I am positively hyperventilating at being involved in the #BlogTour for this! Massive thank you to Karen at Orenda Books and Anne over at randomthingsthroughmyletterbox for inviting me and providing me with the ARC to read and review.
#Covergasm alert for this cover – LOOK at it! It SCREAMS – READ ME! And who am I to resist its lure! I loved Six Stories from Matt and so I was delighted to be reading the second book by the author.
Before I share my thoughts here’s what the blurb says:
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.
There are almost no words to describe my feelings about this novel. Hydra has just blown it all out the water, add crime, psychological thriller and horror to the mix combined with the authors genius and the result is Hydra, the creepiest but most compelling read ever! If you read Six Stories and thought it was good then this one is going to blow you away!
For those who haven’t read Six Stories before, the books are written in the style of a series of 6 podcasts led by investigative journalist, Scott King. This fresh and original approach provides the perfect narrative and as a reader, I felt as though as I was listening to each word as it dripped off the page. So engrossed was I in this book that I lost all sense of time as I got lost in the pages.
This series of podcasts focuses on Arla MacLeod who massacred her family aged just 21; she is in a secure unit and the world is angry at the leniency of her sentence – but there are some people who think that something more lay beneath the events of that fateful night, an exploration of her character and those of her family through the words of others. Arla’s recordings are interspersed between each episode of the podcast and these were harrowing accounts of her experiences. Such is the skill of this writer, he does not need to rely on graphic accounts, the chilling narrative paints a damning picture as we begin to uncover just some of what happened to Arla over the years.
The heart of the plot feeds our hunger for the “behind the scenes” information on cases where someone seemingly flips and wipes out their family, it quenches the thirst of the whydunnit when we already know the whodunnit but the answers you receive may not be the ones you want to hear. Some of the interviews will provoke you, they will make you sad and they will challenge your thoughts but be assured they will stay with you long after you turn the last page of the book.
Hydra explores a number of themes, from mental health to the very real and topical issues trolling; the dark web and the use of online games which will scare the living daylights out of you! I googled them and I’m not going to lie, I had the fear! And those Black-Eyed Children, let me just say reading this at 4am is not conducive to sleep! I’m saying no more about this, my lips are sealed, no spoilers here! Just read it and see
That age-old debate over “devil” music and the impact on the young, the exploration of what it’s like to be a teenager living on the outskirts of acceptance are all addressed relevantly and realistically throughout the novel and it was a fascinating read and prompted many memories of my own teenage years.
This book will delve into your very soul, it will wrap its icy cold fingers around your heart and tear you away from every comfort you have ever known. Wrapped in a cloak of normal day to day behaviours it will prod and poke at your online activity, your attitudes to mental health and beyond. This novel is absolute genius and I cannot wait to see what Matt Wesolowski brings to us next.
I urge you to go and buy this book now, read it and tell others to read it too!
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are saying:
Hydra is available to purchase from:
Matt Wesolowski is from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young
people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has
been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie
Creature Feature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella,
The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt
was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in
2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK
and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major