Book Review: Hydra

HYDRA | Matt Wesolowski
01.15.2018 | Orenda Books
Rating: 5/5 stars


In the late night hours of a November in 2014 Arla Macleod bludgeoned her sister, mother, and stepfather to death with a hammer. The night will forever be remembered for the “Macleod Massacre”. Arla was sentenced to live out the rest of her days in a medium-security mental health institution where her condition is managed through medication and isolation.

The latest case to hit the Six Stories podcast is the Macleod Massacre and for the first time Arla will speak out about what happened. Host, Scott King, finds himself delving into a much more intricate case than it appears on the surface. King will interview five additional witnesses, all with a side to the story to tell. With each interview new information about Arla, her life, and her possible motivations will be revealed. On the hunt to the truth, King will find himself learning about deadly online games, Black-Eyed Children, and internet trolls. Can he find the truth amongst the madness?

Don’t let them in, no matter what they say, no matter how much they beg. Whatever you do, don’t let them in…

Matt Wesolowski blew my mind with SIX STORIES and is back again with another intoxicating story in HYDRA. Right from the start, Wesolowski draws the reader into the world of Arla Macleod. The first episode in this podcast gives us a direct look into her current mental state and what she believes happened on the night she murdered her family. On the surface this should be all there is to the story, but through the use of the Six Stories podcast the reader continues to learn about Arla’s life and the events that lead up to her murderous decision. I absolutely love the method of writing a crime fiction novel utilizing a podcast setting and can think of no author who does it better than Wesolowski.

Throughout HYDRA we are introduced to a new side of the story as each chapter or “episode” is Scott King’s conversation with a new person connected to Arla. One of the things I love so much about Wesolowski’s writing is trying to guess who might be King’s next guest. I truly love the originality in who he picks and the devotion he has to a true crime journalism stance for King. Wesolowski makes these fictional stories feel almost as if they could be real with the way everything flows exactly how you would expect a true crime podcast to investigate something like the Macleod Massacre.

I guess that some fears don’t leave you, not properly. Some fears leave, like, teeth marks that will never fade.

HYDRA is a quick, engaging, and entirely unsettling read. I was captivated and creeped out throughout the whole book. Up until the very end I was puzzled with who was behind certain events. What an ending Wesolowski delivers! I loved the way everything became so interconnected and yet remained believable. Truly brilliant!


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