Having loved Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski, I am delighted to be on the blog tour for his second book Hydra with my review.
About this book…
One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the northwest of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, stepfather 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 key witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was as 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 kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess… Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller that shines light in places you may never, ever want to see again.
I loved Six Stories and so was over the moon to know that Scott King and his Six Stories was returning with another case. If you aren’t already aware, Six Stories is a podcast where Scott King looks into a cold cases and then in each of his six episodes, he speaks to a witness or family member to try to get to the bottom of a case although not necessarily to solve it. I had never heard of this concept before but apparently it’s similar to the real life “Serial” podcast which has quite a loyal following. The first book was a real eye opener for me, I found it unique and atmospheric, unlike anything I had read before so I was interested to see what sort of reaction I would have to the second book! And I have to say that I loved Hydra even more!!
I’m not sure if it was because I was now used to the very different style of the narrative but I seemed to get involved in the plotline much quicker this time and found the case Scott is investigating completely fascinating from the start. 21 year old Arla Macleod murdered her whole family with a hammer back in 2014 and is now in a secure mental health facility where she is having counselling but she has also decided to talk to Scott King. Her complex story is a disturbing one, full of urbane legends and dangerous games. Her sightings of the black eyed kids must surely mean she is psychotic but Scott is determined to speak to those left who were closest to her to find out the truth about Arla and the relationships she had with her family.
And this is where I admit to reading Hydra in one terrifying session as it unsettled me so much I had to read it quickly so I could get it off my kindle! It freaked me out with it’s mention of the urbane legends believed in (and followed) by Arla so much so that the hairs on my arms stood to attention every time those BEKs were mentioned! But for once I wasn’t bothered about a book causing me a sleepless night as that was preferable to the possible nightmares brought about by some very disturbing scenes that were described in sickeningly gory detail!
As usual, this book felt very current and relevant – I know that teenagers have committed crimes after becoming obsessed by certain urbane legends (The one that comes to mind first is the Slender Man case in the USA) and one of my kids still can’t talk about the time she and her friends watched The Ring because it still freaks her out many years later! Matt Wesolowski is an exciting new talent and I love the way he mixes his love of horror stories into the mystery element of the Six Stories podcasts. Hydra is darkly disturbing with a sinister and creepy storyline to give you nightmares that will continue to haunt you long after you’ve finished reading it. Perfectly plotted with a shocking sting in the tail, Hydra is a book to get excited about, although you may want to place it in your freezer in certain places and quite frankly, I don’t blame you!
Highly recommended by me!
Hydra (Six Stories) is available to purchase now from Amazon UK (affiliates link) My review copy came from the publisher.
Meet the author…
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 Hollywood studio..