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Hydra

Published Date: 7th August 2017

Available in

$0

EBook
9781910633984
£5.99
24 December 2017
Paperback
9781910633977
£8.99
15 January 2018
Audiobook
B079K4JP3K
£14.99
27 February 2018

Description

A family massacre

A deluded murderess

Five witnesses

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.

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‘Bold, clever and genuinely chilling with a terrific twist that provides an explosive final punch’ Deidre O’Brien, Sunday Mirror

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‘A genuine genre-bending debut’ Carla McKay, Daily Mail

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‘Weolowski evokes the ominous landscape and eerie atmosphere of the area with sharp, direct prose … there is more than a whiff of modern horror here, and thee Blair Witch Project feels like a touchstone, but the meat of the story is the typically fractious and fraught relationships between the teenagers struggling to find their place in the world and their role within society. Impeccably crafted and gripping from start to finish’ Doug Johnstone, Big Issue

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‘With a unique structure, an ingenious plot and so much suspense you can’t put it down, this is the very epitome of a must-read’ Heat

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‘Wonderfully horrifying … the suspense crackles’ James Oswald

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‘Wonderfully atmospheric. Matt Wesolowski is a skilled storyteller with a unique voice. Definitely one to watch’ Mari Hannah

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‘A stunning piece of writing – chock full of atmosphere, human insight and beautiful writing. Take a note of this guy’s name. He’s going to be huge!’ Michael J. Malone

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‘A complex and subtle mystery, unfolding like dark origami to reveal the black heart inside’ Michael Marshall Smith

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‘Original, inventive and brilliantly clever’ Fiona Cummins

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‘For fans of thrills, chills and an up-to-date take on the darker side of society’ J.S. Collyer

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‘A tight, claustrophobic mystery’ David F. Ross

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‘A remarkable debut from a fine new fictional voice’ Shelley Day

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‘ The literary equivalent of dark metal – gritty, dark, often shocking, and always exciting. A masterful debut’ Kati Hiekkapelto

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‘Chilling, beautiful, addictive, dark, haunting and utterly magical. There’s a constant thread of menace and chill’ Louise Beech

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‘A new style of mystery, one that encapsulates the twenty- first century, the internet, and social media … a dazzling fictional mystery’ Foreword Reviews

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‘A wonderfully distinctive, intense, and piercing read. In 2014 a young woman Arla Macleod kills her family, later, as investigative journalist Scott King begins to unravel the story with podcasts on the internet, danger steps into view and stalks ever closer. The second in this fresh and different series takes a short step back in time from the first, while you can certainly read this as a standalone, I do recommend beginning with Six Stories. Matt Wesolowski excels in creating individual voices, each podcast sounded as clearly as a bell tone in my mind. I could hear each character speak, see them gesturing, I looked into their eyes and beyond, and they demanded my attention … Hydra provokes thoughts and rattles feelings, creating an original and enthralling read, highly recommended’ Love Reading

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‘Wesolowski’s debut, Six Stories, had the ingenious idea of using a true-crime podcaster as its sleuth. This sequel sees the return of Scott King, here investigating why a young woman bludgeoned three members of her family to death. Thanks to Wesolowski’s mixture of supernatural elements and first-class plotting, this is one of the most addictive of new crime novels. Hydra is recommended in S Magazine

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Matt reveals the recipe for creating the creepiest online urban legends in an exclusive in the Notebook

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‘The podcasts intertwined with the recorded thoughts of Arla makes for a fascinating mystery, that slowly unfolds and leaves the reader trying to put the jigsaw together, without the picture to guide them. The writing is once again original, clever and inventive, making this a true page turner. Once again Matt Wesolowski has written a truly excellent literary mystery that is gripping from beginning to end’ Atticus Finch

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‘This is a compelling story in an original format … Hydra manages to build a lot of tension and excitement within the self-imposed boundaries of this narrative. And, it is hard to imagine a novel better suited to dramatisation for an audiobook version. It’s a whydunnit and an intelligent psychological thriller that is pushing at the edges of the supernatural crime genre … Matt Wesolowski knows what to deliver and what to leave to our imaginations. There may be a limit to how far he can push this format but this is a very classy novel and the Six Stories series deserves a long run’ Crime Fiction Lover

 

A brilliant, eerie and informative piece for the NewStatesman by Matt Wesolowski about online mythology, Slenderman and storytelling.

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Matt writes a guest post for the Times Crime Club about ghost stories for millennials while promoting Hydra’s upcoming publication date. Times Crime Club

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Four years after an infamous massacre journalist Scott King begins a podcast to unpick the story. With five witnesses and six stories, will he be able to discover the truth? Matt Wesolowski’s thriller is out now. Hydra is recommended in the Sunday Express Magazine

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‘Matt Wesolowski entered the crime fiction sphere via the unique format of telling the story through written podcasts. Obviously in book form you need to read them, but the rhythm, calm explanations and some repetition of established facts and new information make them quite hypnotic … The unsettling tone of Hydra is magnified by King’s own experience of being intimidated by an online troll who has gained access to his personal data, and wants him to abandon the project. Threats and intimidation aside, he continues with his intention to present a solid honest view of the murderess. Hydra is certainly chilling’ Crime Review

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‘In Wesolowski’s effective sequel to 2017’s Six Stories, Scott King, who hosts a weekly podcast, examines the case of Arla Macleod, who was convicted at 21 of bludgeoning her sister and her parents to death in their home in Stanwel, England, in 2014 … King’s podcasts draw strangely personal warnings to desist, but he persists, provoking further tragedy. Through this unusual format, Wesolowski skillfully draws readers into a story of increasing depth and force’ Publishers Weekly

Author

Matt Wesolowski is an author 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- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, 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.
Follow Matt on Twitter @ConcreteKraken and on his website: mjwesolowskiauthor.wordpress.com

Online Reviews

‘The story is plotted well as Scott learns more about Arla’s life and hears from people who knew her at various times, as well as the woman herself. As the whole thing unfolded it drew me in and I wanted to find out why. Why did this young woman kill the people closest to her? What were the circumstances that led up to the horrific events … This is a clever, accomplished and unique book with a very current theme and I strongly suspect Wesolowski is an author to watch in the future’ Short Book & Scribes

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‘Wesolowski has created a format in which the sheer force of the voices of these six unvarnished interviews is the key to the tension, atmosphere and unbridled horror and darkness … Dark, compact, but suffused with malign intent, mental instability and dark and malicious events, Hydra is a book to mess with your mind while it suspends  your heartbeats. The structure is straightforward and very compelling, but best of all it lends itself very well to the controlled, creative writing at which Weslowski excels. Hydra is a brilliant, dazzlingly accomplished book which has shot straight to the top of my 5 star, highly recommended list’ Live and Deadly

 

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‘I was instantly hit by a feeling of unease and creepiness when I started reading this novel. I’m pretty sure that whatever other review you might read you’ll read this again and again as well. It creeped me out so much, I had frissons running down my spine the whole time … I would catalogue this novel under the horror genre more than thriller or mystery and I’m happy that I didn’t know this beforehand because I always thought I wouldn’t enjoy this genre. This novel just proved me wrong! This truly was an amazing read to kick-off the year and one that will be lingering in my thoughts again for a long time. Hydra was everything I wanted it to be and more; I couldn’t have wished for a better sequel. A very recommended read!’ The Belgian Reviewer

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‘The plot of Hydra is very cleverly constructed. With each chapter (which represented an episode of the podcast) I felt I was getting closer to the truth, only to have my theories about what had happened smashed to smithereens in the next chapter. When I thought there could not be any more twists, another twist came, and when I did reach the end, I had to drag my jaw from the floor.  Hydra is slightly unconventional, and at times, Wesolowski takes you to some very dark places, but the journey on which you embark when you start reading is one that is well worth taking!’ Portable Magic

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Hydra oh WOW this has to be one of the most original and creepiest books I’ve read EVER! I loved Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski, but I loved Hydra more, it simply oozes menace from the opening chapter. I think Matt Wesolowski has done a remarkable job in creating a novel that is both atmospheric and deliciously dark, it also has a modern twist to it which makes it very readable, and make an idea book club read, there is so much to discuss and debate. In my opinion the author has written a crime thriller that’s exciting, unpredictable, deceptive and down right menacing. I’m giving Hydra the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating, the first one of the year’ The Book Review Café

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‘Wesolowski has tackled some very brave subject matters in Hydra and I really admire that he does not shy away from these issues … This is a book which closely examines the human psyche and holds a mirror up to societal constraints and mental health. If a cleverley written book with a mystery at its heart combined with tension and suspense is your thing then Hydra may be just up your street. I really enjoyed this smart and pacey book, it held my interest, kept me turning the pages and is on of those books that will linger in my heart for a while. I fell in love with Arla, and I hope you do too’ Beverley Has Read

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‘I loved it, really loved it. It completely freaked me out. There was so much to keep up with, and just when I thought I had it Matt threw in something else, and those creepy children. I am not able for the power of suggestion!!! Matt Wesolowski is such a genuine talent and his creativity knows no bounds with Hydra. It is truly a captivating book. Scary at times, but so immensely readable. I can’t heap enough praise on his ability to create menacing narratives that push their way beneath your skin’ Bibliophile Book Club

 

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‘If ever a series of books was going to shake up the psychological thriller genre then this is it. This book is both inspiring and depressing in equal measure. Inspiring because of the sheer creativity and how assured and confident the writing appears. It made me want to do better and be better. Depressing because as a (moderately undecided and uncertain and totally out of my depth I know) aspiring writer, you kind of get left thinking – how the bloody hell do you compete with that?’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews

 

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‘Wesolowski is one of my very favourite authors.  He writes in a totally different, exciting and original way and I love to read his books.  I will say this though, Hydra is absolutely brilliant but I did prefer Six Stories.  There are many reviewers out there saying that this book is Wesolowski’s best yet, but I have to disagree.  It’s still better than MANY other books I have read in the past 12 months but Six Stories will always have a special place in my heart.  In fact, if you’re picking up a copy of Hydra then add a copy of Six Stories whilst you’re at it.  You won’t regret it.’ Damp Pebbles

 

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‘The main thing I want to say is that this book is TOTAL genius … It is so beautifully written, so damn creepy that it will have you genuinely looking over your shoulder and jumping at shadows and on top of all that has an intricately woven, intelligent and thought provoking plot … Comparisons to Stephen King are a dime a dozen these days and I tend to roll my eyes when I see them, but in the case of this author I honestly believe they are justified … The writing is so damned good that you feel every moment of it, the comparative value comes later … I loved Six Stories and I loved Hydra even more. It was incredible, I lived in it and left part of me with it. Amazingly talented writing, decidedly excellent storytelling and a right proper literary page turner’ Liz Loves Books

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‘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!’ Books, Life and Everything

 

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‘In all, though, Hydra lives up to the expectations set by its excellent predecessor, and is as inscrutable and unexpected as readers of Six Stories will expect. Matt Wesolowski’s second novel builds on the strengths of his debut, and proves that this young writer has plenty of talent to burn. Accomplished, intelligent and incredibly well-written Hydra cements Wesolowski’s place as a writer to watch, especially if you’re looking for authors who aren’t constrained by genre boundaries. Hydra should be top of your list of books to read early this year, and if you haven’t yet read Six Stories, then you have some serious catching up to do.’ Reader Dad

 

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‘Wesolowski maximises opportunities for creating tension, intrigue, cliffhangers and drama through the organisation of the book. He takes what could become limitations with this choice of format and transforms into something very effective. He has created something that plays with the conventions of the genre of crime fiction. We meet the person accused of crime, we meet other people involved and we listen to the facts and the opinions but the fascination and the intrigue comes from the fact we only learn about these characters from what they say – and what they say in this specific context … With its brevity, taut prose and decisive, controlled writing, Hydra is without doubt something very special … There’s nothing more rewarding than devouring a book cover to cover in one sitting! And being scared, shocked, entertained and gripped by every single sentence. Hydra is unique and unmissable’ Bibliomaniac

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Hydra is a different beast to the first Six Stories. It’s darker and much, much spookier ‘’’ It’s a finely crafted mystery with more than a hint of the supernatural oozing through the pages, with an entirely satisfying denouement which will make you want to read it again immediately. I said last year that Six Stories would be on my Books of the Year list, and it was. I’m confident that Hydra will do the same for 2018’s list’ Espresso Coco

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‘Unique and devilishly good is an understatement! Six stories plus plus! A novel written in a series of podcasts about a woman in a hospital for having murdered her family … This gets right down to the bone when it comes to the human psyche and mental health. Reading this at night made sleep an elusive dream! There’s strength in the writing, sheer brilliance in the dialogue and a frisson which stays with you long after reading’ The Book Trail

 

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‘The plotting is meticulous, every section is laying the groundwork for what’s ahead and with each gasp worthy reveal I was shocked. This doesn’t hinge on one massive twist but rather has several moments of surprise that will astound you and make you applaud the author for his craftiness, I still can’t get over the resolution, bravo Mr. Wesolowski, bravo’ Novel Gossip

 

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‘Wesolowski is a very skilled writer. Each podcast has enough information to carry the story forward but keeps enough back to keep the reader invested … As a series, the “Six Stories” structure could continue indefinitely for as long as Wesolowski wants to write them, and I can guarantee I would be one of the first in line to read them. Each book can be read as a stand-alone very easily and anyone who has any interest in true crime documentaries would love these novels. Orenda Books has struck gold yet again with the wonderful discovery of Matt Wesolowski’s writing, with it’s unique structure and I look forward to reading more of his books in the future’ Segnalibro

 

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‘I really can’t emphasise how much I loved this dark and delicious read … I also liked the way that like the very best True Crime podcasts – Weslowski allows space for our own feelings and responses. Arla’s actions are not tied up in a neat little package with the ‘why’ on top tied up with a pretty pink bow. There is enough room for us to ask ourselves questions about who we believe and why that makes Hydra such an involving and ultimately rewarding experience.  I found myself genuinely being convinced to see things from a constantly shifting perspective as the novel bore me towards the conclusion and this was a rollercoaster ride that I definitely didn’t want to get off’’ On The Shelf Book Blog

 

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Now, on to the brilliance that is Hydra, I loved it, and if you’re a fan of true crime, podcasts, crime fiction, in fact, if you enjoy reading good books, you’ll love it too! What makes Hydra so great is the original narration and the interesting case being examined … the believability of this novel is scary, I said it about Six Stories and I’ll say it again about Hydra, if you told me this was a real life case, and Hydra a non-fiction book, I would believe you, such is the strength of Wesolowski’s writing. Don’t be deterred if you don’t read non-fiction because this has all the gripping qualities of a fictional novel, I just want to highlight how much this novel draws you in, how it lingers like reading about a true crime would’

Keeper of Pages

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‘What I particularly enjoyed was the unique structure of the novel … What I didn’t expect was the dark and eerily creepy quality that Wesolowki brings to the novel. Arla’s fascination with goth singer Skexxix, his rituals and the black eyed children add an extra dimension to the novel that I found very disturbing and I would recommend you do not read in the dark! … The writing is fantastic full of amazing imagery, and wonderfully atmospheric. It is multi layered each podcast unraveling another angle, another revelation, surprising the reader as the plot takes yet another turn.This is a novel that will hook you from the first page, it will draw you into to a dark and murky world, and is a story for todays media driven society’ My Bookish Blogspot

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‘The best word I can use to describe this book is Wow! I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it and I’ve been reading a long time. I’ve read quite a few book that had me hooked and engrossed so that’s not new but what this one did was get me not only hooked and engrossed but totally sucked in. The world disappeared … This is genuinely an astonishingly brilliant book, definitely one you should read. It works perfectly as a stand alone, not having read Six Stories is not a hindrance. Though having said that I will be reading it once I have sufficiently recovered from reading this.  I think I need a lie down now, maybe I’ll keep the lights on though, just in case’ Book Lover Worm Blog

 

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‘The plot is tense, gripping and extremely chilling, there are some parts that I definitely wouldn’t recommend reading at night! It’s full of shocks and just when I thought I had it all figured out, Wesolowski managed to surprise me again! … Wesolowski’s expert writing kept me on my toes and diverted my attention to other places. The harrowing and thought-provoking ending was the perfect way to finish this unique and memorable book. Overall, I’m giving Hydra 4.5 out of 5. It’s highly original, completely engaging and full of suspense. I sincerely hope there will be more to come from the Six Stories series’ Misti Moo Book Reviews

 

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‘I’m still lost for words, to be honest. I could mention things like compelling, addictive, engrossing, gripping and they’re all true but none really accurately convey the sheer brilliance and genius that is Matt Wesolowski and his latest offering. It’s just impeccable, an incredibly crafted masterpiece, a true gem which stands out effortlessly. I feel incredibly proud and honoured to have Hydra sitting comfortably on my bookshelf. While I’m not entirely sure my review does it any justice, I do hope it will convince you to pick up a copy. All that’s left for me to say is, please can I have some more, sir’ Novel Deelights

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Hydra had me intrigued and interested just from reading the prologue. I absolutely love Matt’s writing style making the story easy to read and fast paced. The way the story is told leaves the reader to analyse the case themselves and I think it is brilliant, I haven’t read anything similar to this before. Instead of chapters in this book there is episodes, different but gripping. You can tell Matt has put a lot of time and research into this story which had me hooked to the point I devoured it in two days, I didn’t want to put it down. Hydra is chilling and will give you goosebumps. I enjoyed reading this story very much and awarded a well deserved five stars. I would highly recommend you all read it if you haven’t already. Hydra was in my top twenty reads of 2017’ Gemma’s Book Reviews

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‘In terms of the prose, Wesolowski again skilfully ensures that the unique character of each voice shines through. Hydra is every inch as beautifully written as its predecessor, Six Stories, demonstrating that Wesolowski is no one trick pony but, indeed, a formidable talent. Hydra is every inch as fresh and current as his debut which will delight all those readers who have eagerly anticipated this book. Hydra literally pulses with atmosphere as you wind your way through the stories to its startling conclusion. Could I have possibly already found my favourite book of 2018? Intelligent, thoughtful and damn scary, read Hydra with the big light on and not before bedtime! Absolutely bloody brilliant!’

Bloomin Brilliant Books

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‘It has at it’s heart a story about a web of secrets, actions and lies. It delves into the darkest recesses of minds that most of us would struggle to understand. From this the writer weaves a story that will haunt me for sometime to come and which I feel has seeped deep into my subconscious. It is superb. It’s thrilling. But most of all it’s confirmation of a talented young writer, whose talent is recognised and nurtured by a publisher, who cares about delivering first class stories to it’s readers’ Books are my Cwtches

 

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‘I am impressed by the authors well though out storytelling, especially the way in which he brought death to life (if you catch my drift). ‘Hydra’ is by far the most unusual book I have ever read and, despite not being totally convinced by the hype surrounding this book (my issue), I really surprised myself by enjoying a lot of this book thanks to Matt Wesolowski’s intense words’ The Writing Garnet

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Hydra stayed in my head long after I finished it, and I love how original, atmospheric and utterly absorbing the story is. It’s a testament to Matt’s writing, and I can safely say Hydra is a novel that you’ll struggle to tear yourself away from’

Snazzy Books

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‘There are some tough subjects tackled in this book; bullying, mental heath, online trolling, abuse, manipulation. Effects of not feeling wanted and being made to feel worthless… all these and more, are dealt with a clear understanding and a sensitive nature … Hydra is another fresh, dark and unique book from this talented author. I love what he does and hope he continues with these “Six Stories” books. If, like me, you love real life crime documentaries, then this book will certainly appeal to you. Blending supernatural and reality together, leaving you unsure what is real…’

Gem’s Quiet Corner

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‘This tale was just so chilling and at times very disturbing which touches on the supernatural, particularly with the appearance of the ‘black-eyed kids’ which I must say gave me the heebie-jeebies. This was a cross between a crime story mixed with horror which tackled the stigma around mental illness, particularly amongst teenagers as well as religion and the lengths some parents would go for their staunched beliefs. I won’t say anymore about how phenomenal this book is as I think everyone should read it themselves … This is an original, chilling, and disturbing novel which will keep you awake at night!’ Chillers, Killers and Thrillers

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‘Turn on the radio and there she would be, the presenters discussing her case! Hydra really gets under your skin. Addictive doesn’t seem to cover it! Matt Wesolowski’s writing is haunting, chilling and enrapturing. I adored Six Stories – from the first sentence – I could feel in my gut it was going to be exceptional! And the same goes for this incredible book! As long as Matt is writing books, I’ll be reading them! Chilling. Beguiling. Mystifying’ Ronnie Turner

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Hydra manages to use modern day ideas but the outcome is almost an old fashioned ghost story. It’s the type of book that sets you on edge right from the beginning and has you looking over your shoulder until the end. I would highly recommend Hydra and Six Stories, especially if you are fan of well written original novels’ A Crime Readers Blog

 

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‘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’ The Suspense is Thrilling Me

 

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Six Stories is a fantastic read but Hydra has raised the bar (didn’t think that’d be possible!) by being as disturbing and creepy as hell!! (Caution: read alone at night at your peril!). The underlying narrative of the black eyed children is terrifying and really emphasises Arla’s state of mind and the fear she experiences. The structure and complexity of this book is pure brilliance – the matter of fact approach to relaying events of a cold crime which allows the podcast listeners (and therefore the reader) to draw their own conclusions is fabulous. This is one of those books that I keep thinking about – those black-eyed children and the urban legends that feature are both intriguing and chilling. I can not recommend this and Six Stories enough, so much so that I hope Scott King has many more ‘Six Stories’ to tell’

Have Books Will Read

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‘The real beauty of Hydra is the way that Matt Wesolowski has created his own unique genre around crime solving that involves using podcasts … I am a massive fan of Matt Wesolowski and his incredible writing skill that has you on the edge of your seat. It is just innovative and new. If you read Six Stories, then Hydra should be on your to be read pile. A real contender for one of the books for 2018. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED’

The Last Word Book Review

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‘This book is an absolute masterpiece of suspense and will definitely have a place on my Outstanding Books list for this year … Addictive, absorbing, scary as hell, edge of the seat reading’ Mrs Bloggs Books

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‘Creepy, lonely, completely addicting! I found Hydra to benefit from a faster pace, probably due to the dual and parallel storylines, and I am utterly impressed that the author managed to surprise me again. Matt Wesolowski turned what had been a wonderfully chilling original format into another unforgettable story, deeper, more personal, and simply unputdownable!’ Chocolate N Waffles

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‘The story is a real creeper, in that it creeps up and scares you and is also creepy and frightening with a real sense of horror and a unique tension created by the retelling of an event over and over yet never revealing quite the same facts and all the time the dark eyed kids watch from the sidelines. Brrr it’s enough to make you shiver. This is one to read with the lights on, to make sure theres nothing lurking in the corners of the room. A delectable masterpiece of bone chilling ghoulishness that will keep you flipping those pages until the bitter end’

 Beady Jan’s Books

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‘This book is brilliant, original and twisted. Matt Wesolowksi did it again, a fabulous book with an engaging plot (even scary sometimes) and surprising. If you are searching for something different this is your book, a must read’ Varietats

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‘What an absolutely clever, captivating and simply superb piece of writing! I cannot believe that I haven’t read Matt Wesolowski’s debut: Six Stories – but I have it, and it WILL be read!… Instantly I was drawn into this book despite my initial reluctance. You see, I foolishly wondered whether or not the podcast format of writing this book was going to hinder or obstruct my reading pleasure -*smacks hand* it didn’t… it was just pure genius! I actually loved the concept and I raced through the pages in a matter of hours’ Crime Book Junkie

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‘This story was even more thrilling, delightfully eerie and as beautifully accomplished as Six Stories. I now consider myself a confirmed fan for sure. I totally believe after reading these uneasy and occasionally startling passages, if Matt Wesolowski wants to forge a career in the horror genre, he’s more than qualified … So yes, Matt Wesolowski, you have a new super fan and I will be reading everything you write!’ Bibliobeth

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Wow. Hydra is an absolute revelation. It completely knocked the wind out of me, had me holding my breath whilst my heart was beating out of my chest. It is eerie, chilling and utterly fantastic and kept me up until the early hours as I eagerly devoured page after page … Hydra is such an intense book but one that you need to keep reading as you become completely invested in the storyline and Arla’s story as you hurtle towards the conclusion. I can’t recommend this book enough – I have a feeling it’s going to be one of the BIG books of 2018!’

 Broadbeans Books

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Hydra is a very chilling, eerie and enthralling read.  I was hooked from the start by the unusual style of writing and the story which is unlike anything I have read before. Hydra is a story that sticks with you and gets inside your head. I kept expecting to see the black eyed children appear everywhere and was frightened to look out at the window at night. This is Matt’s second book but the first one I have read though I will look forward to reading Six Stories soon.  If you like eerie, chilling thrillers you’ll love this book and even if you don’t think you do, try this book as i don’t think you’ll be disappointed!’ Somewhere Over the Rainbow Blog

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‘There is so much to admire between these pages, Scott King presents the facts and the reader has to form their own opinion … Dark and chilling, my heart was racing and my mind went cold. What a talent Matt Wesolowki is. The skill with which he writes is as breathtaking as his plots. Hydra is honestly phenomenal, a writing masterclass and an absolute pleasure to read. On very rare occasions I come to the end of a book, read that last sentence and just say Wow. Hydra did that to me. Compelling and utterly compulsive, I can’t recommend this enough to everyone. I was utterly consumed by this one’ Reflections of a Reader

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‘Like its forerunner Six Stories, it’s so easy to imagine Hydra as a film script – the podcast format lends itself perfectly to progressing the story, in a tale made up of nothing but dialogue. Wesolowski has carved himself a niche in the crime fiction genre, weaving mystery and horror to create another atmospheric and dark read’

Earl Grey and Cupcakes

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‘Wesolowski does a fantastic job of rendering these chapters to seem like you really are listening to a true crime podcast. Each character’s voice is so palpably unique that it’s hard to believe you are not just reading a transcript. His mastery of atmosphere also extends into the supernatural elements of the novel. While mysterious black-eyed children are a frequently used horror trope, Wesolowski weaves these creepy tales together so masterfully that you want to abandon all rationality and actually believe that the occult occurances are the reason behind this entire story, despite your brain telling you it can’t possibly be true. It’s also creepy enough that it will affect you, even if you read a lot of horror!’ The Crime Review

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‘The plot blazes forward, fresh and original and deeply poignant in today’s popular culture … Nothing is quite what it seems.  For the listeners of Scott King’s Six Stories, the more you listen, the less you might actually know. I absolutely recommend this book to all readers, especially to anyone who is interested in true crime, podcasts, or thrillers. This book has it all.  If you’ve listened to Serial, S-Town, or Casefile you will absolutely love this book’ Overdue Book Reviews

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‘It’s creepy, sinister and wonderful. It adds that added horror element to an already intense and chilling story … HYDRA is not about the fast action, but about the slow burn. The reader is given time to fully digest each episode and form their own opinions of the story. But this is a Wesolowski novel, there is a twist. A twist that pulls the rug out from under you and leaves you slamming to the ground with a ‘what the f… just happened?’. I CANNOT wait to read what is next for Scott King! Just how deep and twisted can we go?! I’ll take my number and wait in the long line of readers/authors/bloggers who will continue to champion both Matt and his novels!’ The P Turners Book Blog

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Matt writes a guest post on ‘The many heads of the Hydra’ as part of the blog tour. Shots Mag

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‘Matt Wesolowski recognises that this is where true horror lies, as we reveal more and more of ourselves online just what are we laying ourselves open to? That the outsiders and outcasts can find solace in their subcultures is undeniable but the criminals and trolls that skulk there are ready to predate on the unaware. Starkly current and with an unsettling melancholy, Hydra isn’t always an easy read. It is, however, compelling, intelligent and beautifully written – each voice is distinct, each setting is brought vividly to life.  Matt Wesolowski has crafted a cautionary and chilling tale that cements his place as one of the freshest writers around today’

Hair Past A Freckle

 

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‘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!’ My Chestnut Tree Reading

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‘The ending? Oh the ending! As with all the best thrillers, you’ll need to wait until the very last page for the true story to unfold and, when it does, it’s a plot twist and a half! Showing that there’s still plenty of life left in the mystery/thriller genre, Hydra is another slice of Matt Wesolowski’s page-turning, original and genre-blending style and it’s a treat for anyone who loved his first book. Definitely deserving of wider readership, this is a dark and mysterious treat for fans of page-turning literary thrillers. Prepare to be engrossed – and while you’re at it, pick up Six Stories too and see how Scott King’s story really ends!’ The Shelf of Unread Books

 

Matt takes part in the BEST OF CRIME feature as part of the Hydra blog tour. Off the Shelf Books

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‘Once again Wesolowski delivers an engrossing read with a 21st century feel, and in the midst of this intriguing thriller, he takes a well-aimed shot at the more nefarious side of the world wide web. Hopefully this won’t be the last time he rolls out Scott King the investigative journalist, podcaster extraordinaire’ Cheryll M M Book blog 

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‘It was so well written and very intense at times, I was guessing what I could be the ending and it still took me by surprise. No hesitation in giving the book 5 stars – loved everything about it – fantastic way of telling the story,  the characters were superbly crafted, the pace was spot on and the whole thing creeped me out – but in a good way in fact I am still talking about the book now some three weeks after I read it – fantastic book to start off 2018 with!!’ Donna’s Book Blog

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‘This case is a bit different to Six Stories in that that one focused on a cold case, but this case had been solved and everyone knew that Arla had killed her family. But what nobody knew was why. So when Arla said that she would only speak to Scott King he was keen to see if he could find out what had happened on that fateful day and why. If I’m honest I preferred the story in Six Stories, but Hydra was still a cracking read that kept me guessing and thinking right the way to the end’ If only I could Read Faster

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‘This book will delve into your very soul, it will wrap its icy cold fingers around your heart and tear you away from every comfort you have ever known. Wrapped in a cloak of normal day to day behaviours it will prod and poke at your online activity, your attitudes to mental health and beyond. This novel is absolute genius and I cannot wait to see what Matt Wesolowski brings to us next’ Chapter in my Life

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Hydra is a crime fiction story, but there was an element of horror that I enjoyed. The “black eyed kids” were terrifying and the insights into Arla’s mind were disturbing. However, element of horror does not make the story unrealistic. Wesoloswki’s storytelling method is fresh and innovative in a genre that can sometimes seem repetitive and predictable. Hydra is a dark, creepy, and addictive read. Any lover of true crime podcasts and crime fiction should add Hydra to their crime fiction library’ Murder and Moore

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Hydra really is such an intriguing story posing the important question as to why would a young woman commit such a horrific crime … The writing style is direct and for me the podcast style really made the book even more addictive. I was relieved that I could read on to find out more details rather than having to wait for the next episode as I would have done if it was a real podcast. There were plenty of moments where I was completely engrossed in what I was reading and I felt as if I was truly caught up in Arla’s story. I can’t recommend this book enough especially if you are looking for something slightly different. Hydra is dark, gripping and so enthralling. It will entertain, make you think and leave you at times just that little bit unsettled!’ Rae Reads

 

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‘This book, however has the power to terrify where ever you read it. It is deeply unsettling. It was just before starting the book that I looked up ‘ black-eyed children’ on the internet. I had never heard of them before, and the one photograph that I saw stopped me looking closer. A brilliant and scary follow-up that I would love to see dramatised’ Steph’s Book Blog

 

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‘I was so intrigued with this book. I am definitely going back and reading six stories just as soon as I am actually done writing this post! I definitely think this is a five-star written book. One thing I absolutely must say that I love about the book is the character Scott King himself, I find him to be very kind and understanding and he doesn’t seem to care about the things that’s going on or happening to him as he’s uncovering the truth. If you have not picked up a copy of this book, you are not understanding what you are missing !!!’

Vanessa Turns Pages

 

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‘Matt Wesolowski is officially a genius. The way he crafts and weaves his stories is just, well….genius! I didn’t think you could get a better book than Six Stories and then out came Hydra and proved me very wrong … The story is fresh and full of surprises and I really enjoyed trying to discover the why of the horrendous crime that had occurred. Without gushing too much more, all I can say is go out and buy Six Stories and Hydra and read them immediately, you will not regret it!’ Life of a Nerdish Mum

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Hydra is an intriguing, disturbing and haunting read, I was locking doors and checking windows after every few pages. Each ‘story’ left me with more questions than answers, forcing to me read on to the next chapter, making more judgements and assumptions until the end! The only thing Im disappointed about is that I have to wait much longer for the next book! Please say there will be a third Matt??’ Thirty Pages In

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‘I really enjoyed Hydra and found it to be a story which had me gripped quickly as I was eager to read each episode of the podcast. As with Six Stories, I really enjoyed the structure and the plot itself which was well paced with plenty to keep the reader guessing. I hope this isn’t the last time we hear from Scott King!’ The Owl on the Bookshelf

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Hydra is that rare novel straddling two genres, in this case horror and crime, that will satisfy readers of both. There are moments of spine-tingling creepiness as Arla’s frightening and bleak psychology is examined, but it’s the underlying crime that drives the narrative. Presented as a true crime investigation in podcast form, the novel is entirely carved from dialogue: Scott King’s monologues and his guests’ interviews. The execution perfectly allows the reader to see and believe every event as the mystery develops. Hydra is as surprising as it is good, and should appeal to readers who enjoy crime with an eerie, dark vibe’ Mystery Scene

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‘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!’ A Knights Read

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Hydra is formatted to read like the transcripts of the interviews conducted by King, it’s an inventive and original approach (at least for me in books) that works really well creating an atmospheric and chilling read. I knew that I was reading a work of fiction but I often had the feeling that I was reading ‘real‘ transcripts and accounts and not a ‘story‘ adding an air of authenticity to Hydra. Wesolowski’s fresh style of writing and storytelling, the characters he creates who all have their own individual voices, the various accounts, the probing questions that King asks, the answers, his commentary on the answers, the information that he is given, the musings, his laying out of the knowledge, his putting together the pieces of the puzzle and the forming of the character profile of Arla all add to a tragic, occasionally unsettling yet ultimately fascinating read. I loved Hydra! It is clever, devilishly dark, mesmeric and oh so sinister’ The Tattooed Book Geek

Reviews