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Summary

Whoever is born here is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay never leaves.

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. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she's there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.

The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.

©2016 Thomas Olde Heuvelt (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton

What listeners say about HEX

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant new concept

Excellent fresh new take on a horror novel involving a witches curse.
At the very beginning I wasn't sure what was going on as you are kind of dropped into the story without any background information and I was kind of confused (you will understand when you listen) but I'm glad I stuck with it as I was rewarded greatly.
It was a real rollercoaster of a novel, extremely scary at times, also funny and in places very moving, it was difficult not to feel for the main characters.
The narrated did a wonderful job at telling this tale, and I applaud such a terrific audiobook.

4 people found this helpful

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Just brilliantly creepy

Listened to this twice, properly spooky and genuinely new, while being grounded in the tradition of witch stories of old... Recommended

4 people found this helpful

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A pretty scary witch story

If you could sum up HEX in three words, what would they be?

Original and pretty scary.

What other book might you compare HEX to, and why?

There are elements of a particular Stephen King book within but that would give too much of a spoiler. The author though takes that story in a different direction to the Stephen King book, so it's not a copy!

What does Jeff Harding bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Jeff Harding is a superb narrator. Some reviewers say his voice isn't the easiest but I loved it. He does various voices well and has an echo conversation down the telephone technique that made me sit up and take notice about half way through.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Stephen King recommended book.

Any additional comments?

Overall the book is a great concept and pretty scary. The first half is sensational, the finish not as good as the first part had me expecting. I think this is an author to watch out for more from.

2 people found this helpful

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An odd book.

I didn't love this story.

It did have potential and the performance was ok - interesting voice.

The story tried to make the extraordinary ordinary in a small town. But it didn't work for me. I couldn't suspend belief enough to make this enjoyable.

It's translated and that sometimes seemed to give it a strange cadence. But this changed and the changes jarred with me.

It reminded me of Wayward Pines. And they did it better.

Wanted to like this and didn't.

2 people found this helpful

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Full of originality and a tense atmosphere

I have to say that I was kept hooked throughout in this very eerie nightmarish tale. It took a few chapters to get into it but once there I was enthralled. It started out almost like a black comedy with the author's humorous narrative driving the story. It was not told from one character's point of view which enriched the story and as it builds up to a really horrible climax, I just could not stop listening. This is a really creepy tale for those who love horror, a real scared fest in traditional sense.

1 person found this helpful

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Wow - creepy !

What a clever story . Well narrated . I Really enjoyed it will look out for this author again.

1 person found this helpful

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great book would recommend

Would make a terrifying film.......Don't listen at bedtime !!!!!!!
a little bit like wayward pines but still fantastic.

1 person found this helpful

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Outstanding listen.

What a revelation this audio book was to listen too! A brilliantly told and narrated story that had me thinking about it even when I wasn't listening!

Top stuff indeed.

2 people found this helpful

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Whispering Katherine

This was a weird wee tale. A small town has a witch from olden times still present in its houses and surrounding woods. Despite the fact this would scare the pants off me, the townsfolk have decided to live alongside her as long as neither upsets the other.

Of course things never run that smoothly and the witch starts wrecking the joint, nae luck!

5 people found this helpful

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I've Pre-Ordered His Next Book

As someone who lives under the delusion that they are a writer there’s one thing I hate above all else. Something that sets me sitting into the small hours contemplating my own inadequacies and wakes me when I finally sleep to unsettled thoughts.

This thing is relentless and horrifying, marking each of my shortcomings in Day-Glo highlighters surrounded by mocking images.

That thing is - I shudder to say - a novel as entertaining and thoroughly likable as Thomas Olde Heuvelt's HEX. My only salvation might be to find that this hated man might be secretly a person who kicks puppy’s and shouts at tiny babies.

But I hold out little hope.

HEX harkens back to the books I read when I was a teenager, when horror became a major force in mainstream literature, back when names like Stephen King where only for the initiated. In this far off time there was a spark of originality in horror literature that seems to have taken a back seat. Not that we have not had some fine books in recent years, not that it has been a desert of originality, but the spark that made these early writers so memorable has not fared well. It has not even fared so well for many of the writers we have known and loved since that time.

Black Spring is a small mid-western American town, and like many small towns, the world over, it has its legends. Black Spring's is of The Black Rock Witch, a legend born in 1665 when Katherine Van Wyler - pronounced a witch - was punished by the town.

Unlike most local legends the residents of Black Spring know there is more to the tale than most, they have evidence of this story. Evidence that walks the town, bound in chains with eyes and mouth stitched closed. Black Spring's truth is there for anyone to see, and so was born HEX, an organisation built around hiding the Black Rock Witch from outsiders, and maintaining an uneasy truce with the terrifying character.

HEX holds, by necessity, a high level of social control over the town. All internet is screened and people are hired to check emails and letters for references to the witch. Across the town are hundreds of cameras, and people are encouraged to monitor the witch’s actions as she roams, seemingly without purpose, across the town.

But such control is always tenuous, and there are always some who will push against it, those who write secret blogs and gather evidence, and still others who see the witch as something to eliminate, while others try to bid for her favours.

The quiet town of Black Spring has its walking legend, a cadaverous horror bound in chains, but there are other horrors that lurk. Some horrors hidden by technology while others are old fashioned superstition, and sooner or later, one of them will bear its fangs and bite.

On the surface HEX is about old fears and the ever present horror presented by those human desires we all know all too well, but underneath there is so much more going on.

There is much said about the warring concepts of freedom and safety, the very real conflict that is far more reaching that many might believe. HEX was created as a necessary evil, a barrier against what is believed to be a far greater evil, but what it eliminated was choice, and this begs the question whether the one is worth the other.

In some ways HEX echoes a very different book in this respect, Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, in its discussion on this topic.

It could also be said that HEX is about how far a society can go to evade its rightful justice. Black Spring wrongs the woman, and Black Spring evades its rightful judgement and its tactics become more desperate as time moves on. After all, if you believe you are battling evil, pure evil, then are you not justified in terrible and unmerciful actions to hold that evil at bay?

Hex is also about bigotry. Katherine was condemned by such bigotry and as she wandered the town in her horrific state, a state forced upon her by the punishment of the town, a state that was in no way her own doing. Her frightening countenance built a growing revulsion in the town’s residents, strengthening their bigotry against her, making them increasingly certain of their position against her.

But what did they know?

Did they know the towns tales about the woman were true?

Did they know they are secure in their belief that she had gotten no less than she deserved?

Thomas Olde Heuvelt's HEX is not a single book, on its surface it is a book about old evils and an age-old battle against them, it is about our own desires and the mind of the mob. Underneath it is about far more, and is all too easy to place the small town filled with horror and sickness over the world in which we live. I see lessons HEX attempts to teach in modern politics and social issues that stretch the length and breadth of the world in which we live.

One thing is true, regardless of which book you encounter.

It will scare you, whether the fear is of Katherine or for her, the ideas floating around in HEX will stay with you, and you’ll be thinking of them until the release of the authors next book.

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  • Francesco
  • 04-06-18

Just not very good.

The premise is sort interesting but I found it really hard to care. This may be in part due to the narration which is is fine 80% of the time but terrible when doing smaller speaking parts particularly on unsympathetic characters. Also characters are so shallowly depicted that all their implied relationships feel hollow. Couldn’t be bothered finishing it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gaynor
  • 19-06-17

Whoaaa .... and then some!!

I read this bone chilling story after S King highly recommended it. You should stop what you are doing. Read. This. Book.