View Gallery

Hydra

Published Date: 7th August 2017

Available in

$0

EBook
9781910633984
£5.99
15 January 2018
Paperback
9781910633977
£8.99
15 January 2018
Audiobook
Coming soon

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.

.

‘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

Author

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. 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. 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.

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

 

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

.

‘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

.

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

.

‘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

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

.

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

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

 

.

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

.

 

‘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

.

 

‘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

 

.

‘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

 

.

‘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

.

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

.

‘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

.

 

‘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

 

.

‘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

.

 

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

.

 

‘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

.

‘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

.

‘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

.

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

 

.

‘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

 

.

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

.

Reviews