A dark and intense follow up to the Six Stories series!
Hydra by Matt Wesolowski
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.
After reading book 1 in the Six Stories series and absolutely adoring it (you can check out my review here), I just had to go read the rest of them and Hydra was equally as incredible!
For starters Hydra is so much darker than book 1. Here we have Arla who brutally murdered her family in a horrific attack that she does not deny doing. The focus of the podcast isn’t about proving if she did it, it’s trying to figure out why.
As with book 1, this one is identical in format. We have voice recordings from Arla as she discusses her time in the mental health institution and the rest is broken down into ‘episodes’ as different characters are interviewed to voice their opinions on Arla.
From the moment it begins you can already sense that Arla is troubled and her voice recordings detail her seeing and hearing things which get creepier as the book moves on.
I would say it didn’t feel as fast paced as the first book, I think this was due to already knowing who had done the murder, instead this story slowly unpicks everything. Each of the stories may not reveal anything major but I don’t think this was needed. I liked the subtleness of it and it definitely made you question what was real or not, similar to how Arla must have been feeling.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Six Stories book if it didn’t have an epic ending and despite only dropping small hints throughout so the reader kind of understands what happened to Arla, the ending wraps it all up and was definitely a jaw dropper for me!
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