Hydra by Matt Wesolowski ** Blog Tour Review**
It is exciting to start off the new year on the blog with a slot on an Orenda Books Blog Tour to celebrate Matt Wesolowski's second novel, Hydra. I always look with anticipation at each new Orenda release and Hydra is no exception. I was lucky enough to interview Matt when his debut novel, Six Stories was published in March and you can read that here.
A family massacre. A deluded murderess. Five witnesses.
Six Stories. Which one is true?
Six Stories. Which one is true?
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.
Hydra is written using a similar format to Six Stories. Consisting of a series of podcasts which feature different characters, it gives the impression that you are looking into the mystery from all angles, with fresh insights coming from each witness. The fact that Arla Macleod murdered her family is known from the start. The mystery revolves around the circumstances and her mental state. It is an ingenious way to tell a story and feels very current, as it uses social media and digital information at its heart.
Despite a similar structure, Hydra has a totally different feel for me from Six Stories which had a very strong sense of landscape and setting. In Hydra, the setting is in fact basically within Arla's mind. There is an enclosed, almost claustrophobic feel which adds to the tension. No characters are in any way superfluous but you only begin to see towards the end of the story, how they are all linked, and whose account can be taken at face value- probably no one's!
It is a dark and unsettling tale which tightened the suspense so much that I had to remind myself to breathe in the last few chapters! What a great read to start the year.
In short: a many headed serpent of a book!
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
Thanks to Karen Sullivan, Anne Cater and Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour!
Follow the rest of the tour!