True crime has taken over entertainment. Regardless of what that says about our society, observe the fruits of this trend has been fascinating. It’s a pick-your-poison landscape now, filled with riveting podcasts, multi-part streaming series, and other mediums exploring (or exploiting, depending on your view) our interest in the horrible things that happen to others. Amidst the plethora of experiments, one stands out as a refreshing take on the trend: turning the true-crime podcast format into a fictional book.
At its core, podcasting is just another way to tell stories, and British author Matt Wesolowski took that idea and translated it into book form. Changeling, the latest installment in Wesolowski’s Six Stories series, successfully implants the tale of a boy’s disappearance into your head vividly enough that you can almost hear it being told to you.
For those unaware, the Six Stories book series uses a podcast format to “rake over old graves” of fictional crimes. Journalist Scott King hosts the fictitious Six Stories podcast, in which he explores past crimes by interviewing those associated with them—witnesses, bystanders, and perpetrators alike. Each book in Weslowski’s series features six stories and six different accounts of the same crime, written as podcast transcripts. Reading each book mimics “listening” to one season of the Six Stories podcast, with King as your narrator and guide to dissecting the events that led to and made up the horrible (and typically mysterious) crime at hand.