Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Posted On 2 May 2016

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26802679Hex is a unique story about a witch who haunts the inhabitants of a small town.  It’s a creepy tale that stays with you after you finish reading and gives you plenty of food for thought – but probably in a way that you really wouldn’t suspect.

Katherine van Wyler was sentenced to death for witchcraft by the towns people of Black Springs in the year 1664.  Unfortunately for the people of Black Springs Katherine took her death sentence rather badly and ever since has haunted the towns people who are now, effectively, cursed!
I think Hex probably has one of the most unusual concepts for a creepy tale that I’ve ever come across.  A witch, who haunts a town and literally walks the streets or shows up in people’s houses.  What makes this worse is that Katherine has her eyes and mouth sewn shut and is wrapped with chains.  Her appearance is usually preceded by the smell of rot and dirty water and if the inhabitants listen closely enough they can hear Katherine whispering quietly a string of vitriol that can cause madness and worse in any that overhear her words.  Add to this the fact that most people have become almost immune to the sight of Katherine and in some, far from causing fear she has almost become a figure to ridicule or taunt.
Now, I must confess that this isn’t a horror story!  It’s not a slasher or blood filled fest.  It’s a book that is progressively creepy.  It lulls you into a false sense of security by showing you a town full of people who have come to terms with their own sentence.  And, make no mistake, living in Black Springs is a sentence.  Once you move there you can’t leave – I won’t go into the reasons why but trust me on this – there are no physical barriers but everyone knows that escape isn’t an option.  This is the beauty of this book – it’s like a work of stealth!  You’re reading along oblivious to the fact that you’re about to be hit by something strange and dark and more than that something that will shock you and keep you reading even if you want to stop.
So, to the town – Black Springs appears to be an average and picturesque place.  The inhabitants have had a long time to come to term with it’s resident ghost and are now experts at keeping everything under wraps (or tea towels for that matter!)  The odd thing is that nobody really knows the true story surrounding Katherine but everybody knows that if something goes goes wrong and upsets the equilibrium then the whole town could fall victim.  This is such a clever concept – everyone is dependent on everyone else and it really only takes one weak link for the whole thing to fall apart and spiral into chaos.  In turn it gives Black Springs an olde world feel – the people there live their life with fear and superstition.  They don’t always trust each other and can in fact point the finger of blame without a second thought.  Almost like a witch hunt all over again.
Of course, the last time that anything scary happened in town was so long ago that most of the residents have forgotten and although some still remain vigilant the younger members of the population are starting to resent the restrictions placed on them.  They want a regular life, they want to take pictures and tweet them, date people from other towns, go on holidays to far flung places and be reckless – and so we have a situation bubbling and about to boil over.  The town of Black Springs is a town stuck in the dark ages but with a young generation bursting at the seams to break into the modern century.  A generation of youngsters who secretly wonder how bad it could really be.
I can’t give away too much more about Hex without spoiling it.  It’s a very unusual ghost story.  It takes a look at people and how they sometimes react, particularly when under severe stress or fear.  The animal instincts that awaken, only thinly covered by a relatively new veneer of civility, when the going gets tough.  And the fact that sometimes the fear and the reaction it causes can be equally bad if not worse than whatever it was that caused the fear in the first place.
I definitely recommend Hex.  It’s such a compelling book, it will make you think, you’ll start the story and have questions, much like a new resident to the Town, and slowly the truth will become apparent – and just as you come to terms with what’s going on and think you have a grip on things everything will go to hell in a handcart!
I received a copy of Hex courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.
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19 Responses to “Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt”

  1. TheTattooedBookGeek

    Great review. 🙂 I agree with you that you can’t give to much away without spoiling the story.

  2. Barb(boxermommyreads)

    I love your review. I have to order this book right away as it seems like I have been waiting on it forever!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Oh, I hope you like it. It’s very unusual in terms of horror type stories but I really liked the concept and found it thought provoking.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Tammy

    I’m really excited to read this. Some of the creepiest books I’ve read haven’t had even a drop of blood. I love the stories that sneak up on you!

  4. jessicabookworm

    I love a slow, simmering, creepy sort of horror; a bit like We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I will definitely have to keep this in mind for future reading.

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I’m intrigued by the claustrophobic feeling that seems at the root of this story, and by the fact that it builds slowly and then closes in on you like a trap. It’s nice to be scared out of your wits now and then… 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s very unconventional! I really enjoyed the concept and the fact that it starts out slow and then pulls you in.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Bob @ Beauty in Ruins

    I’ve seen so many great reviews of this, I feel like I’m missing something, but I finally cosigned it to the DNF pile this morning. For me, it was a case of fantastic concept, horrible execution.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Oh no, that’s a shame. It’s funny isn’t it how we can totally love lots of the same books but then just the odd one comes along and bam! We can’t love em all!
      Lynn 😀

  7. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I’m looking forward to reading this one soon! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hope you like it. Look forward to reading your thoughts.
      Lyn 😀

  8. Ria

    I’ve been seeing a few reviews for this floating around, and what I’ve read really makes me want to read it. Great review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I hope you give it a shot. I love the concept which is so unusual and the author really pulls you in – gives you a false sense of security to start and then chucking you in the deep end!
      Lynn 😀

  9. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I agree, I loved how this one got progressively creepier, and the fact it was so gradual. I can’t believe how it ended. Like, just the complete transition from the tone at the beginning to the utter bleakness at the end…still freaks me out when I think about it!

    • @lynnsbooks

      That ending! Really!!! and, yeah, it started off so differently. Great though.
      Lynn 😀

  10. April: My Month in Review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt […]

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