A family massacre. A deluded murderess. Five witnesses. Six stories. Which one is true?
One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father 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 witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a 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.
‘Bold, clever and genuinely chilling with a terrific twist that provides an explosive final punch’ Deidre O’Brien, Sunday Mirror
‘A genuine genre-bending debut’ Carla McKay, Daily Mail
'Impeccably crafted and gripping from start to finish’ Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue
‘The very epitome of a must-read’ Heat
‘Wonderfully horrifying … the suspense crackles’ James Oswald
‘A complex and subtle mystery, unfolding like a dark origami to reveal the black heart inside’ Michael Marshall Smith
‘A relentless and original work of modern rural noir which beguiles and unnerves in equal measure. Matt Wesolowski is a major talent’ Eva Dolan
‘Original, inventive and brilliantly clever’ Fiona Cummins
'Once again Matt Wesolowski has written a truly excellent literary mystery that is gripping from beginning to end’ Atticus Finch
In Wesolowski's effective sequel to 2017's Six Stories, Scott King, who hosts a weekly podcast, examines the case of Arla Macleod, who was convicted at 21 of bludgeoning her sister and her parents to death in their home in Stanwel, England, in 2014. King tells his listeners that he's "not here to make judgements, draw conclusions, or speculate. I'm here to allow you to do that." From interviews with Arla, who's been put in an institution for life, and with others who knew her, a picture emerges of a young woman fascinated by the dark music of Skexxixx and by odd and dangerous ritualistic games she learned from the internet such as the Korean Elevator to Another World. A family vacation to Cornwall in 2008 appears to have had a profound psychological impact on the troubled Arla. King's podcasts draw strangely personal warnings to desist, but he persists, provoking further tragedy. Through this unusual format, Wesolowski skillfully draws readers into a story of increasing depth and force.