Book Review: Changeling

CHANGELING | Matt Wesolowski
(Six Stories #3)
01.15.2019 | Orenda Books
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Christmas Eve 1988 marks the night that seven-year-old Alfie Marsden disappeared into the Wentshire Forest. Alfie’s father, Sorrel, claims that he pulled over because he heard a tapping noise coming from under the hood. Sometime between Sorrel getting out of the car, checking under the hood, and returning to the driver’s seat, Alfie vanished. No trace of the child was ever found. No body ever discovered.

Online journalist and Six Stories podcast host, Scott King, has received a mysterious letter in the mail justifying why Alfie Marsden’s disappearance would be perfect for King’s podcast. This letter sparks an immediate interest in King and he begins to research those that knew Alfie and the boy’s parents. Can King do what the police could not so many years ago and solve the case of Alfie’s disappearance?

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Voices. Whispering words that weren’t words, that were sort of half formed. What everyone said, though, was that there was something that made them feel like they wanted to follow those voices into the trees.

Matt Wesolowski consistently amazes me with his Six Stories series! CHANGELING had me hooked from the moment I read the first page. There is something about a mysterious disappearance of a child that you can’t help but feel the need to know more. Just like in the previous installments of this series, the story is unraveled through six podcasts. The host and narrator, Scott King, selects different people to feature on each episode, each of which can provide a different side to the case. In this particular investigative series we are introduced to both characters who can provide information on Alfie, as well as those that can provide information on his parents.

Scott King’s investigation into the disappearance of Alfie Marsden is filled with passion and a resolve to find answers. Unlike in the previous two books where King seemed to be more focused on simply sharing the truths associated with those cases and letting listeners draw their own conclusions, this time around he wants answers. And answers he will get. Wesolowski closes out CHANGELING in a shocking final episode that will leave you in awe. I had some hunches as we got further into the episodes about what truly happened to Alfie, but Wesolowski managed to knock me off my feet.

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Serendipity and chance meetings have plagued this story. And is that not what life is? Moments, meetings, chances carved from some vast and infinite chaos. Don’t we carve ourselves little paths through a never-ending miasma? Do we carve them for others – consciously or unconsciously?

CHANGELING is a story that is creepy on multiple levels. The setting and lure that surround Wentshire Forest play a role not just in Alfie’s disappearance, but also in the backstory. Some of the lure and the mysteries surrounding this Forest continue to play into the unsettling nature of other narratives throughout the book. I was genuinely uncomfortable reading portions that focuses on people’s experiences in the woods. Perhaps more unsettling are some of the characters experiences outside of the woods. In lieu of not spoiling anything, I will leave it with the recognition that people can be monsters and it’s terrifying the ways that they can conceal their true selves from the public.

You can certainly start your Six Stories journey with any book in the series, as they all work perfectly as standalones. As someone who obsesses with reading in order, I highly recommend starting with SIX STORIES and working your way through in order.

A monster has to practice becoming a monster.

A huge thank you to Orenda Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

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