On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995. Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is… Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.
I normally preface each review with the words SPOILER ALERT in big red letters, but I’m aiming to make this review as spoiler free as possible. I went into Changeling without having read a single review and because of this, I didn’t know what was coming; it kept me guessing right up until the very end and I want anyone who reads it based on my recommendation to have a similar reading experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed the previous two books in the Six Stories series – the reviews for which you can find here and here – and somehow, I enjoyed Changeling even more. As I read the opening sentences, I knew that I was in for one hell of a ride, but I didn’t for a moment consider the possibility that it would actually surpass my sky-high expectations.
But it did and now I’m here to spread the word about the awesomeness that is Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series.
The series is about a podcast, aptly named Six Stories, hosted by Scott King. Each of King’s series views a case through the eyes of six different witnesses and the case he explores in Changeling is that of Alfie Marsden, a seven year old boy who went missing in Wentshire Forest on Christmas Eve of 1988.
Changeling starts off with a supernatural thriller vibe. Several of the people that King talks to recount the unsettling experiences that they had in Wentshire Forest. Unexplained, incessant tapping, whispering voices, visions… This supernatural element tricks readers into thinking that little Alfie Marsden was whisked away by some forest-dwelling entity. That alone would have made for an excellent novel, but as the story progresses, it becomes abundantly clear that the truth behind his disappearance is much darker and much more twisted.
Because sometimes the monster isn’t whatever we imagine to be lurking in the darkness between the trees.
Can I also just say that the passages about the forest were genuinely bone-chilling for me? I worked in Germany one summer a few years back and I was staying on this ranch, which was smack bang in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by super dense forest. Whenever I went for a walk, I could never bring myself to stray from the path because it just so eerily dark and silent between the trees. I always felt as though something was watching me and the descriptions of Wentshire Forest brought this memory surging to the forefront of my brain. I ended up so spooked that there was one evening where I actually postponed my shower until morning because I didn’t want to go out into the dark hallway 😂 Always a sign of fantastic writing.
Changeling is one of the most gripping thrillers that I’ve read in a long while and I can honestly say that it kept me guessing right up until the very end. Chilling, dark and heartbreaking in equal measures, Changeling is a book that you need to add to your TBR list now. Hell, let the entire series skip the queue and make it the next thing that you read.
Want to read Changeling? Head on over to Amazon to buy your copy, or order it through your local bookstore.
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