Book Title: Hydra
Author: Matt Wesolowski
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Series: Six Stories #2
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Pub Date: 12/24/17 (UK Kindle)
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.
I heard them at lunchtime, over the sound of the radio.
They followed me here.
After everything that’s happened, they followed me here…
I don’t know what they want.
Sometimes you read a book that blows you away so strongly that you are a bit terrified to pick up the author’s sequel. As my date for this blog tour grew closer, my tummy started to get a bit anxious and I wondered how Hydra would compare to Six Stories. There was quite a twist at the end of the first book and I pondered whether that affected my rating and review. Maybe the writing wasn’t as amazing as I originally thought? Maybe I was just on board the hype train; what if the novelty of a book structured as a podcast wore off? Guess what guys? IT WAS INCREDIBLE AND AMAZING!!! Just like in Six Stories, we have a unique format of storytelling (with excellent writing), but we get to know Scott King a little better this go around than we before. This book was incredibly creepy, but in a rich, realistic, atmospheric way.
You don’t technically have to read these in order but I HIGHLY recommend doing so in an effort to receive the greatest emphasis on all the right parts. The novels in this series are short, yet powerful; so far each case has been fully relevant to current culture and gives many nuggets to ponder no matter who you are. The anxiety riddled OCD inside me really loves the structure of these books; I know I’ve mentioned it already but the organized efficiency in which the author tells the story gives the ability to cover all that is needed while also allowing the reader to come to their own conclusions. Neither book really gives you a cut and dry ending; while most of the larger questions are answered, these stories ask the reader to use their thinking cap and decide what may or may not have happened to these tortured individuals.
I really want to keep this brief and stay away from the plot, but I was once again shocked with, not one but TWO brilliant twists! I won’t say exactly when they occur but they are just as genius as the ones in Six Stories. If you are looking for a way to shake up your usual hum drum of crime fiction and are tired of the Gone Girl wannabes, give these books a go. What do you have to lose? They’re brief snippets of unique storytelling and I find myself once again salivating for the next one. Please tell me we’ll have more than 6 episodes of Six Stories?
Pretty please with sugar on top. Highly recommended and I feel lucky to have found one of my Top Reads so early on two years running.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015.