Publication Date: 28th April from Hodder and Staughton
Source: Review copy
Translated by Nancy Forest-Flier
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she’s there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.
The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.
Hex is hands down the creepiest book I have ever read. Yes thanks SO much to the author for those nightmares. Loved it. When a book genuinely disturbs you, you know you are onto a good thing.
The Black Rock Witch AKA Katherine just insinuates herself into your life while you are reading this book – there was one night that I woke up in a cold sweat absolutely certain she was stood at the end of my bed. Took half an hour and a compulsive check of every room in my house before I was convinced she wasnt actually there. But she could have been…
Thomas Olde Heuvelt has a deeply atmospheric and rich tone to his writing – Hex tells the story of a haunting in the modern age – the use of technology to track the witch on one hand offset against old world superstition and torch burning villagers on the other makes for a really terrific addictive read that will follow you around during all the routine mundane moments of life – and make you both desperate to get back to it whilst eyeing it suspiciously.
Teenage rebellion. Takes on a whole new meaning if you live in Black Spring, this is a thread that runs through the entire narrative and is really clever storytelling. The author sets you up for every fall yet you never see them coming – his eye for character detail is incredible. Getting attached to any one person in this novel is akin to watching them walk a tightrope without the benefit of a safety net – the “what the heck” moments when they come are tense, genuinely immersive and bang on the money when it comes to getting the heart pumping.
In between all those edge of the seat moments though is quiet comtemplation, observations of human nature that dig into those dark recesses of humanity, to that part of all of us where we are still children hiding from the boogey man. This is proper old school horror where often what you don’t see is far worse than what you do – it reminded me of King when he’s right on it, messing with your head and getting you jumping at shadows. Hex had that in spades, it grabs you and does not let go, is paced to perfection, written beautifully and basically just scares the crap out of you.
Highly Recommended. Unless you are of a nervous disposition. Oh even if you are, don’t miss this one. It won’t kill you. I promise. No really. Have I ever lied to you?
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