Publication Date: Available Now (Kindle) January 15th (Paperback) from Orenda Books
Source: Review Copy
One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the “Macleod Massacre.” Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden “games,” online trolls, and the mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far beyond the delusions of a murderess.
The main thing I want to say is that this book is TOTAL genius. That.
I read Hydra in one sitting, going through the night gulping down various types of caffeine drinks, because once I started I just couldn’t stop. It is so beautifully written, so damn creepy that it will have you genuinely looking over your shoulder and jumping at shadows and on top of all that has an intricately woven, intelligent and thought provoking plot.
Those damned black eyed children. STILL occasionally haunting my nights.
Like with Six Stories (another work of genius although Hydra ups the ante quite considerably) we see a story unfolding through the eyes of various witnesses, each one adding to the whole until you have a dark, emotionally hard hitting finale – Arla’s story is incredibly intriguing, Matt Wesolowski builds the tension superbly, creating a deeply immersive mythology along the way. It does creep into your soul like a little burrowing book worm, by the end you are left a little ragged – in a brilliant way. Sign of a truly excellent read.
Comparisons to Stephen King are a dime a dozen these days and I tend to roll my eyes when I see them, but in the case of this author I honestly believe they are justified. Not because he writes like King, only King does that, but because it affects you in similar ways. The writing is so damned good that you feel every moment of it, the comparative value comes later. When you think you’ve left it behind then you see or hear something in real life and suddenly you are back there, in the story and you shiver and see the shadows.
I loved Six Stories and I loved Hydra even more. It was incredible, I lived in it and left part of me with it. Amazingly talented writing, decidedly excellent storytelling and a right proper literary page turner. BOOM.
Highly Recommended – with one piece of advice. DON’T LET THEM IN.
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