King uncovers the reasons why Lizzie had to die. He never seems to judge, and he doesn’t do it to solve a crime. He just wants to understand and see how those connected feel. The reader isn’t expected to feel sympathy for either the victim or the culprits, just understand why it happened.

The Six Stories series has been added to with originality and style. I would love to see it televised and see who would be cast in some fantastic roles.

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