In November 2014 Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and sister to death with a hammer. 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.
It is so hard to put into words how clever and good this book is. I still need to get round to reading Six Stories, I can see it sitting there on my shelf, glaring at me, but now that I’ve read Hydra I’ll be bumping it right up to the top of my reading pile. I loved the idea of presenting a story through a series of podcasts which is what makes this novel, utterly unique. We hear from six different perspectives in this book, and the author has managed to give each character their own unique voice, it certainly didn’t feel like an interview as I was reading. And, oh my gosh, those black-eyed children. I read a few reviews prior to reading this book where it mentions how frightening they are and they genuinely did give me the creeps. I was tempted to research them as I was reading this book, but I have to admit I was too frightened to do so. Even now I can picture them inside my head, and they still make me shiver.
The case which our presenter examines in Hydra is a disturbing one. In 2014, Arla Macleod bludgeoned her family to death. Arla has since been sectioned, and even though there is no doubt that she killed her family, Scott still wants to examine her life and try to answer the question of why she did what she did. Why did she take it upon herself to kill her family? What was at the very root of the bloodshed? Scott speaks to five people who knew Arla from various times in her childhood and in her teenage years. Unsettling details about Arla’s past emerge out of the hat, and perhaps Scott gets closer to understanding what prompted her to commit such a heinous act. But someone is desperate to stop him from uncovering the truth and soon he finds that he is risking everything that he has worked for, to get to the truth.
The presenter, Scott King, delves into the heart of the Arla Macleod mystery as he examines the case in fresh ways, each episode, looking at it with a new perspective each time. What I found really interesting about this book was the paranormal aspect to the story, as I mentioned earlier the book frightened me so much that I couldn’t even bring myself to research what the author was writing about. You know that a book is good when it has this effect on you. I would suggest reading this book in the daytime and not just before you go to sleep. This book will thrill crime and horror fans.
What I was also intrigued by was how my opinion of Arla changed as the book progressed, she was an absolutely fascinating character to learn about as we take a look at her past life (through people who knew her) and how she is in the present. I’m not going to say anything about the plot here as I don’t want to spoil it but I did not see that final reveal coming. Absolutely brilliant!
This is a really exceptional book. I, for one, am excited to see what Matt will come up with next and I’ll be getting round to reading Six Stories very soon. Creepy, and so so good, I think I’ll be thinking and talking about this book for a long time. Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review and Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
Publication date: 15th January 2018
Print length: 320 pages
If you would like to purchase Hydra, you can do so by clicking on the following links below.
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