After reading and being blown away by Matt Wesolowski’s Demon in 2021, I am slightly embarrassed that it has taken me this long to return to the Six Stories world. To make matters worse, I am reading the books in the opposite order that they were published. Even with that being the case, I have had an absolute blast devouring Deity, racing through it in a couple of days. Fortunately, each of these novels stands alone and follow a steady and ingenious structure. There are six stories. Six interviews with the enigmatic fictional podcaster Scott King.
“Welcome to Six Stories. I’m Scott King. Over these strange six weeks, we’re delving into something that at its heart, I guess, is a cold case. A fire. Four tragic deaths. Allegations. Rumours, whispers. Like always, we’re raking up old graves.”
Deity, Six Stories’ 5th entry, is about Zach Crystal. A legendary pop star, who skyrocketed to fame, first as a member of a pop duo, and then as a solo star, arguably becoming the most influential celebrity on the planet. He was a troubled yet charismatic soul, wearing veils and deer antlers to obscure his face whilst having an overall elfish quality. He died in a mysterious fire in his giant tree house, which was part of his secluded forest mansion property. He was fascinated with a mythological Scottish monster called a Frithghast which was a portent of doom. He was adored by legions of loyal fans who worshipped him and were extremely protective of his kooky and can-do-no-wrong persona. He was accused by at least five ladies of sexual assault that occurred when they were children, and there was a horrifying video, footage of which shows two young women before they died in the forest, trying to get closer to their hero. Or, perhaps escape from…
“COMMENTS: Mayfly776: Ew creepy ForzaRadish: Zach Crystal fans are fuckin psychos. TLDR: Stanning Zach Crystal = BAD DEATH Butwhytho: Surely someone has to have looked into this? I mean rly?
B0NN13: Has anyone asked Scott King yet lol?”
The majority of Deity is the back-and-forth podcast interviews. Each discussion is a witness or influential person’s take on a crime, event, phenomenon, or mystery that surrounds Zach Crystal. As I heard/read more regarding the events, I was trying to unravel the puzzles and predict the outcomes, engrossed, wearing my amateur sleuth’s hat again. One of the interviewees is a loyal Zach Crystal fandom influencer and YouTuber, another is a pedophile hunter who thought he had trapped the popstar, and a further point of view is a member of staff who worked at Zach Crystal’s forest mansion. All the viewpoints have different agendas and reasons for showcasing their take on these events to Scott King. Each chapter takes about thirty minutes to read, and there are other mediums peppered throughout, in addition to the podcast introductions and conversations, such as the text of the elusive celebrity’s extremely rare interview with the BBC, comment sections on fictional news sites, and descriptions of important video footage.
“I wonder, though, if Zach Crystal himself knew about what had happened, or knew of the rumours that abounded later about Jessica Morton eating her friend’s flesh. We also cannot ignore the horrific parallels between this and the old story of the Frithghast.”
The subject matter of Deity is often uncomfortable to read. A mix of spooky and chilling for the horror, mystery, and supernatural elements, as well as disgusting and powerfully dark and dread-inducing in the presentation of the potential for depravity. Deity is thrilling, thought-provoking, and stomach-turning and had me gripped until the end, hoping King was able to find concrete answers about whether or not Zach Crystal was a deity, monster, troubled star, or misunderstood enigma. Events especially heat up by the time the last two stories are divulged. The final exchange, in particular, was phenomenal and revealed just how talented a writer Wesolowski is and how every moment that came prior was designed to add an emotional punch to the novel’s superb finale. This is a tale that will linger with me for a while, as only the finest horror stories can.