Author: Thomas Olde Heuvelt and Translated by Nancy Forest-Flier
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Thriller
Published: April 26, 2016
Page Amount: 384 pages
Blurb From Goodreads: Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.
Why Read: I’ve been wanting to read this since practically I got my hands on the audio-version of Hex. Audible seems to be tailor-made for horror books, especially when driving up and down the east coast alone (mostly at night). While the description of a town’s paranoia gone to crazy lengths was intriguing, I have to admit my curiosity was originally piqued by the idea of a witch wandering around in present-day with her eyes and mouth sewn shut. If that doesn’t give you mild nightmares, I’m not sure what will.
Review: Listening to a book is an entirely different experience from reading it. Hex is no different. I’m not sure what I would have taken away from the story if I had it in my hands, but taken through my ears – I can tell you: the book is nothing if not creepy. As a translated book, that makes the novel all the more interesting to me. How did this author choose a Hudson Valley town as the spot for his little shop of horrors? Where did he get the idea of interposing the disturbing past and present day suburbia?
The set-up of the story is perhaps the most interesting part of the book. Families are forced to stay in Black Spring, so whatever horrors they awaken; it is they who are forced to bear the consequences. We switch POVs fairly constantly between Tyler, a young boy intent of exposing the Black Rock Witch, Steve, his father, and Robert Grimm, the head of HEX – the high tech surveillance that watches the witch’s patterns day-in and and day-out. Each character has their own struggles, and Heuvelt does an incredible job of revealing just enough of a plot to intrigue you before whisking you away to a completely different part of the story.
Frustrating? Yes. Worth it in the end? Entirely. There were parts where I absolutely wanted to flip pages to another chapter and find out what happened to Tyler (because I needed to know), only to have to fumingly wait for 20-50 minutes while another chapter led by Robert Grimm made itself known. Not that any character was lesser… we just all have our preferences, don’t we?
Plot-wise, the chapter switching between characters was used to great effect and while sometimes it felt as though the story wasn’t going at the breakneck speed that one can expect from spy thrillers – the speed often revealed things that came in handy later. So, it was a doable side-note.
All in all, the story was… good. Forgive me if I’m being a bit vague, the ending of Hex is disturbing enough that I’m still trying to wrap my head around some of the scene descriptions. *Shiver* I still recommend it though, just… just plan on having weird thoughts for a week or so.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars