Orenda Books November 2017
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 instituition, 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 witnessed and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was as dimished 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.
Six Stories (reviewed here) was one of my favourite books of last year, so not surprisingly Hydra was a highly anticipated read for me. In true bookworm fashion I bought the book soon after it was published and then placed it on my shelf where it remained until recently.
Safe to say I love the original format of this series. For those who don’t know, both Six Stories and Hydra are written in the style of six part podcasts hosted by Scott King, who features historical crimes on his channel, speaking to those involved or with some knowledge and insight into the events related to the crime.
The blurb tells you everything you need to know about the storyline. All I can add is that this is a story with a gripping plot, capitalising on urban myths and ‘ghost’ stories, the notion of other worlds and gateways – all of which I loved and made for a mightily sinister read.
Written in six chapters – 1 for each podcast episode and dedicated to 1 interviewee per episode. The writing is in the 1st person account in the style of an interviewer / interviewee format as the subject gave their account of what they knew in relation to the Macleod Massacre. With Scott King prompting with questions and summarising, this really does work incredibly well and makes for an engaging read. The podcasts, while detailing the massacre also explored the family background, Arla’s schooling and significant events, in this way providing a well rounded piece of fiction.
Scott King reviews facts, seeks opinions and revisits events. This is crime fiction but far removed from the traditional police investigation or ‘cat and mouse’ pursuit. And it’s brilliant, original , refreshing and contemporary with a sound plot and superb writing style. What more could you want? Recommended by me!
Thanks as always for reading!