A Year of Orenda – Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Today Mandie shares her thoughts on Hydra by Matt Wesolowski as part of our Year of Orenda Books and her #FiftyforFifty challenge. Book two in the #SixStories series, this is one of my favourites, and if you want to know what I thought, you can find my review here. But just what does Mandie think? Well read on to find out:

Source: Amazon

About the Book

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 north west of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father 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 witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a 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.

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books

Mandie’s Thoughts

So, after listening to Six Stories whilst walking round my local woods, its perfectly normal to read Hydra in the dark right? Well considering the story it certainly added to the atmosphere of it for me anyway. I absolutely loved the first instalment to this series, so I had been looking forward to reading Hydra, especially after several people telling me that it was brilliant. I can honestly say that I have to agree with them. I am loving the podcast format of these books even though they were partly responsible for me reading late into the night as I kept telling myself that I just needed to get to the end of the podcast I was reading before I would call it a night just in case I missed anything.

This story is a little bit different… We know the who and the how, what the reader is left to try to uncover is they why. Arla MacLeod doesn’t deny that she killed her whole family, but she has never really been able to explain why. By talking to Arla herself and five other people who had been involved in her life Scott King hoped to give his listeners the opportunity to decide for themselves why she committed such a horrible crime.

Everyone seems to have something to hide and you get the distinct feeling that there is more to events in the past than they are saying, and someone clearly doesn’t want the case brought back into the spotlight. The question is why?

Hydra is creepy. There is no other way to describe it. Arla clearly has some issues that had previously gone undiagnosed as it was easier to just put her down as being difficult than try to help her, but this is only half the story. There is definitely something more sinister going on as well, but you will have to read to the end of the book to find out just what that is, and boy that ending was definitely not what I expected but I really loved that it was not in any way predictable.

Matt Wesolowski has certainly produced an amazing book and the format of his books are pure genius. Once again you have myths and urban legends weaving their way into the story and I have to say I am more that a little bit creeped out by the “black eyed kids”.

Although this is the follow up to Six Stories it can easily be read as a stand-alone but, if you ask me, you would be mad not to read them both. I am really looking forward to the next instalment Changeling, which as I am so far behind is already out and next on my reading list.

About the Author

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care.

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015. His subsequent debut crime novel ‘Six Stories’ was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2016 with follow-up ‘Hydra’ published in the winter of 2017 and ‘Changeling’ in 2018.

‘Six Stories’ has been optioned by a major Hollywood studio and the third book in the series, ‘Changeling’ was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, 2019 Amazon Publishing Readers’ Award for Best Thriller and Best Independent Voice.

Author Links: Twitter | Instagram

The Six Stories Series:

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