Blog Tours · Reviews

BLOG TOUR! Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Hydra final jacket imageI am so excited to be part of today’s blog tour! If you’ve read my Best Books of 2017 post you’ll know that I was a big fan of Matt Wesolowski’s debut thriller, Six Stories. So when I was asked to be part of the blog tour for Matt’s second Six Stories novel, Hydra, my reaction was very much ‘where do I sign?!’

Told using the same podcast/interview format as Six Stories, Hydra is actually a prequel of sorts, set before the events of Six Stories and, as such, the two books can be read entirely independently of each other.

This time elusive investigative journalist Scott King is examining the case of Arla Macleod, a young woman who bludgeoned her mother, stepfather and younger sister to death with a hammer one cold November night in 2014. The events would become known as the Macleod Massacre and would lead to Arla being incarcerated in a medium-security mental-health institution for the remainder of her life. As he interviews five key witnesses to Arla’s life, and Arla herself, King becomes embroiled in a complex question: what made Arla do it and was her responsibility really as diminished as her legal team made out? Unpicking the tangled web of narrative and speculation, King is thrust into a world of dangerous internet games, online trolls and the mysterious black-eyed kids – which brings him to the attention of someone very dangerous indeed.

There’s always a worry when reading a second book that’s part of series you love – the difficult second novel is only a cliche because it happens so often following promising debuts. There’s definitely no reason for Six Stories fans to be worried though, Hydra more than lives up to it’s predecessor and is packed with the same page-turning quality that had Six Stories readers gripped from beginning to end.

Expertly plotted, this is a taut and atmospheric thriller that has the narrative compulsion of podcasts such as Serial. Each ‘episode’ builds the tension, pulling the threads that bind tangled Arla’s story together that little bit tighter each time before lobbing a plot grenade in right at the end of each chapter for that ‘can’t stop reading’ momentum. I genuinely couldn’t put this book down so don’t make the mistake of starting it late at night or you’ll be bleary-eyed for work in the morning (which definitely didn’t happen if you’re reading this boss)!

Set in a rundown northern town, there’s an ominous atmosphere that lends definite horror element to proceedings and will send a shiver up your spine at times. Yes, this is a thriller but, as with Six Stories, there’s a hint of something nasty in the woodshed hiding just around the corner. The sinister black-eyed kids and the dark world of supernatural internet games lends a spooky undertone to a twisted tale of real-world failings, a miserable home life, social disconnection, teenage rebellion,friendships gone wrong, internet trolls; all of which contribute to the tragic events of the Macleod Massacre.

And the ending? Oh the ending! As with all the best thrillers, you’ll need to wait until the very last page for the true story to unfold and, when it does, it’s a plot twist and a half!

Showing that there’s still plenty of life left in the mystery/thriller genre, Hydra is another slice of Matt Wesolowski’s page-turning, original and genre-blending style and it’s a treat for anyone who loved his first book. Definitely deserving of wider readership, this is a dark and mysterious treat for fans of page-turning literary thrillers. Prepare to be engrossed – and while you’re at it, pick up Six Stories too and see how Scott King’s story really ends!

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski is published by Orenda Books and is available now from all good bookshops. My thanks go to the publisher for providing an advance copy in return for an honest and unbiased review and to Anne Cater for arranging the blog tour. Check out the rest of the stops!


Hydra blog poster 2018 FINAL





Festive · Readathons

Christmas #CosyReadingNight TBR

The lovely Lauren over at Lauren and the Books is hosting another Cosy Reading Night on Wednesday (20 December) – just in time for Christmas! You can watch Lauren’s announcement video over on her channel here. As with her previous Cosy Reading Nights, it kicks off at 7pm UK time and runs until 10pm and the aim is simply to enjoy an evening snuggled up in your PJs with some favourite snacks and a good book or two by your side.

So what are my plans for the evening? Well, I’ll be catering for one as the long-suffering husband is out at his work Christmas meal that evening. I’m going to keep it simple for dinner with a mushroom risotto – a meal that I love to cook (as well as to eat). Plus it requires white wine to make which, conveniently, leaves a glass or two left over for sipping with my book! Snacks are also sorted – my current reading snack of choice is a Thornton’s Caramel Cheesecake Block, one of which I just so happen to have in an unopened ready for a special occasion. I’m generally not too nibbly of an evening but, because it’s Christmas, I might treat myself to some dry roasted peanuts to graze on as well. Plus tea, of course. There will always be tea.

32861730And as for the books? I’m currently reading Another Little Christmas Murder by Lorna Nicholl Morgan, a reissue of a 1947 crime novel which takes place in the suitably festive-sounding manor house of Wintery Wold. At three chapters in I’ve been pleased to find all the festive golden age tropes present and correct: a snowbound manor house in a desolate location, a collection of mismatched guests with secrets to hide and, of course, a murderer in their midst. I’m not expecting the book to reinvent the wheel but, for what it is, I’m enjoying it and it has ‘cosy winter reading’ written all over it – perfect for Cosy Reading Night.

Hydra final jacket imageI’ve also received an exciting piece of book post today – an advance copy of Hydra by Matt Wesolowski, kindly sent by Orenda Books in advance of the blog tour I’m taking part in in January. I absolutely loved Matt’s first thriller, Six Stories, which I read earlier this year, so I’m itching to get started on Hydra straight away. Told in a Serial like format, the novel follows six episodes of a podcast looking into the Macleod Massacre, the horrific murder of her family that was apparently carried out by 21-year-old Arla Macleod. The book’s been calling to me since it arrived in the post this morning so I imagine I will be reading that too at some point during the evening!

I’m really looking forward to having a night snuggled up on the sofa amidst all the preparing for Christmas craziness going on at the moment. If you’re joining in with #cosyreadingnight, come say hi over on Twitter throughout the evening and let me know what you’re reading. All being well, I’ll be posting a short wrap up of the evening before Christmas. Keep an eye on Lauren’s channel for her Cosy Reading Night videos and, if you’re taking part, have a great night! x