Book review: Beast by Matt Wesolowski


In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire’…

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…


Despite this book being part way through a series, I picked it up anyway as the Six Stories series only follows a main character, with the story being different in each book.

To begin with I was really loving this. It’s formatted as though you are listening to a podcast, which is something I’ve never seen done in a book before and I enjoyed how it read. The writing was definitely my favourite aspect of this book.

The story was interesting to start with. A young upcoming YouTube star is found decapitated in a creepy, off-limits tower that’s surrounded by vampire myths. The podcaster Scott King travels to the small town of the events to find out more.

Each new chapter is as though it’s a new podcast episode and so a new person being interviewed. The first couple were interesting to follow but because there are six of them (Six Stories… get it?), it began to get pretty repetitive as it was covering old ground each time.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t read the other books but I found the narrator a bit of a drip. I didn’t particularly like him and as the story began to unfold, a story I found very predictable, it amazed and annoyed me that he seemed completely oblivious to what was clearly in front of him.

There were definitely some creepy moments in this one with a decent folklore tale, and I liked the setting of the small and cut off poverty stricken town that was rife with gossip and spooky legends. Unfortunately the book mostly fell flat for me.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Book Details:

Pages: 242
Edition Published:
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Goodreads Av. Rating: 3.96

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