Author: Matt Wesolowski
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publishing Date: 15 January 2018
“I heard them at lunchtime, over the sound of the radio.
They followed me here. After everything that’s happened, they followed me here…I don’t know what they want.”
Hydra is not your usual crime thriller. It’s not a whodunnit but a why-did-she-do-it. We already know the murderer. The reader knows that on the night of 21st November 2014, twenty-one years old Arla Macleod murdered her step-father, mother and younger sister at their family home in Stanwel, northwest England. Arla has been detained in Elmtree Manor, a medium security mental health institution, on the grounds of diminished responsibility. What we don’t know is why she killed them.
The plot of Hydra is structured around the six-part podcast like the one in Six Stories. Scott King, the journalist who hosts this podcast, looks into cold cases from six viewpoints which are the six episodes of the podcast. In Hydra, King’s central focus is the ‘whys’ behind Arla’s massacre of her family. King attempts to discover the reasons which lead her to commit this brutal crime. He does this via conversations and interviews with Arla and people who knew her, along with methodical research and sometimes even speculation. The reader is also privy to audio recordings which Arla makes for her therapist. They are similar to diary entries and provide some insight into her thinking and feelings.