So happy it’s my stop today at the Hydra blog tour. Thank you so very much Orenda Books and Anne Cater for sending me this advanced copy. I finished the book a few days back and I just cannot wait for my stop to tell you how amazing (and terrifying) this book is!
In November 2014 Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and sister to death with a hammer. 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.
My Review: 5/5 terrifying stars!
Oh my goodness, where do I even start? WHERE DO I EVEN START? Let me get this review going by saying that I lost two nights of sleep reading this book, because it scared me so much that I could not actually fall asleep!
What a chilling and terrifying psychological crime thriller. I need to get my head around it to write this review as my emotions have been put on high alert in the past 48 hours reading it. The thing with Hydra is that throughout the entire book there are no graphic scenes but it’s the build up, it is the chilling descriptions and the scenes that leading to the final revelation that really gets me, that really terrifies me.
Arla Macleod bludgeoned her stepfather, mother and sister to death using a hammer in November 2014 due to a psychiatric break down. Right from the start of the book we know who committed the crime; Arla, 21 years old at the time did it. But why? The story is about Scott King, a journalist who hosts an online crime podcast, who started to discuss the killing of Macleod family to try to understand what drove Arla to have such a breakdown and commit such an inhuman crime. He discussed this over 6 episodes by interviewing Arla and 5 other people who may or may not have a direct connection to her.
The whole book is written in the format of interviews and voice recordings and it is so refreshing. I am not even sure whether “refreshing” should be used to describe a murder mystery but this is how it made me feel. It wasn’t like anything I have read before. It drew me in immediately and sometimes it drew me in “too much” that I honestly felt so sacred. This was me for most of the time reading the book:
– UGH! This is horrible
– What just happened?
– What is this?! Is that real? Or made up! WHAT!
– OMG what is that sound? Is that a knock? What is THAT?!
– Check the door, LOCK THE DOOR
– Ok time for sleep but I don’t want to as I am scared
– Let me just leave the light on…
– OMG I am scared!
– Is that?! Was he?! Was she?!
What is most incredible about this book is that sometimes I forget I am reading a fiction, as the way Matt uses words, paces the story and creates the suspense makes it feel soooo believable. You know sometimes when you are reading a book, even though it is good you always know you are reading a fiction. When I was reading Hydra, sometimes I had to check in with myself that this was made up (right?!), it’s fiction. But it makes you feel like you are reading about an actual event that happened, listening to real people being interviewed about this horrible crime. This feeling is very chilling and sometimes unpleasant as it feels like it could just happen right around me.
While this is a murder mystery, this book also deals with some very very serious issues. One is mental illness and the other is online trolling. The story deals with it head on and does not shy away from it. It points out both the obvious and things that we tend to miss. The more we avoid talking about it, the more the victims suffer. I really appreciate it and I find it so important nowadays to make people realise the importance of acknowledging these issues so we can find a better way to handle them and help others.
To say I enjoyed this story (and being creeped out) is an understatement. I really love Matt’s writing as it makes me feel that Scott King is a real person and we are talking about a real event. The story-telling is so seasoned and polished, I cannot wait to read more from Matt! This is definitely recommended if you love horror, thriller and mystery!
About 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.
Hydra Blog Tour Schedule: