Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Got a witch problem?  There’s an app for that!  

Hex is the imaginings of a very sick and twisted mind.  This novel was a huge hit in Europe, written by a Dutchman, that oddly enough takes place in the fictional sleepy town of Black Spring on the Hudson just a tad north of West Point.  Always found the placement of West Point odd?  Katherine, the witch of Black Spring, is the reason.  

Black Spring is a nice enough town, but it is cursed.  The Black Rock Witch, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century, and it seems rightfully so, walks the streets to this day.  Her eyes and mouth were sewn shut decades ago and her arms are chained to her sides so she is basically harmless.  Basically.  But there are still rules to living in Black Spring including NEVER to tell those outside the town about her existence. 

But it’s modern times.  There is the internet.  There are cameras.  So there’s an app to keep track of the movements of the witch.   But there are also teenagers…  When one teenager decides to start recording “tests” with Katherine and push the limits of the curse, things start to spiral out of control.

More than just a horror novel, and yes, it starts off light and gets pretty darn horrific, this is a study of human nature: at its best, worst and breaking point. The dynamic of the town as a living breathing entity is amazing to witness.  The characters all act as they could under the bizarre circumstances, but that doesn’t make it any easier to read.  The mob mentality, as well as evil tendencies of the few bad seeds that push the envelope, developed slowly yet it felt natural, which made it all the more horrific to read.  The psychological and sociological aspects the author explores are fascinating while being scary.

I listened to Hex which is always challenging for a horror book because you can’t skim, you can’t look away, you have to hear everything.  Some of the voices the narrator chose to use for certain characters were annoying, but they all fit. 

If you’re looking for something scary, but really different this Halloween, try visiting Black Spring for a spell.