About The Book
Last year I reviewed a book called Six Stories by fellow Geordie, Matt Wesolowski. I adored Six Stories, it was inventive, clever and I was blown away by how good it was, so much so that it took the number 3 spot in my Top 5 Books of 2017 Countdown. When I saw that Matt Wesolowski had a second book on the way, Hydra, I knew I had to read it. Following the same style as Six Stories, Hydra is written as if it is a podcast hosted by investigative journalist, Scott King and it follows his search for the truth via interviews with six people who are linked to the case in some way. Set in the north-west of England in a fictional run-down mining town, Hydra examines teenage angst, mental health and the pressure to conform with a large dollop of suspense and intrigue.
The podcast style is a very different narrative structure, yes, we have the constant narrative voice of Scott King but we also have six other characters whose viewpoints are told solely via dialogue. Descriptions of people, places, feelings and emotions are told to us through the eyes of the interviewees in each instalment and this is something which could be clunky or awkward in less competent hands. Through clever use of language and accents we are able to immediately connect with 6 different characters within a few sentences. In fact, the voices are so clear that I could actually hear them in my head at times. Through them we learn about Arla, her family and the difficulties she faced both at home and at school and what led up to the night of the massacre.
There is an abundance of atmosphere and wonderful sense of place that is created through the podcast episodes. The tension was slowly ramped up to create genuinely terrifying moments that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. The mystery of what really happened that night and the events that led up to it are gradually unfolded to reach its horrifying conclusion.
Wesolowski has tackled some very brave subject matters in Hydra and I really admire that he does not shy away from these issues. Through Arla and her story we learn about the trials and tribulations of being a teenager who doesn’t fit the mould. The music Arla listens to and the clothes that she wears make her stand out for being different and we see the impact that this has upon her. 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.
About The 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.
I am thrilled to be one of today’s stops for the Blog Tour for Hydra many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for a copy of the book in return for an honest review. You can find both Matt Wesolowski and Orenda Books on Twitter at @conceretekracken and @OrendaBooks respectively. Hydra is out now on ebook and published in paperback on the 15th January and can be pre-ordered here. Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour, details are beneath!