Changeling
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.‘Bold, clever and genuinely chilling with a terrific twist that provides an explosive final punch’ Deidre O’Brien, Sunday Mirror‘A genuine genre-bending debut’ Carla McKay, Daily Mail‘Impeccably crafted and gripping from start to finish’ Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue‘With a unique structure, an ingenious plot and so much suspense you can’t put it down, this is the very epitome of a must-read’ Heat

Changeling Details

TitleChangeling
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 15th, 2018
PublisherORENDA BOOKS
Rating
GenreThriller, Mystery Thriller, Mystery, Fiction

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Changeling Review

  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories books have become something of a winter tradition for me. Ever since I read Six Stories on Christmas Eve two years ago, I have been hungry for more – I love the format, the tone, the storytelling – and Wesolowski has delivered with a new book in the series two years running. I really enjoyed Hydra in 2017, and now there's Changeling. It's just as addictive as the others and incredibly creepy at times, yet it also tells a very important, sensitively researched st Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories books have become something of a winter tradition for me. Ever since I read Six Stories on Christmas Eve two years ago, I have been hungry for more – I love the format, the tone, the storytelling – and Wesolowski has delivered with a new book in the series two years running. I really enjoyed Hydra in 2017, and now there's Changeling. It's just as addictive as the others and incredibly creepy at times, yet it also tells a very important, sensitively researched story about people and relationships.Like the others, this is a mystery – presented in the form of episodes of a true-crime podcast – which weaves in elements of horror. This time the plot concerns the disappearance of a seven-year-old boy, Alfie Marsden, 30 years ago. The case is long cold; with no leads, Alfie was officially declared to be presumed dead seven years after he went missing. His father, Sorrel, has never given up hope of finding Alfie and makes an annual pilgrimage to the place the boy was last seen. His mother Sonia, however, was an alcoholic who had little involvement in the search for her son and has since withdrawn from the public eye.Alfie went missing when Sorrel briefly stopped his car in the Wentshire Forest – a place that's been the locus of folklore and ghost stories for generations. There's a local legend about a witch luring passers-by into the forest; tales of 'fair folk' who take children. A plan to build a holiday park in the area was abandoned after a spate of inexplicable events around the same time as Alfie's disappearance. In the present day, the whole area is fenced off by the MOD, fuelling the conspiracy theories still further. Scott King, the podcaster behind Six Stories, keeps an open mind, considering the strange rumours as a possible factor in the Alfie case.I read a lot of ghost stories and I watch a lot of horror films. I used to scare easily, but over time I have become inured to many common horror tropes. I still enjoy them; I just don't actually feel spooked. Changeling, though – it got to me. Got to me in that-hairs-standing-up-on-the-back-of-the-neck way; made me feel nervous in the dark, made me start at unknown sounds. There are some memorable scenes, with a miserable camping trip to the forest particularly standing out, and I defy anyone not to experience a creeping dread at some of the detail in the recordings made by Delyth, Alfie's one-time teacher.If the tangled mystery and the creepy atmosphere were all Changeling had to offer, it'd be a great read. But there's more: an extra layer of character development that really elevates the book. This is not really a story about a crime, and who did it, and how they covered it up; it's about what led to something that looks like a crime, the insidious ways in which someone can push another person to breaking point. What makes it work so well is that Wesolowski plays tricks on the reader, mirroring the manipulative behaviour of the villain. Will you – like so many characters in the book – fall into the trap of believing their lies, so effortlessly told, so carefully calculated? When the full story was revealed, I looked back at what I'd read earlier and felt ashamed for accepting certain claims at face value, for not properly understanding who the victims were.I guessed the ending fairly early, but I still thought it was an ingenious twist. Not just for this book but for the series as a whole: it feels as though everything that's happened in Six Stories has been leading to this. (It also makes you realise how clever the title is!)I'd love to read more 'episodes' of Six Stories, but if the series is to remain a trilogy, Changeling makes a fantastic conclusion.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Insanity!! And that's just me....Brilliant. Scary as all hell. Horrific. Wonderful. Did I say brilliant? Don't read this when it's dark. No. Seriously. Trust me.Review will be forthcoming later on the official tour.
  • Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
    January 1, 1970
    “We’re beneath different trees this series, but our feet are sounding against the same darkness and once again we’re facing our fears head-on.”If ever a quote summed up the experience of reading Matt Wesolowski’s books, this chiller from Changeling is perfect.I had been dying to read Changeling ever since I saw the beautiful cover on Twitter a few months back, and let’s face it, being a superfan means I have literally NO PATIENCE when it comes to waiting for these things. So huge thanks to both “We’re beneath different trees this series, but our feet are sounding against the same darkness and once again we’re facing our fears head-on.”If ever a quote summed up the experience of reading Matt Wesolowski’s books, this chiller from Changeling is perfect.I had been dying to read Changeling ever since I saw the beautiful cover on Twitter a few months back, and let’s face it, being a superfan means I have literally NO PATIENCE when it comes to waiting for these things. So huge thanks to both Karen and Matt for letting me read an early copy.Reader, it does not disappoint.In Changeling, Scott King is back investigating again. This time it is the disappearance of Alfie Marsden from his father’s car in the Wentshire Forest Pass on Christmas Eve 1988. Alfie disappeared without a trace and was officially declared dead seven years and three months after he disappeared. Scott sets out with his usual investigative zeal in search of answers.I read Changeling over the course of today, making notes as I went, which I never do. And even with these notes, I still feel like I can’t do this book the justice it deserves.Changeling is by far, my most favourite of the Six Stories books, and I love them all, I mean I REALLY love them. So just know I am not saying that lightly. Changeling got under my skin in a way the others didn’t.The tension and sense of menace is there from the outset. It builds steadily, rolling like waves in a storm, until it crashes around your consciousness and leaves you almost breathless. Hidden and implied horror help to make Changeling a thoroughly bracing read, leaving the reader more than a little unsettled in its wake.Much like the Changeling in old folklore, this book itself goes through a metamorphosis. But the author does this slowly, almost imperceptibly, and it creeps up on you gradually that what you are reading is a little different to what you started reading.I PROMISE I will do a more in-depth review, but for now, know this;Changeling is an intense, dark and utterly absorbing book. The pages crackle with tension, the characters have real depth and the writing is truly stunning.Matt Wesolowski has to be one of the most imaginiative and talented young writers out there at the moment. His ability to make his writing current in terms of style, while still managing to write the perfect kind of crime/horror/psychological thriller mash-up, astounds me more with every book of his I read.Highly, highly recommended.Always.
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  • The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...Sometimes with a book you just know within the first few pages that you are in for an exceptional read and Changeling is one such book. In short, I fucking loved this book and I fucking love this series! The Six Stories series deserves to be read, Changeling deserves to be a hit and Wesolowski deserves to be a huge name.The first Six Stories was a fantastic debut and a deliciously dark tale. This review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...Sometimes with a book you just know within the first few pages that you are in for an exceptional read and Changeling is one such book. In short, I fucking loved this book and I fucking love this series! The Six Stories series deserves to be read, Changeling deserves to be a hit and Wesolowski deserves to be a huge name.The first Six Stories was a fantastic debut and a deliciously dark tale. The second, Hydra was even better, far darker, it ramped up the sinister scale and was an all-around more complete book. Now, with the third, Changeling, simply put, it is phenomenal and with it, Wesolowski has created one hell of a fiendish book.I will mention that even though Changeling is the third Six Stories book it can easily be read as a standalone. Each Six Stories book acts as a separate entity, a complete Six Stories podcast series and an individual story. Admittedly, a couple of things that have happened to Scott King due to the Six Stories podcast are alluded to and mentioned but it is only in minor passing. Yes, if you’ve read the previous two books then you will get the references but without that knowledge, it won’t hinder your enjoyment of Changeling at all and enjoy Changeling you most assuredly will.Six Stories is the renowned podcast series hosted by Scott King. The premise is simple, six episodes, six people, six stories that are all tied to and that all relate to a cold case that King has chosen to investigate.The case that King is looking at in Changeling is that of Alfie Marsden. Thirty years ago Seven-year-old Alfie tragically vanished from his Dad’s car on December 24th, 1988, Christmas Eve and was officially declared ‘presumed dead‘ in 1995. It was late at night and Alfie was asleep in the car when his Dad pulled over at the Wentshire Forest Pass opposite Great Escapes, a building development site. His Dad stopped driving due to hearing a knocking coming from the engine of the car. Subsequently, his Dad got out to investigate, looking under the bonnet for the source of the noise. Only a matter of minutes passed but on his return, Alfie wasn’t there, he was just gone, the car door was now open, his seat empty and of little Alfie, there was no trace, it was as if without a sound he had vanished into thin air.Alfie’s disappearance is an ideal case for the Six Stories podcast but King has previously been reluctant to investigate it and is still reticent about it now. It is the case of a missing child, a soul lost to time, a life that has been taken before it had the chance to start and perhaps, it is respectful not to disturb that child, to allow him to rest in peace, to leave his memory alone and to let him sleep. But, a letter promising to reveal new and never before seen insights into the case piques King’s interest. And so, despite his reticence King decides to dip his toes into the murky waters of the disappearance of Alfie Marsden.Over the course of the Six Stories series, we get six different angles, perspectives and stories from Sir Harrison Baxter, one-half of the developers of Baxter and Blackwood’s Great Escapes, the company who, at the time of Alfie’s disappearance were trying to build their latest development in Wentshire Forest. Callum Wright, a labourer on the Great Escapes site at the time of Alfie’s disappearance. Anne, a psychic who upon his disappearance claimed to know what had happened to Alfie. Wendy Morris, a former friend and a former work colleague of Sorrel Marsden. And, finally, the stories of Sonia Lewis and Sorrel Marsden, Alfie’s parents.To go along with those six individual stories King’s research into the case includes snippets from various other sources. Giving additional insights, more information and also peeling back the layers of those involved in the case whilst adding extra detail to the story.Changeling isn’t just a look at the night that Alfie Marsden disappeared. No, it is so much more. It is a look at the location of Alfie’s disappearance, Wentshire Forest, a place that is known for its folklore and links to the hidden people/fairies the supernatural. It is a look at the life of Alfie, the lives of Alfie’s parents, their relationship, their pasts and their personalities. It is a look at everything that came before, everything that built towards and everything that transpired culminating in what took place on that fateful night.You know that there are secrets, lies and shocking revelations (yes, holy shit moments are included) to be revealed during the course of the series of interviews. The pleasure is in joining King. Diving in right alongside him and watching it all unfold through each individual account and recollection. Delving deeper into the mystery, searching for the truth and putting together the pieces of the puzzle as the full picture begins to take shape.Sometimes it’s not what is written but what isn’t written. What is implied and what the author leaves open for you to draw your own opinions from that will needle and nettle away at you. Creeping into your mind, reading between the lines and making you think on the unwritten words and what they could mean. You will find yourself comparing, questioning and thoughts will be rolling around in your mind as you compare the stories of those involved.Changeling has a compelling narrative that eddies and flows like a river and you will find yourself carried along on the current by Wesolowski’s hypnotic writing. There’s a palpable sense of tension keeping you company that is tied together by a captivating yet tragic mystery and a haunting truth.It’s the power of the writer to fully transport you into their work and with Changeling you find yourself forgetting that you are reading a book and a story involving fictional characters. Wesolowski’s creation feels real. The tragic disappearance of Alfie Marsden that haunts the pages doesn’t come across as a story but a real tragedy that could have happened. His characters for all intents and purposes are real and you genuinely feel like you are reading real-life accounts from real people.There’s a disquiet, an unease that runs throughout Changeling suffusing the story that Wesolowksi is telling and imbuing it with an unsettling sense of darkness.Changeling is a chilling read, a sinister story and the best Six Stories yet.
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  • Louise Beech
    January 1, 1970
    Oh. My. God. What a raw and intense reaction I had when I finished the last lines of this book. I was on the bus going to work (where I always read) and had tears on my cheeks. Such a powerful read. Scary, very much. (If anyone had knocked on ANYTHING while I was reading this I would have died!) Mysterious, always. Intense, yes. Twisty and turny, totally. But emotional too. What an ending! I want to read it all over again soon. Just Wesolowski's best so far.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the settings in the novelThis is an early review I know but put this on your lists to be read NOW. It’s one of my best books of the year. Oh sweet all that is good in the bookshop – this is a brilliant read from start to finish. And what a finish! Totally taken aback. Didn’t see that coming at all!The Six Stories is one of the best series I’ve read in a long time and this is my favourite yet. I read it in daylight hours just to be on the safe side. Just as well – this book is creepy and th Visit the settings in the novelThis is an early review I know but put this on your lists to be read NOW. It’s one of my best books of the year. Oh sweet all that is good in the bookshop – this is a brilliant read from start to finish. And what a finish! Totally taken aback. Didn’t see that coming at all!The Six Stories is one of the best series I’ve read in a long time and this is my favourite yet. I read it in daylight hours just to be on the safe side. Just as well – this book is creepy and then some. That forest might be fictional but it felt real, let me tell you! It’s all so beautifully crafted – the woods, the noises , the darkness, the fear, the unknown and those legends of changelings, fairy folk and the Wentshire witch.Read each of the podcast stories slowly and soak it all in – it’s hauntingly good and superbly atmospheric. The writing is as top notch as ever and I really think Matt has surpassed himself this time. Wentshire Woods certainly felt very creep and real to me. Hauntingly atmospheric and lyrically pitch perfect.Advice from the BookTrail? Put this on your wish list and buy the other two in the series. You might not be able to travel there for real but in your mind and heart and the deepest pit of fear in your chest, you can…
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Solid five stars. Finished it in the early hours, too good to put down and who needs sleep?
  • Justin
    January 1, 1970
    Another great instalment in the Six Stories series. Fantastically written, detailing the horror throughout the story. Still annoyed at myself for guessing the ending though.
  • Sally Boocock
    January 1, 1970
    A superb telling of a missing child in six stories. Creepy, unsettling and immensely enjoyable. Totally loved it.
  • Kayla
    January 1, 1970
    Incredible. I love this series so much.
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