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Deity

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Online investigative journalist Scott King investigates the death of a pop megastar, the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse and murder before his untimely demise in a fire … another episode of the startlingly original, award-winning Six Stories series. When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitte Online investigative journalist Scott King investigates the death of a pop megastar, the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse and murder before his untimely demise in a fire … another episode of the startlingly original, award-winning Six Stories series. When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls. Online journalist Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rakes over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Whose remains – still unidentified – were found in the ashes? Why was he never officially charged? Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…


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Online investigative journalist Scott King investigates the death of a pop megastar, the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse and murder before his untimely demise in a fire … another episode of the startlingly original, award-winning Six Stories series. When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitte Online investigative journalist Scott King investigates the death of a pop megastar, the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse and murder before his untimely demise in a fire … another episode of the startlingly original, award-winning Six Stories series. When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls. Online journalist Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rakes over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Whose remains – still unidentified – were found in the ashes? Why was he never officially charged? Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…

30 review for Deity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    I reviewed this (and wrote about my love for Six Stories in general) for Sublime Horror. Read the full piece here: Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series gets a superb new addition in Deity The fifth book in Matt Wesolowski's always-excellent Six Stories series, Deity focuses on the life and death of Zach Crystal, a singer who ascends to megastardom while maintaining an enigmatic image and secretive persona, before first disappearing for a year and then – after a brief return to the public eye – be I reviewed this (and wrote about my love for Six Stories in general) for Sublime Horror. Read the full piece here: Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series gets a superb new addition in Deity The fifth book in Matt Wesolowski's always-excellent Six Stories series, Deity focuses on the life and death of Zach Crystal, a singer who ascends to megastardom while maintaining an enigmatic image and secretive persona, before first disappearing for a year and then – after a brief return to the public eye – becoming the only victim of a fire at his custom-built home in an otherwise wild area of Scottish woodland. Podcast host Scott King investigates a number of rumours surrounding Crystal, chiefly allegations of inappropriate conduct with young fans. As ever, Wesolowski crafts a gripping and intensely readable mystery laced with elements of horror (here the 'Frithghast', a creature born from a ghost story specific to the locale of Crystal's mansion), but it's also excellent on questions around power, idolatry and celebrity, the role of abuse in shaping an abuser, and 'separating the art from the artist'. A real return to form after Beast, which I enjoyed but found worryingly ambivalent towards the victim at its centre. I received an advance review copy of Deity from Sublime Horror, courtesy of Orenda Books. TinyLetter | Linktree

  2. 4 out of 5

    The Coycaterpillar Reads

    Make sure you are sitting down, and you have your seatbelt properly connected. Deity is a frank and brutal look at the evil within. It’s shocking and it is an investigation on how celebrities are put upon a pedestal, they become godlike, a deity. They rely upon fans to be their shield; their security fence and money and infamy makes them untouchable. Their depravity goes under the radar and accusations can easily disappear behind the wall of yes men, the best lawyers that money can buy and loyal Make sure you are sitting down, and you have your seatbelt properly connected. Deity is a frank and brutal look at the evil within. It’s shocking and it is an investigation on how celebrities are put upon a pedestal, they become godlike, a deity. They rely upon fans to be their shield; their security fence and money and infamy makes them untouchable. Their depravity goes under the radar and accusations can easily disappear behind the wall of yes men, the best lawyers that money can buy and loyal fans that will attack anyone that says anything discriminatory against their idols. It’s a twisted and intelligent story that makes Matt Wesolowski one of my favourite authors. It only takes a split second to realise the skill and the suffocating tension Wesolowski can manipulate in his narrative. He has proven time and time again just why he’s so damn good at grabbing his reader with his original style highly combustible plots. He’s tapped into the popularity of podcasts and what attracts listeners to them. True crime has become a very popular genre and he has the fundamentals oozing with addictiveness. Interviews, fear, and the popularity of a dead popstar feed into the guests panic about speaking up. I was hooked. Like the previous books in the Six Stories series, Deity can be read as a standalone, but I recommend for that full immersive experience that you pick up the others in the series as soon as you are able. The story is emotionally gripping and extremely relevant with the breakthrough movement of #metoo. Like the other books we follow online journalist, Scott King, owner and producer of the true crime podcast, Six Stories. He investigates a story and interviews six people directly related to the events. In this case it’s the story of dead pop star, Zach Crystal. He aims to tear open the old wounds of allegations of abuse that surrounded his aura. He doesn’t judge until he has the full facts and even then, it’s the reader how gets to make up their own mind. Zach Crystal was a mega superstar. Think about celebrities who have hit that kind of heights, Curt Cobain, Ed Sheeran, and Britney Spears. He was thrown into the spotlight early on when he was a child star with his sister, Naomi, performing as the Crystal Twins. A rag to riches story, abuse at the hands of their parents, was brought up in an almost fanatical religious household in a rough housing estate. This rise to fame continued through-out their teens until going solo at around the age of nineteen. It then went stratospheric. He was an enigma, never showing his face and it only meant the world wanted more of him. His reclusiveness accumulated in the purchasing of Crystal Forest, a 500-acre woodland near Aviemore. It comprised of a sprawling mansion, a luxurious treehouse and recording studio. The horrific element of this story is just how this happens with celebrities that hit that Deity status time and time again. Why do we the fans catapult them to that level? Why do we feel we deserve a part of them? Why do they think they are above morality and the law? Why? When all they are just a man at the end of the day. Deity is hauntingly enigmatic and powerfully obtrusive. It slides into your mind and takes root. This story has a heartbeat and unleashes horrors that linger way longer than just the duration of the story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again : Matt Wesolowski’s books are just impossible to review when you’re a mere mortal like myself. I lack the vocabulary to adequately express the awesomeness of his work. “Holy shit” seems to be the extent of it. So, this review will most likely be at hot mess but it is what it is. They say you should never meet your heroes or idols. In most instances the reality is hugely disappointing. After all, no matter their achievements or accomplishments they are sti I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again : Matt Wesolowski’s books are just impossible to review when you’re a mere mortal like myself. I lack the vocabulary to adequately express the awesomeness of his work. “Holy shit” seems to be the extent of it. So, this review will most likely be at hot mess but it is what it is. They say you should never meet your heroes or idols. In most instances the reality is hugely disappointing. After all, no matter their achievements or accomplishments they are still as human as the next person. Nowadays with social media, things are even harder to hide. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has unfollowed a favourite actor or singer for whatever reason. Celebrities and fans are in much closer contact these days. Good? Bad? Who knows. But in Deity, there are rumours surrounding singer Zach Crystal and they are a different story altogether. His career was dogged by accusations. Was there a monster lurking underneath that public persona? Or were the rumours indeed just rumours? Now, Zach Crystal has perished in a fire at his secluded mansion in Scotland and his death has divided a nation. Good riddance to bad rubbish? Or a sad farewell to a talented and charitable “legend”? Scott King returns with his podcast. Six episodes, six interviews, six stories about one case. Or in this instance, six ways to look at one man. Son, brother, uncle, friend, entertainer. Misunderstood genius? Perverted predator? Did anyone really know the man behind the legendary entertainer? As I’ve already mentioned, I always find Matt Wesolowski’s books so incredibly hard to review. If you’re familiar with his work, then you know he never writes just a creepy thriller. Spooky and creepy, yes. But the monsters are always horrifyingly real. His stories have immense depth to them and are always far more thought-provoking than you might at first expect. Deity most definitely is and nobody really comes out of this story looking good. The concept of telling these stories via podcasts remains as genius and as fresh as the first Six Stories instalment. (By the way, I’m told that these provide a truly excellent listening experience as well so if audiobooks are your thing, give them a go!) The various points of view made perfect sense and the reader is even given the opportunity to hear from the man himself by way of an exclusive tv interview he conducted a few months before his death. One of the aspects of the story that I found truly fascinating was the fan perspective. I’m sure many of us can relate and I’m sure many of us have seen footage from Beatle-mania, for instance, and I’m also sure many of us look at things like that now and cringe. Thousands of adoring fans lining up, almost being brainwashed by lyrics, convinced the songs are about them, feeling this connection with whomever is singing and ultimately defending this object of their affection until the bitter end. This blind adoration for their idol, their god, their deity. How would a devoted fan feel if their idol suddenly singled them out? How easy is it for someone with bad intentions to take advantage of that? And when someone like that falls from grace, is it still okay to appreciate the catalogue of songs or movies they’ve left behind? Is it ever okay to remain silent? There are an incredible amount of topics in Deity that would make for fabulous discussions. Deity is dark, disturbing, incredibly twisted, so SO immensely clever but also extremely thought-provoking and emotional throughout. And by the end, I was quite frankly just stunned into silence. Utterly speechless. My mind blown, as always happens with a Wesolowski book. So yes, “holy shit”. But also “best one yet”. Buy it now.

  4. 4 out of 5

    The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).

    Deity is a look at the evil within, the monster that can be hidden behind the mask of celebrity, fame and fortune and how those in a position of power exploit their fans to sate their depraved appetites. Deity is yet another addictive, clever and twisted delight by the diabolical talent that is Matt Wesolowski and the fifth book in his always stellar Six Stories series. Like the previous four books, it features a self-contained story and can easily be read as a standalone. Six Stories is a true- Deity is a look at the evil within, the monster that can be hidden behind the mask of celebrity, fame and fortune and how those in a position of power exploit their fans to sate their depraved appetites. Deity is yet another addictive, clever and twisted delight by the diabolical talent that is Matt Wesolowski and the fifth book in his always stellar Six Stories series. Like the previous four books, it features a self-contained story and can easily be read as a standalone. Six Stories is a true-crime podcast hosted by the online journalist Scott King where six individual stories are told over six episodes with each new episode introducing a new guest who has links to the case that King is investigating. With each guest, King questions them, probing and reopening old wounds, but he allows them the chance to tell their own story and their piece of the puzzle. King has no agenda, he is an intermediary, a go-between and Six Stories the conduit that allows the guests the opportunity for their voice and their words to be heard. Where the story goes, King follows travelling down the roads that open up. King allows listeners to his podcast (us readers) the chance to make up our own minds, laying out the information while remaining neutral. He has no personal stake in the investigation and he doesn’t pass judgement until he has all the facts at his disposal and until he has heard all six stories from his guests. In Deity, Scott King is looking into the life and death of Zach Crystal and the allegations of abuse that plagued his career both in life and in his death as more and more women are coming forward with historical abuse claims against the deceased superstar. Zach Crystal was a megastar who had a stratospheric rise to fame. A rags to riches story, coming from a poor family and a deeply religious upbringing on a council estate in the Midlands, through to his teenage years in ‘The Crystal Twins’ with his twin sister Naomi before he left to going solo and his ascent to becoming a world-famous musician. Crystal was a recluse and an enigma who, before his death lived in Crystal Forest, a five-hundred-acre estate in the Scottish Highlands comprising a remote mansion, recording studio and two-storey treehouse (a sanctum, a sanctuary away from the world where he could be himself) deep in the wilderness, surrounded by state-of-the-art security and miles away from anyone. Without going into detail, the six guests on the six episodes of Six Stories in Deity and the souls that are tangled in the story, that are entwined with Zach Crystal and the web surrounding him are the host of Monster-Busters, a YouTube channel that exposes online predators and who believes that Crystal is guilty of the accusations levelled against him. A super fan of Zach Crystal and ardent supporter of his innocence who has her own podcast ‘The Crystal-Cast’. A groundskeeper in Colliecrith National Park, the park where Zach Crystal’s estate (Crystal Forest) was located who was originally employed to help build the estate and who was then, after the estate’s completion hired as a security guard. A mother of a Zach Crystal fan who, along with her daughter spent time at Crystal Forest. A musician who was famous in the early noughties, who have had their own share of controversy surrounding them (they are a returning guest to Six Stories, their inclusion in Deity makes perfect sense from a storytelling perspective as both they and Crystal are/were involved in the music industry and their appearance is also a wonderful nod and throwback to a previous Six Stories book and serves to show how much Scott King has grown as a host as back on their first appearance, King wasn’t asking the right questions, but maybe he is now) and whose path has crossed with Zach Crystal on both a personal and a professional level. And finally, a family member, kin and Zach Crystal’s own blood. Interspersed between each of the episodes of Six Stories there are snippets of a transcript from the last interview that the Zach Crystal did a few months prior to his death. Each new episode and interview goes further beneath the surface and there’s nothing shallow or superficial about the story told in Deity as Wesolowski plumbs the depths of Zach Crystal. Wesolowski keeps the waters murky and tenebrous, obscuring the picture and making you question if Crystal is someone whose legacy has been tainted by people with a vendetta against him. People who are out for nothing more than to make money and a name for themselves at the expense of a dead man as the dead can’t speak and they can’t defend themselves or their actions. If he is simply different and misunderstood, an eccentric musician who wanted nothing more than to help damaged teenagers from disadvantaged upbringings by giving something back to those who have nothing in life but scars from a troubled childhood. Or, if he truly is guilty of the heinous and horrific accusations against him and that he used his fame, fortune and name to coerce, manipulate and seduce his fans into doing things that they shouldn’t as they worshipped at the altar of their musical idol. As you fall deeper down the rabbit hole you find yourself turning the pages with ominous dread, a sense of foreboding for where the story will lead. After all, it’s Six Stories, it’s Wesolowski and you know that there will be no sunshine, kittens and lollipops waiting for you as you reach the end of the story. However, it’s only with the last guest and the last part of their interview that the water truly becomes clear, chillingly so and any lingering shred of doubt that you might have had over whether or not Zach Crystal is guilty of the accusations against him finally vanishes. You are nearing the end, the page count is fast dwindling, there are only a few pages left, you think that all the cards have been dealt and that you know where they have fallen, but no, Wesolowski has one last trick up his sleeve as he pulls out THAT shocker of a revelation and jaw-dropping denouement, stunning, absolutely stunning. The plotting in Deity is devilish by design, tension-filled and keeps you gripped throughout. The writing is the same high standard that we have all come to expect from Wesolowski and that he consistently delivers in his Six Stories series. The sense of setting that Wesolowski manages to convey is, once again terrific with the forest where Crystal Forest is located feeling menacing and highly atmospheric. Even five books into the series the interview transcript format still feels fresh and unique. There are distinctive characters in Deity, all with their own voice who come to life and feel like real people, while they may not be likeable, they are human. In the Six Stories series, Wesolowski incorporates a supernatural element into his work that casts a lengthening shadow over the story blending together the natural with the supernatural in an unholy union. In Deity, the supernatural aspect comes from the Frithgast, a creature with a rotting body, a skeletal face and glowing red eyes. Sighting of the Frithgast is a portent that something bad will happen and an ill omen for what is to come. The local legend has its own folklore and myth surrounding it and comes with its own chilling ghost story. Deity once again finds Wesolowski dancing with the darkness as he takes the reader on another powerful, unsettling and thought-provoking journey into the disturbing and darkened heart of human nature.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Visit the locations in the novel The Six stories series is a winner in my book. The central mystery of each ‘episode’ draws you in and you get so involved and immersed in what is going on, who you should believe, that you soon lose all sense of self. This episode of Six Stories reads a little different from the other ones. Where the other ones have cantered on the horror angle, this felt like a dark, suspenseful and dare I say it, timely case. There were horror aspects to it however. There is so Visit the locations in the novel The Six stories series is a winner in my book. The central mystery of each ‘episode’ draws you in and you get so involved and immersed in what is going on, who you should believe, that you soon lose all sense of self. This episode of Six Stories reads a little different from the other ones. Where the other ones have cantered on the horror angle, this felt like a dark, suspenseful and dare I say it, timely case. There were horror aspects to it however. There is something in the woods where the main character lived, in a remote forest getaway. And we all know what kind of forests Matt W likes to create in his stories. No teddy bears here! The central theme was sadly timely as it follows the death of a mega superstar – the Justin Bieber of his day. Someone feted so much and put on a godly pedestal by fans that he seems untouchable. Then thigs go wrong. He is accused of the unspeakable, he lives as a recluse, his house burns down and his charred body is found in the remains….. I felt uncomfortable reading this as it reminded me of the documentary about Michael Jackson’s accusers. Where we seem to value and wonder at celebrity so much, that we never question what is acceptable and what isn’t. Where parents as well as their children become so caught up with the fame game that all sense goes out of the window. Money talks but fame and celebrity seems to drown all of that out. This episode of Six stories was particularly clever as it brought a real and uncomfortable scenario alive via the brilliant podcast series that Matt has made his own. The perfect vehicle for showcasing what the media shows us, what we believe and then what turns out to be true. This novel made me think about celebrity and why we favour celebrities so much, what that means and what goes on behind the scenes. We hear from the superstar himself, Zach Crystal, his staff, family and fans. I was believing one thing one minute and something else entirely the next. The truth was another surprise itself and raised even more questions. This novel makes you look at things differently and makes you think. Matt W has delivered another thrilling story with a new edge to it. This podcast vehicle is cleverly done and I am excited to see where he takes it next. This has been Susan The BookTrailer with another book review for Six Stories series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    The Book Review Café

    Deity is the 5th book on the #SixStories series and like the other books in the series it features modern day themes, combined with the darkest myths. Like each book in this much loved series, Deity makes for a disturbing, haunting, bone chilling read. Zach Crystal’s story is one that we have all sadly heard or read at some point.  A pop mega star adored by the public, known for their charity work, but behind the public persona he’s plagued by controversy, speculation and allegations of abuse of Deity is the 5th book on the #SixStories series and like the other books in the series it features modern day themes, combined with the darkest myths. Like each book in this much loved series, Deity makes for a disturbing, haunting, bone chilling read. Zach Crystal’s story is one that we have all sadly heard or read at some point.  A pop mega star adored by the public, known for their charity work, but behind the public persona he’s plagued by controversy, speculation and allegations of abuse of young, vulnerable girls. The megastar is dead, and yet there are a plethora of questions left unanswered, and that’s the very reason investigating journalist Paul King creates a Six Stories based on Crystal’s life. Each podcast is told from the perspective of six witnesses, whose lives are intertwined with Crystal’s.  Matt Wesolowski takes the reader on a unsettling journey that grows darker at every flip of the page.  There’s a tangled web of stories, accusations and claims to explore in the convoluted story of Zack Crystal, Paul King like any good interviewer slowly but deftly scratches away, digging deeper into the rabbit warren that is Crystal’s life. As we learn more about the pop star’s life, the book takes on an ominous, chilling tone. Was Zach an eccentric, “Peter pan”, shy, misunderstood individual, whose aim in life was to help underprivileged children? Or was he a typical predator, manipulative, devious, someone who committed the most hideous crimes, using his superstar status to his own advantage? It’s only as you reach the final podcast that the truth is revealed.  Matt Wesolowski always creates the perfect location and atmosphere for his books, in Deity it’s Crystal’s remote home set against the backdrop of the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. It’s a forest where an ancient evil spirit roams, it’s a forest that’s shrouded in folklore and malevolence. If there’s one thing I that makes this series a ‘must read’, it’s the author’s astonishing ability to write a book that doesn’t fit one particular genre, it has elements of many genres, horror, crime thriller with a modern day twist, which blend together to make an all-consuming read. Each book Matt Wesolowski writes is imaginative, unique, captivating, and devilishly plotted. Six Stories is a series that takes you by surprise, as each book is so different to the last. Once again, the author has written the epitome of a page-turner. Highly recommended to those looking for a unique and memorising read that’s not without its fair share of chills and thrills.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    Holy shit.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe

    I skipped from the first Six Stories book to Deity, which is the 5th book in the Six Stories series. I absolutely have to go back and read the other three because these books are truly one of a kind. Thank you so much to Orenda Books and Matt Wesolowski for this thrilling book. They are written in the format of a podcast that tells six stories and gets six points of view on one polarizing case. This book was about superstar Zach Crystal, who was found dead in his home. After his death it comes t I skipped from the first Six Stories book to Deity, which is the 5th book in the Six Stories series. I absolutely have to go back and read the other three because these books are truly one of a kind. Thank you so much to Orenda Books and Matt Wesolowski for this thrilling book. They are written in the format of a podcast that tells six stories and gets six points of view on one polarizing case. This book was about superstar Zach Crystal, who was found dead in his home. After his death it comes to light he may have been a predator? Maybe a pure-hearted lover of charity? Maybe a delusional mad-man who believed in a dark beast that was an omen of death? So many stories come out and Scott King and his podcast are trying to get to the bottom of it. Thoughts: I love the way this book contrasts old folklore with relevant and poignant themes of today. The juxtaposition of Scottish lore against current rock music is interesting and unique. I love the way that each story explains things more and more, and shows things in a different light. The author creates the perfect atmosphere for a creepy story and building plot. I love the way his books always have so many relevant issues, in this book being the #metoo movement. I loved the different perspectives in this story and how you can truly imagine it happening in real life. Each story was so different and unique, and it all twisted together to create a great story. I never can guess where his books are going and this one was no exception. I was completely captivated by this book- 5 stars!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Lambdin

    Is this the best in the series? It very well may be.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Louise Beech

    This has become my annual joy. Another book from Matt in the Six Stories series. What will I do if they ever end? I guess ... read them all again. Be excited about what he does next. Deity is another twisted, clever, unusual, thought-provoking and yet still somehow always emotional read, with all the usual dark fairytales and folklore present. There are woods again, an evil forest, where a great deity lives - worldwide superstar Zach Crystal. Except now he's dead. But is he quite the revered ido This has become my annual joy. Another book from Matt in the Six Stories series. What will I do if they ever end? I guess ... read them all again. Be excited about what he does next. Deity is another twisted, clever, unusual, thought-provoking and yet still somehow always emotional read, with all the usual dark fairytales and folklore present. There are woods again, an evil forest, where a great deity lives - worldwide superstar Zach Crystal. Except now he's dead. But is he quite the revered idol everyone thought? I loved this, needless to say. I'm now bereft. So, as Scott King says, this has been Six Stories, and until next time....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andy Angel

    A shamed pop star A devastating fire Six witnesses Six stories Which one is true? Welcome to my spot on the Blogtour for the latest in Matt Wesolowki's Six Stories series. The series in itself has online journalist Scott King investigating subjects over the course of six podcasts where a different person tells their side of the story each week.  Deity, book 5 in the series, investigates the story of the death of rock megastar and recluse Zach Crystal in a fire at his reclusive retreat in the Cairngorm A shamed pop star A devastating fire Six witnesses Six stories Which one is true? Welcome to my spot on the Blogtour for the latest in Matt Wesolowki's Six Stories series. The series in itself has online journalist Scott King investigating subjects over the course of six podcasts where a different person tells their side of the story each week.  Deity, book 5 in the series, investigates the story of the death of rock megastar and recluse Zach Crystal in a fire at his reclusive retreat in the Cairngorms and the controversy that dogged him in later life.  Some people saw him as a rock legend, some as a predatory paedophile (among other things) and King's podcast is their chance to have their say while he tries to get to the bottom of what is true and what is speculation, was the fire that killed King accidental or murder?  I'll be honest, this was a very dark and at times uncomfortable read. In an age where several of the 'heroes and icons' of our youth are being torn from their pedestals and exposed for what they really are it hits very close to home. That said, it was a captivating read and I will certainly be picking up the rest of the series (I believe they read as stand-alone, Deity certainly did)  Recommended 4/5*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I’ve loved the #SixStories series from the start. Scott King (well Matt Wesolowski) investigates some very sinister supernatural tales so I couldn’t wait to get my hand on Deity. Just the title made me wonder who or what was being exalted to such a title!! Dead, he might be, but man, the guy has a fucking army of seething, dedicated, maniacal fans. What Scott uncovers in this series of Six Stories is totally messed up. A pop superstar found dead in his reclusive mansion amid rumours of all things I’ve loved the #SixStories series from the start. Scott King (well Matt Wesolowski) investigates some very sinister supernatural tales so I couldn’t wait to get my hand on Deity. Just the title made me wonder who or what was being exalted to such a title!! Dead, he might be, but man, the guy has a fucking army of seething, dedicated, maniacal fans. What Scott uncovers in this series of Six Stories is totally messed up. A pop superstar found dead in his reclusive mansion amid rumours of all things dodgy. Were the rumours the result of jealousy, blackmail, attention seeking from his fans? Did he commit suicide? So so many questions Scott needs to find the answers to in his own unique fashion. Yet again, Wesolowski delves in to folklore to give his Six Stories episode an unnerving theme. Each book has given me chills, proper chill and the Frithghast is one hell of a scary prospect. I found Deity heavier and darker than the previous Six Stories. I felt the ever so slight shift to a more human darkness in Crystal made this a more disturbing read… but as with the previous instalments of Scott King’s podcast, I was engrossed and invested to seek the truth of this tale. Another cracking instalment of #SixStories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie ~ thecaffeinatedreader

    Brilliant. Thought-provoking. Gripping. This superb new addition has easily become my favorite book in the Six Stories series. I was a little worried that I might get bored or annoyed by the storytelling concept after four books but that couldn't be further from the truth! It's still fresh and extremely addictive! All of the books in the Six Stories series have one thing in common: they focus on how narratives always reflect subjective interpretation and self-interested advocacy, rather than an Brilliant. Thought-provoking. Gripping. This superb new addition has easily become my favorite book in the Six Stories series. I was a little worried that I might get bored or annoyed by the storytelling concept after four books but that couldn't be further from the truth! It's still fresh and extremely addictive! All of the books in the Six Stories series have one thing in common: they focus on how narratives always reflect subjective interpretation and self-interested advocacy, rather than an objective truth and on how easily they can manipulate human relationships. In "Deity" the author tackles a lot of challenging questions around power, abuse of said power, idolatry and celebrity. The book shows us how easily we get ensnared by a certain narrative that fits our own agenda and how quickly we're ready to condemn others to make it fit. Which details will steer us towards sympathy and which towards revulsion? While being a gripping and entertaining read, "Deity" also makes its readers challenge their own assumptions and biases. If you're looking for an eerie mystery thriller that has a lot to offer beneath the surface and that'll make you want to binge-read it: this is your new addiction!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    Deity is my first time reading Matt Wesolowski and based on the brilliant plotting and expert narrative it won't be the last. Deity works as a standalone novel but may slightly spoil a previous Six Stories due to a returning character. This is a book that you need to know as little about as possible bar the synopsis. The only thing I can say about Deity is that it is one of the best books I've read this year. Wesolowski is a genius at characterisation and dialogue. This is good old fashioned stor Deity is my first time reading Matt Wesolowski and based on the brilliant plotting and expert narrative it won't be the last. Deity works as a standalone novel but may slightly spoil a previous Six Stories due to a returning character. This is a book that you need to know as little about as possible bar the synopsis. The only thing I can say about Deity is that it is one of the best books I've read this year. Wesolowski is a genius at characterisation and dialogue. This is good old fashioned story telling at it's very finest. The delivery of story via interviews, newspaper clippings and of course the podcast is incredibly well done. Wesolowski absolutely nailed the story, keeping me on my toes whilst I frantically turned the pages as I worked towards the conclusion of Zach Crystals controversial life. As I said, one of the best books I've read this year and in Matt Wesolowski I have a new author that I'll want to read everything they've published. Six Stories is an inspired idea and Deity has delivered a superbly.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Mcghie

    Six Stories. A phenomonal concept and Matt Wesolowski just seems to deliver chills and tension every single time. With Deity we are concentrating on Zach Crystal, a musician who reached the very top at a young age and lived a mysterious and controversial lifestyle before tragedy struck and he died in a fire at on his remote country estate in the Scottish Highlands. Scott King is a podcast host who in each of the four previous Wesolowski novels has conducted interviews with six guests in a bid to Six Stories. A phenomonal concept and Matt Wesolowski just seems to deliver chills and tension every single time. With Deity we are concentrating on Zach Crystal, a musician who reached the very top at a young age and lived a mysterious and controversial lifestyle before tragedy struck and he died in a fire at on his remote country estate in the Scottish Highlands. Scott King is a podcast host who in each of the four previous Wesolowski novels has conducted interviews with six guests in a bid to cast light on mysteries, murders or strange phenomonon. The story telling is always wonderfully layered and the salient points to each story will not be immediately obvious to the reader until Scott King himself draws your attention back to they key revelations which can turn your understanding of a narrative on its head. Deity is no different. Six interviews with six people to understand better the complex and controversial superstar Zach Crystal. The first story makes it quite clear where the headline controvosy will be found. King interviews a man who alleges Crystal was active in an internet chatroom trying to arrange a meet with a 12 year old girl (Crystal at this time was in his mid 40s). Throughout his career Crystal has spent time with young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds at his remote Highland home. “Entirely innocent” he always maintained and there was never any real traction behind the few stories which cast doubt on his assurances of innocence. The reason the stories never amounted to anything, King’s first guest asserts, is that King employed a team of hostile investigators who would shut down any rumour or story before it could manifest itself into anything more substantiated. No proof, no story. But Crystal cannot hide from all bad press and when two young girls are found dead (it is alleged in mysterious circumstances) on the grounds of his Highland Estate it has to be acknowledged that his extensive security staff could not have done anything to prevent the unfortunate death in the inhospitable environment of the Cairngorms. It is also worth mentioning that Crystal has bought land and settled in a notoriously dangerous part of the mountains and local legend tells of dangers in the Whispering Woods and Crystal tells of seeing a cadaverous wild animal which stands tall and has flesh hanging from the skull under a wild antlered head. Crystal himself chooses to wear antlers and often masks his face when performing so the link to the mysterious creature is a fascination for the reader. It also makes Crystal seem even more of an odd character. The accusations against Crystal which were laid out by King’s first guest are firmly shut down by his second guest. A YouTube star who is a devoted fan of Zach Crystal, has spent time in his company and on his Estate, and who believes all the stories of inappropriate behaviour with minors is just women seeking to cash in on the deceased star now that he cannot defend himself. This guest turns the story of the the first guest on its head. Although the reader may not like what they are hearing about Crystal (he does come across as a total bampot) it cannot be taken for granted he is guilty of the allegations which follow him around. Through four more guests we strip back some of the mystery surrounding Crystal. Did he deserve to die? Was he a troubled individual – thrust into fame too young and with no social skills to survive in the entertainment industry? Why did he always have to take groups of vulnerable underage girls to his home? It does make for uncomfortable reading and I never shook the feeling that Crystal was a dangerous individual, so why are his defenders so determined to protest his innocence? One unexpected development was the return of a character from an earlier novel. No spoilers but I found this a nice touch for returning readers but the appearance of this character will not leave new readers baffled as their involvement is very different. One other surprise was that the story is set, in part, in Inverness and surrounding areas (one interview takes place in Aviemore). I grew up in the Inverness area. When you live in London you probably don’t bat an eye if you pick up a book and find the story is set in your home town – if you live in Inverness this is much more of a novelty and it certainly brought a smile or two as I was reading. Deity is the fifth book in the Six Stories series. I own all the earlier books in audiobook, paperback and in digital format – I am a bit of a fan. It is a tough call but I think Deity may be my favourite of the five books. I think the complexity of Crystal and the frustration King encounters in trying to find tangible proof around any of the rumours linked to the star make this the most complex of books in the series. Kings podcasts assert they are not to uncover the truth or reach a conclusion but to present more facts to allow listeners to make their own judgement – the reader is doing this here to a greater degree than other books. If you are new to the series you can read the Six Stories books in any order – I envy you the hours of enjoyment they will bring you. If you are a returning reader you can be assured Deity is a triumph.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen Cole

    In these days of the instant gratification of binge watching or listening, there is still something rather satisfying about waiting for a new episode of a favourite series. I realise that some people may wonder why I'm describing the latest instalment in Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories series as an episode but that's how they are described - and it fits perfectly because each one of these superb books is built around a fictional true crime podcast and are so pitch perfect, I find it's almost possi In these days of the instant gratification of binge watching or listening, there is still something rather satisfying about waiting for a new episode of a favourite series. I realise that some people may wonder why I'm describing the latest instalment in Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories series as an episode but that's how they are described - and it fits perfectly because each one of these superb books is built around a fictional true crime podcast and are so pitch perfect, I find it's almost possible to forget I'm just reading them. Each can be read as a standalone although as returning readers are often rewarded with tantalising mentions of former investigations, I suspect many newcomers are tempted to read the previous novels. I certainly recommend that you do, if this applies to you. As always with this series, there is a feel of the horror novel about Deity, thanks this time to the numerous reported sightings of a particularly macabre omen of death. However, online journalist Scott King wants to find out whether a different sort of monster haunted Crystal Forest, the remote site of pop legend, Zach Crystal's treetop home. As a teenager he formed a moderately successful clean-cut Christian-pop band with his sister, Naomi but only achieved megastar status when he went solo. It shocked the world when Zach died in a fire at his mansion but Scott isn't investigating the circumstances behind his death; he wants to discover the truth about the man behind the myth. The #metoo campaign has seen a number of high-profile public figures accused of sexual harassment and abuse, and so the claims and counter-claims concerning Zach Crystal feel grounded in reality. There have been rumours and proven allegations about celebrities since before social media allowed people to voice their experiences and opinions, of course and I'm sure it's no coincidence that I was reminded of both Jimmy Savile and Michael Jackson. As with the former, part of Crystal's public image was built around his charity work, visiting hospitals and supporting vulnerable young girls from troubled backgrounds. The most striking parallels are with Jackson, however, and not just because both were eccentric and reclusive enigmas. Perhaps one of the most disturbing elements of the story is the exploration of how fame and money can persuade people to lower their guard and accept behaviour they might otherwise question. However, as yet there is no definitive proof to the accusations and there are still people who vociferously defend Crystal while casting doubt on the women who have come forward. It would be easy to dismiss his most ardent fans as delusional stans but Matt Wesolowski takes a fairer, more balanced stance that acknowledges the intense idolatry without adopting a mocking tone. It means King's confusion becomes our own, as conflicting memories deepen this ominous mystery still further. Alongside the podcasts that make up the Six Stories of King's investigation, there are transcripts of a rare television interview Zach Crystal agreed to shortly before his death. Here, Crystal seems rather idiosyncratic but the overwhelming impression is of a deeply reserved man who has struggled with the gaze of the world upon him. It's the frenzied response of his fans which is more telling - even the interviewer, Ruby Rendall is in his thrall and these sections are a fascinating glimpse into the power he apparently held over audiences. Ultimately, this is what the haunting, perceptive Deity questions; why is fame so powerful that it bestows on ordinary people an almost god-like status, allowing their behaviour to be excused, ignored or validated by those who should know better? The truth matters, of course, but so too does an honest examination as to why people can be manipulated into believing that ancient forests may hide horrific monsters while overlooking those living among us. Despite the folkloric darkness, Deity is so frighteningly, damningly real, I could believe I was reading a true story. As a lover of intelligent, provocative, sinister fiction, I thought Deity was excellent; as a parent to teenagers, it's terrifying. I loved it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mairead Hearne (swirlandthread.com)

    Deity by Matt Wesolowski will be published with Orenda Books in ebook format December 18th and in Original Paperback format February 18th 2021. Described as ‘dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking…both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…’ this is the fifth book in this series that has really grabbed the imagination of many readers. Based around a podcast, each book highlights a Deity by Matt Wesolowski will be published with Orenda Books in ebook format December 18th and in Original Paperback format February 18th 2021. Described as ‘dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking…both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…’ this is the fifth book in this series that has really grabbed the imagination of many readers. Based around a podcast, each book highlights an unsolved mystery, a tragedy that, for whatever reason, remained without resolution. Scott King is the genius behind these rather unique recordings and, by now, has gained a reputation for delivering the truth, with an expectation that it will be done with a fair and balanced approach, giving a platform to many on all sides. Scott King refers occasionally to past individuals who he crossed paths with and who do surface again but it does not impact the reading or enjoyment of this book in any way. Matt Wesolowski has created something very original and unique with Six Stories. A simple concept, he has truly managed to make it his own with a unique approach to the telling of the tale. When you pick up a book in the series, you know the basics of what awaits you. Scott King will interview six different people over a number of weeks. He will let them each have a platform. He will not try to inflict his own personal beliefs on the interviewee, remaining relatively neutral at all times yet extracting all the necessary information to bring the story to its always excellently depicted shocking conclusion. It’s all very real. All very expertly threaded together by Wesolowski, reading these books feels like reading transcriptions from true-life episodes of a real-life podcast. Deity centres around the fantastical life and death of megastar Zach Crystal. From a young age Zach Crystal broke onto the live music circuit with his sister Naomi. But as he grew into adulthood he went out on his own taking his music in a whole new direction. His fanbase grew at a stratospheric pace across the globe leading to fanaticism and adulation to the extreme. Zach Crystal became an enigma. Off stage he hid away in a remote forest area in Scotland in a residential compound with very heavy security. He was known for his work with underprivileged teenagers, young girls who came from very difficult homes. Having struggled through his own teen years, he had a great empathy with their challenges and he loved to spend time with them, listening to their stories. He created a magical place, a realm that was hidden away from the outside world with only limited access to certain trusted personnel. But there were those that began to question Zach Crystal’s interest in these troubled young girls. Was it all done in complete innocence, or was something much larger lurking in the shadows? Zach Crystal had tragedy follow him through his life and after the death of a very close associate, he went underground, searching for himself. After a year of rumours he reappeared, giving an exclusive interview on the BBC about an upcoming album and world tour. His fans were ecstatic. His adversaries were angry. But all that was to change when the world woke up one morning to the news that Zach Crystal was dead. A fire at his home was to end the stellar career of this controversial musician but the rumour mill went into overdrive. Was it suicide as a result of the ‘predatory’ rumours? Was it an accident or was something darker at play? Scott King decides that the time has come to attempt to unravel the truth. Who was Zach Crystal underneath the drama and the mask? Was he an innocent dragged into scandal by those who refused to believe his generosity was authentic? Or was there something sinister and malevolent to every act he undertook? Deity takes the reader on this journey of discovery as the truth is slowly revealed amidst the dark layers of this very complex individual. Deity is a very compelling and addictive read. Author Michael Marshall Smith describes the Six Stories series as ‘unfolding like dark origami to reveal the black heart inside’ and I honestly think that this is possibly one of the best descriptions of this very intense reading experience. Although Zach Crystal is very much a fictional character, similar stories, unfortunately, have been reported about in real-life. Deity raises many questions about how we all view the celebrity, that person who oft-times sits on a pedestal very much removed from the reality of the majority of our lives. Society is most definitely questioning more, with social media providing a platform for many to express their opinions. Sometimes these platforms can be very toxic places with very disturbing outcomes but other times a spark is lit and a movement begins, a movement for justice and truth. Deity is a chilling look at society with Matt Wesolowski enthralling his own cult following with another original and offbeat read, one that can make for disturbing reading but one that you just cannot put down. TV rights for Six Stories were sold to a major Hollywood studio so how cool would it be to see this series transferred to our screens. I can feel the hair rising on my skin at the thought. Doors locked, lights on….. The cover of Deity is deserving of it’s own few words. Designed by Mark Swan of kid-ethic design studio, when I referred to its striking artwork, Matt Wesolowski responded with this – “All of us are in thrall to the witchcraft of lord Kidethic"- Matt Wesolowski Deity continues this haunting series. with Matt Wesolowski’s now trademark unique style. Definitely a series worth picking up from the beginning, you will be equally enthralled, disturbed and shaken by the darkness that rests in the mind of this most unconventional of writers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Ryles

    I am completely addicted to Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories books as I absolutely love the podcast format they are written in. The conversational writing style really feels like the book is speaking to you and it's amazing how clear each individual voice comes across. With accusations of sexual abuse against a dead popstar, the subject matter is quite dark although it's never too difficult to read as podcaster Scott King doesn't interview anyone who has first-hand details of the abuse. As Scott int I am completely addicted to Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories books as I absolutely love the podcast format they are written in. The conversational writing style really feels like the book is speaking to you and it's amazing how clear each individual voice comes across. With accusations of sexual abuse against a dead popstar, the subject matter is quite dark although it's never too difficult to read as podcaster Scott King doesn't interview anyone who has first-hand details of the abuse. As Scott interviews six people linked to Zach Crystal it's quite eye-opening to see how one person can be seen in so many different lights. I guess all famous people have a public and private persona so it must be almost like having a split personality; no wonder their brains get fried sometimes, although I'm not excusing anyone's unsavoury actions. Following Operation Yewtree, we saw allegations about and convictions of many famous figures from our childhood. You can't help but think about this when reading Deity as fame really does place rose tinted glasses on fans. As the news came out I remember being both surprised and unsurprised by some of the accused, purely because of how I perceived them from the face they chose to show the public. Matt Wesolowski also touches on the guilt we feel for still liking a particular song when the singer is not who we thought they were. I found this really interesting to consider and could totally relate to it simply because of a particular classic Christmas song that I find myself singing along to then stop midway wondering whether I'm still allowed to like it now that the singer is a convicted sex offender. I love Scott King's interviews and I sometimes forget that he's fictional; I would definitely subscribe to his Six Stories podcast if it was real. As facts and opinions are laid out before us, I felt like I was part of the race to uncover the truth and I found myself making various judgements about Zach's guilt along the way. I flipped so often between guilty and not guilty so I was definitely right at one point or another. So very relatable and current, Deity is a dark, addictive and shocking thriller that really makes you think about the person behind the idol. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    A shamed pop star A devastating Fire Six witnesses Six Stories………….. and now mine! It is by now, no secret that I am something of a fan of Matt Wesolowski. I am not a voracious reader, but the ‘six-stories’ format has been something that has captivated me immediately. I started with the second novel ‘Hydra’ – more on this later, but since then have looked forward to, and devoured each one. In these times of modern media, I am willing to bet there has been at least someone everyone can name, who rumo A shamed pop star A devastating Fire Six witnesses Six Stories………….. and now mine! It is by now, no secret that I am something of a fan of Matt Wesolowski. I am not a voracious reader, but the ‘six-stories’ format has been something that has captivated me immediately. I started with the second novel ‘Hydra’ – more on this later, but since then have looked forward to, and devoured each one. In these times of modern media, I am willing to bet there has been at least someone everyone can name, who rumour or allegations have surfaced about, and it has completely changed their perspective of that person – be it true or not. Deity, the fifth in the series once again had me hooked right from the very opening pages. The ‘stories’ this time around, concentrate on the enigmatic ‘Zach Crystal’, a pop megastar who is mysteriously killed in a fire at his mansion ‘Crystal Woods’, situated in another one of those famed Wesolowski spooky forests! For me the description conjured up the image of a creepy ‘Neverland’ - designed by someone who didn’t get the chance to have a ‘normal’ childhood. Crystal himself conjures images of a certain other ‘enigma’. Accusations of sexual abuse and murder plagued Crystal before he died. Our six accounts come from polarising sources as we try to uncover the ‘truth’ behind the mask. The author deals with catfishing, fan obsession, family and sibling rifts, and a healthy dose of folklore and creepiness in the form of the ‘Frithgast’. There is also the very clever re-acquaintance with a key character from a previous instalment; ‘Hydra’ – not that this requires you to have read the previous books, but if you haven’t ‘do it – do it now!’.... It’s another captivating, intriguing tale with an insidiously chilling twist. Very thought provoking and completely relevant in a world where ‘celebrities’ are under such scrutiny and everyone is so quick to have an opinion on their every move. It’s interesting that Matt references a quote from a certain Brian Hugh Warner – AKA Marilyn Manson, in the opening pages. Another polarising enigma of music culture currently under investigation. This has been our third and I have been Martin Cater….. Until next time!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Van Damme

    Deity is the fifth instalment in the Six Stories series, time really does fly when you’re having fun! It can be read as a standalone: once again Six Stories podcast creator and host Scott King is trying to get to the bottom of an entirely new case, and he is literally the only constant throughout the entire series. There is, however, a treat for those who have read Hydra: Deity makes reference to the Arla Macleod case and one of the interviewees from that case pops up in this case as well. But d Deity is the fifth instalment in the Six Stories series, time really does fly when you’re having fun! It can be read as a standalone: once again Six Stories podcast creator and host Scott King is trying to get to the bottom of an entirely new case, and he is literally the only constant throughout the entire series. There is, however, a treat for those who have read Hydra: Deity makes reference to the Arla Macleod case and one of the interviewees from that case pops up in this case as well. But don’t let that scare you off if you haven’t read Hydra: everything you need to know is explained and there are no spoilers either, should you want to catch up with the series afterwards. With all the formalities out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty! Scott King is back! Six new podcast episodes, six interviews, six stories about one case: Zach Crystal. In 2018, enigmatic superstar Zach Crystal disappeared from his 500-acre property, nicknamed Crystal Forest, in the Scottish Highlands. Crystal, described as the sultan of song-writing, the personification of the dream to grow up and be Someone, the walking rags-to-riches fairy, remained missing for an entire year before popping back up, only to die in a fire at Crystal Forest a few months later. One might describe Zach Crystal as Britain’s answer to Michael Jackson, or that’s who he reminded me of in any case: a brilliant artist, a musical legend on the one hand, a bit of a weirdo entertaining questionable relationships on the other. Even after his death there’s this whole polemic: his fans believe he was a good guy, a charitable man and everything else is just rumours; his haters call him a predator: it’s not normal for a guy his age to invite teenage girls to stay at his private estate, even if he does invite their parents as well, and that’s not even mentioning the girls who were found dead at Crystal Forest and his closest advisor / PA / friend who had a fatal accident there. Once again, Matt Wesolowski has created a story that is somehow utterly believable. As usual I will treat myself to the audiobook as soon as it’s out, which will be February 2021 if it’s to match the paperback publication date, although this year’s Beast took a while longer because Audible did a dramatisation, and I have a feeling they might do the same for Deity, they could do great audio things with one, let me tell you! But I digress. If it seems this real on paper, I already know that listening to the audiobook I will have to remind myself constantly that it is not an actual podcast, not an actual case, not a real person, not factual history. It’s the manner in which Deity is composed that brings about that eerie feeling of reality. Like all Six Stories instalments, Scott King is either addressing his listeners or interviewing someone, and it creates such intimacy, like an actual person is, for instance, telling you about that awful moment when he found two dead girls in the woods, or that awe-inspiring moment when she met the man behind the legend and found him to be kind and sincere. As always, there’s an occult thread woven into the story, muddying the waters. This time it is the legend of the Frithghast, some kind of spectre with horns and hooves, a dark half-rotten deer or stag roaming the forest. I found it such interesting folklore that I went looking for more information, but there isn’t any: the Frithghast sprung from the dark crevices of Matt Wesolowski’s mind. Clearly a master of suggestion, the creepiness and eeriness of his stories lies in insinuation, which somehow makes the narrative a lot scarier than it would have been with full-on monster action scenes galore. I would love to talk more, but I don’t want to spoil things. And what’s more, whatever else I might say, I will still leave things knowing I haven’t done Deity justice so I might as well call it a day! I will just add this: knowing what came before, I went in with the highest expectations, still Deity blew my socks off, the suspense mounting until it becomes positively unbearable, relief only to be had with the very last story. A top-notch thriller with thought-provoking themes and a dark folklore element, Deity held me captive from intriguing start to mind-blowing finish, even when I had to put it down and long after I’d finished it. Highly recommended!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    god these books are so good. matt wesolowski has quickly become one of my favorite writers and this series one of the best i've read in recent years. he just always sticks the landing, no matter how many different perspectives are added to the stories or how unbelievable the subject matter gets. it's rare to find a book (much less FIVE) that so indelibly combine the supernatural, mystery and social commentary in such a balanced and nuanced way. deity takes the reader on a much-trod path through god these books are so good. matt wesolowski has quickly become one of my favorite writers and this series one of the best i've read in recent years. he just always sticks the landing, no matter how many different perspectives are added to the stories or how unbelievable the subject matter gets. it's rare to find a book (much less FIVE) that so indelibly combine the supernatural, mystery and social commentary in such a balanced and nuanced way. deity takes the reader on a much-trod path through the ramifications of powerful people who exploit their position and take advantage of those in their thrall. deftly using this timely backdrop to position the rest of the novel, further layers are added such as spine-tingling supernatural horrors and questions like "do we ever know people, truly?" or "who is the victim?" are unraveled in a compelling read. i could go on and on about how much i enjoy the writing in this series but i think the one compliment i always make when thinking about wesolowski's work is how he is able to further the plot almost entirely through dialogue. to be exact, dialogue between two characters almost exclusively. to be able to pace a novel like that, as an author, to be able to map out how you want the audience to slowly understand what is happening, almost entirely through dialogue? while you also withhold certain things to build suspense? masterful. hope that made sense to anyone reading but my last note is to urge others to read these books if only so i can scream about them more frequently.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    So I've read all the books in this series and overall I've enjoyed them--well written with an interesting premise and, most of the time, lots of characters to love or hate or pity. This one though? Not so much. I think because it's an uncomfortable mash-up of Michael Jackson and #metoo which--eh, didn't work for me. The musician being investigated in the story's described as a forty-something man who had overbearing parents that forced him into stardom from a very long age, who dressed in outland So I've read all the books in this series and overall I've enjoyed them--well written with an interesting premise and, most of the time, lots of characters to love or hate or pity. This one though? Not so much. I think because it's an uncomfortable mash-up of Michael Jackson and #metoo which--eh, didn't work for me. The musician being investigated in the story's described as a forty-something man who had overbearing parents that forced him into stardom from a very long age, who dressed in outlandish costumes, spoke about never having a real childhood, and built a whimsical getaway to recapture his youth (a treehouse here instead of Neverland). I mean the singer in the book is white but the author might as well have named him Jichael Mackson. And, like MJ, the singer spends lots of time with children--teen girls in this case. His relationship with the girls is ambiguous at first but now some of them are speaking up about abuse and coercion. Which is where the book lost me, tbh. If you're going to tell a #metoo story, a Michael Jackson cipher is probably not the best potential antagonist you know? It just...doesn't work very well. You get hit over the head with Michael Jackson parallels and then there's the #metoo stuff kinda pushed into the narrative and the two things are very different. Idk if this makes sense but it just really made it difficult for me to enjoy this book. But hey, I'll definitely read the next one. Overall the series is much better than this book suggests

  23. 4 out of 5

    Between The Pages Book Club (Gemma M)

    I absolutely love this series and author. From book one till now it is an amazing series I will always shout about and throw all the stars at. They seem to just get better and better for me. I just love the whole lay out of each book in this series. A podcast style. Interview style. Makes easy reading. Split into six episodes. Six differing views. It always leaves the reader open to their own interpretation of what happened or what they think. Its cleverly written and absolute perfection. It is e I absolutely love this series and author. From book one till now it is an amazing series I will always shout about and throw all the stars at. They seem to just get better and better for me. I just love the whole lay out of each book in this series. A podcast style. Interview style. Makes easy reading. Split into six episodes. Six differing views. It always leaves the reader open to their own interpretation of what happened or what they think. Its cleverly written and absolute perfection. It is easily devourable (is that a word?) And will be over before you think. So... This time I paced myself! I did 2 episodes each day just to make the book last that little bit longer for me. But now... A long wait till the next one. :( This book focuses on the god of the music industry Zach Crystal. I must admit I'm still very undecided on my views over it all! Hmm. A very dark, deadly, twisted and part horror story I would say. But I loved it all! Very descriptive and I loved the tree house hide out setting and the woods too adds a bit of darkness and suspense amongst the stories and accusations. Whose side are you on? Who do you believe? What is the truth here? An outstanding series. Another well deserved five stars. Highly recommend the whole series. My first book in my top twenty reads of 2021! Well deserved.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Amazing Honestly these books are my favourite series the podcast format just works and Matt has done it again with Deity these book have that true crime feel with just the right amount of horror that gives you this creepy vibe as you get a full story from 6 different perspectives. Deity was such a interesting and heartbreaking story very relevant in today's world can't wait for the next one! Amazing Honestly these books are my favourite series the podcast format just works and Matt has done it again with Deity these book have that true crime feel with just the right amount of horror that gives you this creepy vibe as you get a full story from 6 different perspectives. Deity was such a interesting and heartbreaking story very relevant in today's world can't wait for the next one!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    3.5 🌟 A timely and pertinent read. I enjoyed this latest installment in the Six Stories series but, for me, it lacked a bit of depth and mystery compared to previous books. It felt a bit rushed, if I'm honest. 3.5 🌟 A timely and pertinent read. I enjoyed this latest installment in the Six Stories series but, for me, it lacked a bit of depth and mystery compared to previous books. It felt a bit rushed, if I'm honest.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karen Andrew

    Wow, this book was very fast paced, and kept me turning the pages wanting to know more. It is the fifth book in the series but I dont feel like I have missed out on anything reading as a standalone. The book is dark, twisted and very cleverly written. It keeps you guessing and is certainly full of mystery. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  27. 5 out of 5

    Georgia

    Not even going to write a ‘proper’ review, because this is Book 5. We know what the format is, we know the writing, we know the main character. BANGING. It was banging. Utterly horrible, a bit fast in parts, but BANGING.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ian Wark

    Another episode of ‘Six Stories’; another absolutely compelling tale full of menace and mystery. This time - in the fifth book of the series - Scott King finds himself investigating the unexplained death of a pop megastar in his secluded mansion in the Scottish Highlands. As ever, there are supernatural elements aplenty - weird red lights; an eldritch stag creature; cave glyphs. There’s certainly a great deal for horror fans to appreciate here. Wesolowski again keeps the reader guessing until the Another episode of ‘Six Stories’; another absolutely compelling tale full of menace and mystery. This time - in the fifth book of the series - Scott King finds himself investigating the unexplained death of a pop megastar in his secluded mansion in the Scottish Highlands. As ever, there are supernatural elements aplenty - weird red lights; an eldritch stag creature; cave glyphs. There’s certainly a great deal for horror fans to appreciate here. Wesolowski again keeps the reader guessing until the final episode and I found myself unable to put the book down once I’d passed the halfway point. His writing style is as fun as ever, and his character work is again sublime. We really feel like we know all the main protagonists in this strange and sinister tale. I do hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next instalment.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Donovan

    In podcasting terms, this is another brilliant series of Six Stories, an astonishingly compelling story that examines the very fabric of certain societal issues while unravelling an infinitely dark and fascinating mystery. Full of the usual atmosphere, range of authentic perspectives, and murmurings of the supposedly paranormal, it is both a thrilling work of fiction and a profound portrayal of the dark side of fame. The writing is immersive and contains voluminous depth throughout, though it is In podcasting terms, this is another brilliant series of Six Stories, an astonishingly compelling story that examines the very fabric of certain societal issues while unravelling an infinitely dark and fascinating mystery. Full of the usual atmosphere, range of authentic perspectives, and murmurings of the supposedly paranormal, it is both a thrilling work of fiction and a profound portrayal of the dark side of fame. The writing is immersive and contains voluminous depth throughout, though it is the kind of book that cannot be fully appreciated until the end once all the voices have been heard and the multitude of questions that have arisen along the way are gradually answered. The way this is executed elevates it from an highly impressive read into an exceptional one, with the eventual revelation of disturbing truths and unexpected twists. This latest case for online investigative journalist Scott King is that of the deceased pop star Zach Crystal, one of the biggest names in showbusiness who was killed in a fire at his mansion in the Scottish Highlands just a matter of weeks after announcing a musical comeback. He had only recently re-emerged after going missing for over a year, and his whereabouts during that time have remained unknown. In the time before and after his death, Crystal had been the subject of a number of sexual abuse allegations. He strongly denied the claims while many of his devoted fans, who revered him as something akin to a god-like figure, aggressively protested his innocence, however his actions provided plenty of cause for suspicion. For several years he had invited teenage girls to his home, and frequently spent time with them alone and unsupervised. In addition, two girls were found dead in the nearby woods shortly after the release of his final album. As Scott speaks to six people who had connections with Zach Crystal at various points in their lives, he finds that the star was even more of an enigma than he originally seemed. The subject matter ensures that this is often a dark and unsettling read, but also powerful and deeply thought-provoking. It explores in great detail how someone of such immense standing can fall from grace, appalling acts can go unpunished or disputed, and the many lives that are terminally affected in the process. Zach Crystal may be a fictional character, but it is hard not to liken his story to that of real-life celebrities or public figures whose past crimes have come to light in recent years. As a result, the book carries a huge amount of relevance, also touching upon concepts such as victim blaming, cancel culture, and how different groups of people are portrayed by the media. There are occasional references to the #metoo movement that fit with the narrative, which represents, over the course of testimonies from six different interviewees, an exceedingly broad and eloquent social commentary. The plot is very well crafted, beginning with a background of the case and hearing from those who knew Zach Crystal on the outside, before gaining increasingly clear insights that hint more closely towards the truth. I had a fun time guessing who would be the guest for each new episode and as ever they were all super interesting, with the best saved until last. In between each section of the book, there are extracts from a television interview Zach Crystal conducted shortly before his death. This is written in the form of a transcript and sheds light not only how unusual a personality he is, but also his untouchable status. This whole aspect does seem quite curious at first for more reasons than one, but it all makes sense in the end with a twist I did not see coming. As fictional podcast hosts go, you can hardly get any better than Scott King. He sets the scene perfectly and asks all the right questions, getting to the heart of all his interviewees’ moral dilemmas and sometimes sharing his own relationship with the case. Every little detail is of the utmost importance and all six people he spoke to were well developed, bringing something new to the story. The only character I had a slight problem with was Ruby Rendall, who came across as more of an awestruck fangirl than a primetime talk show presenter. As for Zach Crystal himself, the descriptions of him gave me a lot of uncomfortable vibes as you would expect, but the author does a fabulous job of making him seem elusive despite most of his flaws being very evident. A lot of the story focused on events at Zach Crystal’s home and the surrounding acres of woodland, which made for a frightful setting. This was emphasised by talk of the Frithghast, a spectral creature that supposedly appears when something bad is about to happen, creating a threatening, oppressive atmosphere as well as adding an extra layer to the mystery. The writing and storytelling are unsurprisingly excellent and there is such a degree of realism in the dialogue and the facts of the case that no matter how many instalments of Six Stories there are, you cannot fail to admire it. The ending was a particular highlight and the twist set off a few minor explosions in my brain before everything fell into place. Overall, this is a book that delivers the goods in pretty much every respect, but where it really excels is in terms of the social commentary and topical elements. It is impactful and wide-ranging with a dark atmosphere, which keeps you turning the pages at a never-ending rate. This is Six Stories, and once again, it does not disappoint.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    As ever this review also appears on my blog: https://livemanylives.wordpress.com/ When I pick up a Six Stories novel my pulse starts racing. I know that there will be six episodes, all bringing a new perspective to a mystery, I know that I need to keep an open mind and not take what I am reading at face value, and I know that I will not rest until I have got to the end. Matt Wesolowski has a formula that works and gives you the assurance that he will deliver, but he also has a creative mind that As ever this review also appears on my blog: https://livemanylives.wordpress.com/ When I pick up a Six Stories novel my pulse starts racing. I know that there will be six episodes, all bringing a new perspective to a mystery, I know that I need to keep an open mind and not take what I am reading at face value, and I know that I will not rest until I have got to the end. Matt Wesolowski has a formula that works and gives you the assurance that he will deliver, but he also has a creative mind that keeps his novels fresh, exciting and full of anticipation. It feels like a cliché to say that you cannot put a book down, but that is what Matt’s novels are, a compulsion to read until there is nothing left, to feed and not slow down until fully satisfied. Scott King presents Six Stories, a true crime podcast that seeks to bring new insight to stories that are shrouded in mystery and have a dark, supernatural shadow hanging over them that questions our reality. This is the fifth book in this series and although it can be read, as all the others can, as a standalone story Scott’s own journey runs through them and ties them together into a unified whole. In Deity, he will revisit an interviewee he has met before, but he will come to the conversation changed. Deity focuses on the global music phenomenon that is Zach Crystal, or was until his untimely demise in a fire at his remote Scottish mansion. Crystal has a huge and devoted following, but there are also disturbing accusations about the nature of his relationship with the teenage girls who idolise him and in some cases join him in the magical treehouse that sits alongside his mansion in the grounds of the “Crystal Forest”. Through the course of the six podcast episodes we hear from a YouTube paedophile hunter, an online super fan, a former employee at the Crystal Forest, the mother of one of Crystal’s “special” girls, a fellow musician with a very different public persona and a close family member, as Scott King follows a trail to the truth. Before each new episode we hear Zach Crystal himself through the transcript of an interview he gave with the BBC’s Ruby Rendall shortly before the fire, in which he tells the story of his year-long disappearance and stunning return with a new album and tour, to the rapturous response of his fans. As always with Six Stories, once the storytelling begins it builds such an irresistible momentum that you simply cannot let go. Each new insight raises more questions and you find yourself unable to turn away, you need to get to the truth. As Zach Crystal’s truth reveals itself we are faced with an all too familiar horror, but where did it come from and how was it allowed to build into such a destructive tsunami of pain? Deity is an exploration of fame and the power that it wields in our society. It is a novel but it is also a true story in the sense that we all grow up with our heroes, the people who manage to touch an elemental nerve within us and help us define who we are. As teenagers we are vulnerable as we set out on a personal journey of identity, separating ourselves from the inherited parameters of our childhood guardians. The influences that take hold are powerful in shaping the rest of our lives for both good and ill. Maybe it’s not fair on our heroes, the unwitting deities of our lives, that they have such power over us. Mostly it is a distant unknowing connection, a helpful guide that supports our movement from child to adult, but when it becomes real, when the bond is one to one, the responsibility for that power cannot be ignored. Perhaps it is most dangerous when the wielder of power is also broken and as a result spreads their own pain with devastating results and maybe we all play our part when we help to propagate these mythologies, about artists, celebrities and even ourselves. Six Stories is set around a true crime podcast, it combines the cultures of ancient and dark fairytale with our modern technological society, and with this fifth novel in the series, rather than losing its impact it is elevated to new heights. Deity is for me the best of them all and Matt Wesolowski is an extraordinary writer at the very top of his game. A dark thriller and a powerful commentary that should go straight to the top of your reading list.

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