Book Review: Changeling by Matt Wesolowski


Author: Matt Wesolowski

Publisher: Orenda Books

Release Date: November 2018

In Changeling, online journalist Scott King – who has become an internet sensation thanks to his ‘Six Stories’ podcasts – enters a world of pain when he looks into the chilling case of seven-year-old Alfie Marsden, who vanished from his father’s car on Christmas Eve 1988.

The little boy went missing in the notorious Wentshire Forest Pass, a location plagued with supernatural stories and strange sightings, which was subsequently acquired by the RAF and fenced off to dissuade prying eyes. No trace of the boy was ever found, and Alfie was officially declared dead in 1995, but the case continues to cast a grim shadow over those familiar with it. 30 years on, can Scott King get any closer to the truth?

Changeling – the third book in Matt Wesolowski’s acclaimed ‘Six Stories’ series – is a sly, multi-faceted mystery, and the author wrongfooted me more than once as he picked away at the scabs of a notorious cold case. The conflicting witness statements that make up the book’s narrative offer grisly, bone-deep examinations of the unfortunate characters and their questionable motivations, and the effect is completely gripping. This technique allows the author to not only get under the protagonists’ skins – but also get under yours.

He also includes a layer of grubby realism lacking in a lot of high-concept mysteries and the book is unnerving on a number of levels. While the murky supernatural elements of the book hit the spot, they pale in comparison to the all-too-human terrors that are uncovered as the story evolves. The Six Stories series boasts an intriguing premise, and Changeling – my first encounter with Wesolowski’s work – is extremely well-executed and makes for disturbingly compulsive reading. Highly recommended.

Review by Tom Leins