I adored Matt Wesolowski’s debut Six Stories and I’ve been trying desperately to try and squeeze this follow up in for MONTHS!! It’s finally happened!!
Massive thank you to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for my copy of Hydra!
A family massacre
A deluded murderess
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.
What Did I Think?
In contrast to #SixStories, this feels less of a whodunnit more of a whydunnit. Why did Arla Macleod butcher her family in the middle of the night and essentially hand herself over to the police?
Getting into Arla’s head in the chapters separating the six podcasts is a dark and strange place to go to. The dreams and images she records in her musings are very sinister and not to be smirked at.
I have to say I do like Mr Simon King as our narrator. He maybe the man behind the microphone but this time we get more of an insight to this man. His personal space comes into play this time round. Is this podcaster extraordinaire put off?
With each podcast, the ‘witness’ peels the layers of Arla but also they themselves become more suspect. After each interview, I wanted to go back to Arla and quiz her on what the ‘witness’ had disclosed. Did she have an explanation behind her behaviour? How much truth did her ‘friend’ tell us? What was Arla’s side to the retelling of what happened?
Matt Wesolowski has such a way with words. I could hear Simon King’s dulcet tones in my head as I read, Arla’s confused monologues and the nervous interviewees waffling away under the scrutiny of the Six Stories listeners. Yet again Mr Wesolowski has written a dark and twisted tale. Just like in Six Stories, he’s added the heebie jeebie element to his story which gave me goosebumps! Can’t wait for the next one!
Who Is Matt Wesolowski?
Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. 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. 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, UK and Australia.