#BlogTour | #BookReview: Hydra by Matt Wesolowski (@ConcreteKraken) @OrendaBooks

Hydra LATEST COVER .jpg“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.”

It is my pleasure to welcome you to my stop on the Hydra blog tour which I share with one of my very favourite bookish people, the incredible Liz over at Liz Loves Books.  If you haven’t discovered Liz’s blog yet then you must!  Hydra is the second book from the pen of author Matt Wesolowski to be published by Orenda Books.  Wesolowski’s Orenda debut, Six Stories, absolutely blew my mind last year and took it’s place proudly on my top ten (*mumble, mumble* may have been twelve) books of the year.  If you need a reminder, or if you missed my review the first time then please click HERE.  I think it’s fair to say I LOVED Six Stories.

So I was strangely apprehensive (and of course, excited!) starting Hydra.  I knew before turning the first page that the story was in a similar vein to Six Stories.  If you haven’t experienced the incredible Six Stories (you really should get yourself a copy) then let me explain.  Six Stories is a series of podcasts hosted by Scott King.  King rakes over cold cases – not to necessarily solve the mystery but to encourage new discussion and debate.  King provides his listeners with the details of a particular case but from six different standpoints.  Six different viewpoints all bringing that little bit of extra information to the front, fleshing it out for his listeners.

The focus of King’s latest investigation is the Macleod Massacre of 2014.  If there’s one way for a book to get its hook into me then that is to mention a blood-soaked spree.  I know, I’m strange.  But I’ve never shied away from the fact that I like blood, guts and gore in my books.  The reader gets so much more than that though (and it really isn’t all that gory, I promise).  This is not a book about solving a murder case – we know ‘whodunnit’ and it was Arla Macleod – it’s all about the WHY.  Why did Arla kill her family that day?  Why did she change so dramatically?  What was the cause?  And if like me, you don’t see the incredibly clever twist coming then I can guarantee it will be a revelation.  Wow!

If there is one thing Wesolowski excels at, it’s giving his reader chills.  Hydra, like its predecessor, did an excellent job of making me feel nervous and apprehensive.  The author is a master at creating a scene and dropping you slap, bang right in the action.  You live the moment with the characters which for me added extra eerieness and I was completely absorbed in the moment.  Nothing else mattered.  Incredibly atmospheric, perfectly eerie, I absolutely loved Hydra.

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely, without a doubt.  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.

An easy five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Hydra.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th January 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Matt W Picture 1 (1).jpgMatt Wesolowski is from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature Feature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. 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, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio.

Author Links:Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (@ConcreteKraken) @OrendaBooks

SIX STORIES BF AW.indd“1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby. 2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame … As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.

A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Six Stories blog tour which I share with the lovely Inge over at The Belgian Reviewer.  I am absolutely delighted because I CANNOT wait to talk to you about this book!  To say I’m a fan is a bit of an understatement. Now, Matt Wesolowski is a new author to me but I heard about this book towards the end of last year and instantly knew that I had to read it.  Matt’s background is predominantly in the horror genre so I knew this was going to be something special and by golly, it certainly was!

I can’t remember the last time I read a book that chilled me to the core.  I couldn’t, but I can now.  Six Stories took me to the edge and I absolutely flipping loved it.  I even felt the need to tweet about this book and see how others were finding it:

Ah, that need to discuss a book you’re loving.  I don’t think I’ve done that before.  I was thrilled to see a good number of replies from fellow bloggers and reviewers all saying how utterly absorbing and chilling they found this book.

I can’t begin to explain what it is about Six Stories that makes it such a sublime read (but I’m going to give it a go anyway!).  First off Matt Wesolowski is a master of unease.  He creates it and shapes it beautifully.  Normal, everyday people going about normal, everyday things…only for something completely unexpected to be added to the mix, something shocking.  You never know whether it’s safe to start breathing normally again or whether you should be bracing yourself for the next unexpected twist.  It’s almost impossible to know what to believe.  The evidence is all laid out before you, so that should be it right? Believe what you want to believe, I can’t tell you what’s right and what’s….well, read Six Stories for yourself and experience the book.  You won’t regret it.

I absolutely loved the format of this book which is completely different to anything else I have read of late.  The ‘witness’ podcasts are fascinating and incredibly easy to read which meant I stormed through this book, despite wanting to make each minute count.  I loved the conversational style of the podcasts and was looking for new clues in each statement.  I’m not sure I found any but I was certainly looking.  In between the podcast chapters are chapters relating to the experience and emotions of Harry Saint Clement-Ramsay who found the decaying corpse of Tom Jeffries one year after his disappearance.  Some chapters are in the past and explain why he and his upper class pals were out roaming Scarclaw Fell in the dead of night with dogs and lamps.  Others are in the present and detail Harry’s thoughts and feelings since the initial broadcast of the first podcast.  I felt these chapters really added to the story and were necessary – giving that extra vital background information.

I felt truly scared at points and heartily commend Matt Wesolowski for his use of tension.  The plot doesn’t really slow at any point and keeps you teetering on the edge.  I couldn’t get enough of this book and I can guarantee that I will read it again in the future (one of those rare books that gets a second read!).  Well, that’s if I can forget about Nanna Wrack in the meantime.  Creepiness at it’s very best!

Would I recommend this book?  Six Stories is my current favourite read of the year so far and it’s going to take an awful lot to knock it from it’s top spot.  It’s so different, so utterly unique that it deserves to be read by all crime thriller fans (and horror fans too!).  You’ll be missing out if you don’t pre-order this book today.  Go on, you know you want to.  Otherwise Nanna Wrack may pay you a visit….

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Six Stories.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th March 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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image001 (1)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 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.

Author Links:Orenda Books | Twitter | Facebook |