Author: Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Themes: Horror, Mystery, Crime
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Rating: 5/5 *****
Since I was about twelve, I’ve been a fan of horror films. I used to stay up late, when everyone else had long gone to bed, and I’d watch whatever I could find on that night. Horror in book-form, however, hasn’t always interested me. Usually horror books are somewhat cliché, same story, different characters. I usually sway towards a gothic novel rather than pure horror. Despite this, when I saw ‘HEX’, I was really driven to read it. I do love a good witch tale, and ‘HEX’ definitely fulfils that quota.
It’s 2012 in the small town of Black Spring, and to an outsider, it seems like any other well-functioning area of the USA. But if you were to really pay attention to your surroundings, you might notice something not quite of this era creeping about. You may just see a 17th century woman wondering around. Her eyes and mouth are sewn shut, and she wears a dirty old dress and apron. She walks the streets of Black Spring, day and night, entering homes, lurking in the dark corner of your bedroom, you might even hear her whispering her words of corruption if you dare to get close enough. She is known in the town as the Black Rock Witch.
“The Black Rock Witch came closer and closer on her bare, gray feet. Her nails were a morbid yellow, long and curved at the tips. The iron chains clanked around her gaunt body.”
It has become completely normal for the townsfolk to see her around town. They have accepted her, and have no choice but to live with her presence. Her movements are monitored by social-media and cameras around town, just in case someone decides to challenge the town rules. Don’t talk to the witch. Don’t touch the witch. But above all, don’t open her eyes.
From page one, ‘HEX’ is a fantastic horror read. It is a fresh story that I haven’t seen the likes of on screen or in print before. Thomas Olde Heuvelt is an outstanding writer, this is his worldwide debut. He originally penned ‘HEX’ in Dutch, and then when he was presented with the opportunity to republish the story in English, Heuvelt decided to change a few things, so the English version has a different ending to the Dutch novel! ‘HEX’ is already being developed into a TV series, which I will definitely be watching, but for now I’m off to find out all I can about the ending of the Dutch version…
If you’ve read ‘HEX’, I’d love to know what you thought! Happy reading!