I'm so excited to share my review of Hydra today as part of the blog tour. It's written with thanks to Anne Cater for giving me the opportunity to participate in the blog tour, and Orenda Books for my copy of the book.
One night, in November 2014, Arla Macleod attacked and killed her family with a hammer. She was sentenced to life in a medium security mental health institution, with her lawyers claiming she had diminished responsibility at the time of the attack. Now, Scott King has been given the opportunity to speak with Arla, and others connected with the case. As he tries to uncover the truth of what happened that night, he is plunged into an unfamiliar world of dark online games and online trolls. Will he find out what really happened?
Hydra is told from the perspective of six different people connected to Arla's life, including Arla herself. It is written in the form of a transcript, as King puts together the information from the interviews he has conducted to create six episodes of his podcast. Whilst this format is unusual, and it took me some time to gain familiarity with it, I appreciated that Wesolowski gives each person a unique voice, often written in the character's dialect, and this made me feel as though I was listening to the podcast myself, drawing me in to a horrifyingly dark and disturbing case.
Throughout the podcast, King speculates on Arla's mental health and how this contributed to the verdict of diminished responsibility. I found this element of the novel fascinating, and I am in awe at the sheer volume of research Wesolowski must have undertaken to ensure that his portrayal of Arla is realistic. It is difficult to sympathise with a character who has bludgeoned their whole family to death, but somehow I did, and I found Arla to be an incredibly compelling character.
The plot of Hydra is very cleverly constructed. With each chapter (which represented an episode of the podcast) I felt I was getting closer to the truth, only to have my theories about what had happened smashed to smithereens in the next chapter. When I thought there could not be any more twists, another twist came, and when I did reach the end, I had to drag my jaw from the floor.
Hydra is slightly unconventional, and at times, Wesolowski takes you to some very dark places, but the journey on which you embark when you start reading is one that is well worth taking!
You can purchase Hydra from Amazon.
Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour!