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The incredible, horrifying thriller from Thomas Olde Heuvelt, the Hugo award-winning author of 'The Day The World Turned Upside Down', perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Adam Nevill and Stephen King.

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 seventeenth-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.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published April 17, 2013

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About the author

Thomas Olde Heuvelt (1983) is the international bestselling author of HEX. The much-praised novel was published in over twenty-five countries around the world and is currently in development for TV by Gary Dauberman. Olde Heuvelt, whose last name in Dutch dialect means “Old Hill,” was the first ever translated author to win a Hugo Award for his short story "The Day the World Turned Upside Down".

His new novel ECHO will be out with Nightfire Books in the US and Hodder & Stoughton on February 8, 2022. International publication of his novel ORACLE, which topped all the bestseller charts in The Netherlands in March '21, will follow soon thereafter.

Thomas lives in The Netherlands and the south of France and is an avid mountaineer.

Praise for HEX:

“This is totally, brilliantly original.” —Stephen King

“Creepy and gripping and original.” ―George R.R. Martin

“Spielbergian in the way Olde Heuvelt shows supernatural goings-on in the midst of everyday life... It’s a fabulous, unforgettable conceit and Olde Heuvelt makes the most of it.” ―The Guardian

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,158 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,462 reviews9,616 followers
May 19, 2017
Hell with it. I'm in the minority of people that didn't really like this book.

It started out really good and creepy with the witch just randomly showing up in people's houses just standing there with her eyes and mouth sewn shut and her arms chained to her sides. I would freak clean out. BUT, it just didn't go anywhere for me and I didn't like some of the stuff in the book and that's about it.

I'm really happy so many of my friends loved this book but it just wasn't for me. Sucks, I was hoping this was going to be a really creepfest of a book. NOPE.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,537 reviews9,791 followers
May 8, 2023
**3.5-stars rounded up**

How best to describe Hex? Is it a town cursed by a witch, or a woman cursed by a town?

Welcome to Black Spring. A charming little village set in the beautiful Hudson River Valley.

Picturesque as can be, an outsider would have a hard time imagining the horror the town's citizens endure on a daily basis.

The Black Rock Witch, a 17th-Century woman, murdered by her contemporaries after having her mouth and eyes sewn shut, lurks amidst the townsfolk to this day.

Not a hazy apparition that only certainly people sense or see, she's there, in the flesh.

They all have interactions with her. They can touch her and even harm her if they so choose.

No one ever does though, as rightly they anticipate her vengeance would be swift and brutal. Why don't they just move away, you wonder?

Well, that's just it. They can't. No one can move away.

Once you are settled in the town and privy to its secrets, you can never leave. As in, a supernatural force literally blocks you from escape.

This was a really unique take on a haunting. I enjoyed that aspect of the story so much, as well as the way the town dealt with the issue of the haunting.

They had developed, as a town, a great system for tracking and monitoring the spirit.

They used high tech surveillance to keep an eye on her, but in turn, end up tracking a lot of the citizen's actions as well.

When some of the teenagers become frustrated with living under such strict regulations, they start acting out towards the ghost. Their cruel actions ultimately cause all hell to break loose.

Although, I was never able to fully sink into this one, I still decided to round up to 4-stars due to the author's fabulous creativity.

Haunting stories have been done numerous times, but this one did offer up something new in my opinion.

Also, I am wondering if the difficulty I had connecting to the story was more from the fact that it has been translated from the original Dutch, versus the actual story itself.

The writing style seemed very blunt. I was always aware I was reading a book instead of being told a story, if that makes sense.

Overall though, I would definitely recommend this to horror lovers.

Especially people who are looking for something out of the ordinary. This story is definitely worth giving a shot!
Profile Image for Trin.
1,782 reviews558 followers
June 13, 2016
Thomas Olde Heuvelt is obsessed with nipples. There are so many damn nipples in this book. Gross rotting witch's nipples, creepy sexual assault nipples, giant metaphorical nipples. The nipples of a teenage boy are also described in detail at one point. This dude LOVES (or possibly is deeply terrified of?) nipples.

What does he not care for? Characters.

Also, I feel like -- ladies.

There are four (third person) POV characters in this book.

1. Concerned father
2. Rebellious but kind-hearted teenage son
3. Sympathetic town official named Robert Grim (lol?)
4. Grotesquely fat and just generally grotesque crazy lady who's also sexually assaulted at one point for no reason, and hey have we mentioned she's disgusting and she makes everyone eat pâté that's super gross

Hmm. One of these things is not like the others!

But the dude characters are just as boring and one-dimensional as the nasty fat pâté lady. I did not care about anyone in this book. For a novel that's supposedly about a town, I had virtually no sense of anyone in the community. They were all cardboard cutouts with vaguely silly names. Like a silly haunted tram ride at Universal Studios.

The atmosphere was equally thin. This is the Hudson Valley -- Headless Horseman territory! -- but Heuvelt couldn't manage to make his woods sound threatening. Suspense didn't build so much as drag -- events occurred, but there was no ramping up of tension. There was no tension.

On the most basic level, this book simply wasn't as advertised. The plot is thus: back in ye olden days, this town called Black Spring killed a woman and her children because they thought she was a witch. She put a curse on the town and haunts it to this day. The book's blurb then states: "The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting."

That last part sounds cool, right? IT NEVER HAPPENS. Rebellious But Kind-Hearted Teenage Son makes videos and has a locked website, but nothing ever gets released to the world. Here's an anti-spoiler right here: no footage nor information nor any curses relating to the witch ever "go viral." This does not figure into the plot at all. I was looking forward to reading something about the interaction of technology and old-world magic, but aside from security footage mistakenly giving Heuvelt the impression that he could or should switch from past to present tense sporadically, none of this ends up having any effect on the story. There is a town. There is a ghost. Both kind of suck. The end.

Meanwhile, I cursed myself with finishing this book so you wouldn't have to. You're welcome.
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
November 5, 2018
fulfilling book riot's 2018 read harder challenge task #19: A book of genre fiction in translation

extry points given to me, by me, for choosing a book that has been in my house for more than a year.

extry points given to me, by me, for piggybacking this onto my october is spoooooooky reading goals.


As in so many fairy tales, the cruelest part is often overlooked. It’s not the depravity of the witch, but the mourning of the poor woodcutter over the loss of his children.

this is a breezy-fast horror novel with a phenomenal hook and weak characterization - it’s like a 400-page nick cave song where everything goes bananas at the end.

i liked the premise and atmosphere in this one more than enough to overlook its soft spots and once it starts panning back so you can see what’s actually going on, you realize that the characters are the celery on the crudité platter - no one’s remarking on how good that celery tastes, it’s just the thing providing structural support so you can get the delicious dip into your face. where ‘dip’ = ‘concept.’ and ‘your face’… well, it’s still your face. it’s not my finest metaphor.

it’s a dark and fairly astonishing story. it’s so deadpan, direct, expository at the beginning that you trust it implicitly, confident that you have the lay of the land - but reader assumptions built upon character assumptions = a passel of asses.

it’s about a small witch-cursed town called black spring whose residents have long been suffering for the ancestral sins of their town’s founders, who were cruel to the wrong woman back in the 17th century, and her punishment for this mistreatment has been echoing down the years ever since. the punishment may not look like much - just the constant physical presence of katherine van wyler; eyes and mouth sewn shut, walking through the town as a silent judgment and symbolic reminder of the town’s shame, but touching her, listening to the words she is constantly whispering around her mouth-stitches, leaving town for more than a few hours, most of the time this results in a sickening despair and a brutal suicide for the toucher/listener/leaver, but it can get worse. much worse.

and, sure, the town has mostly adapted to having the corporeal manifestation of a 17th century witch in their midst, as one does - regulating the flow of outsiders, keeping those borders tight, setting up a high-tech control center with cameras and a citizens-on-patrol app for reporting katherine sightings so she is fully monitored at all times and can be maneuvered out of the path of any unsuspecting tourist so she’s only their own dirty little secret, and like anything else made less-formidable by familiarity, black spring has become pretty casual about it all, have let their collective guard down. and that’s when the fun can really begin.

this was written in 2013 and originally set in a small dutch town, and i really liked this part of the author’s afterword:

…the secular nature of small-town Dutch communities and the down-to-earthness of its people. If a sane person sees a disfigured seventeenth-century witch appear in a corner of the living room, he runs for his life. If a Dutch person sees a disfigured seventeenth-century witch appear in a corner of the living room, he hangs a dishcloth over her face, sits on the couch, and reads the paper.

before i came to nyfc for school, i was a new england girl, which is a much-haunted land: you got your salem witches and your headless horsemen and your houses with more gables than is strictly necessary and ghosties galore. and, much like the residents of black creek, there’s a certain resignation that comes with that territory, a ‘ghosts *shrug* whaddare ya gonna do?’ attitude that i thought was perfect in this book and won me over from the very beginning.

it’s not a perfect book - again, the characters are just there to move the plot along, there’s a sexual assault in the jail that seems unlikely and gratuitous, and it doesn’t quite commit to exploring all the doors of its own reveal, but it’s winky-clever and surprising and it just explodes into smalltown mass-panic chaos at the end like stephen king writing salem directed by michael bay.

it was fun and fast and creepy - i’ve never understood why witches were supposed to be scary; they’re just…magical ladies. but i would not want to live in this town, with this witch. or these people, for that matter. i'm glad i finally got around to reading this one.

one more essplosion for the road:

karen out!

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
April 27, 2016
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/04/26/...

Oh, how scary could this be, I asked myself. It can’t be as creepy as everyone says, I foolishly thought. Seriously, a story about a three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old witch who just appears wherever she wants around town, and all everyone does is throw a dish towel over her face or otherwise pretends she’s not there. The whole business sounded more comical than frightening, to be honest.

Well, fast forward to about a quarter way into the book, and I was no longer laughing. Things got dark quick, and I’m prepared to eat my words.

In spite of its seemingly peaceful and picturesque façade, Black Spring is probably the last place in the world I’d ever want to find myself broken down and stranded. But as an outsider, at least I could always leave. On the other hand, the town’s residents—those who were unfortunate enough to be born there, or those who unwittingly decided to move in despite all efforts to deter them—they are doomed to live in Black Spring until they die, claimed by the curse of the Black Rock Witch.

Back in the seventeenth century, when the town was just a Dutch trapper colony, there lived a woman named Katherine van Wyler who was accused of being a witch and was swiftly dealt with in much the way you would expect from your typical puritanical colony back in those days. Thing is, though? Katherine might have been the real deal. Now her soiled husk of a body, chained with eyes and mouth sewn shut, still haunts Black Spring to this day. The townsfolk have slapped on their brave faces and come to accept their curse, trying to make the best of the situation, but deep down they all know that one day those stitches will come off and then everyone will be at the mercy of Katherine’s deadly whisperings and Evil Eye. Still, the first order of business is to contain her, and generations going back centuries have been successful in quarantining Black Spring and keeping its witch a strict town secret. But as times change, so too does the area and its people. New technology has certainly made keeping track of Katherine’s random appearances easier, but internet and social media have also made the world seem like a bigger place, and some of the town’s younger residents are no longer content with being silenced and trapped in Black Spring.

What amazes me about HEX is how it diabolically draws you in by degrees, first presenting you with an all-is-well scenario to get you all settled in and comfortable so that by the time things go to hell, it’s too late to turn back (not that you’d really want to) and the only way through is forward into the nightmare. The build-up is so gradual that, little by little, a premise which initially sounded so absurd to me ultimately transformed into something frighteningly convincing and very real. Even as the situation for the characters in Black Spring gets worse and worse, I just couldn’t bring myself to tear my eyes away. This is my favorite kind of horror novel, the kind that sneaks up on you and infuses your mind with its terror without you even realizing it.

A story about a haunting by a seventeenth century witch is creepy enough if you ask me, but the decision to have it all take place in a modern day setting is also a stroke of genius. It’s so easy to look back on the witch trials of history now and blame the fear and mass-hysteria on superstition and lack of understanding; after all, these days we have science to explain strange but natural phenomena like aurora borealis or fairy rings. But the book’s themes suggest that perhaps human beings are wired the same way no matter where or when we’re from. When faced with something supernatural and unexplainable, like the Black Rock Witch and a nefarious curse that appears to drive its victims to suicide outside the borders of Black Spring, it’s hard not to imagine an entire town driven to the lengths we see in this story.

Plus, just when you think to yourself “Oh my, things can’t possibly get any worse and more disturbing, can they?” the author shows us that, yes, yes indeed they can! As the suspense builds with every page, Thomas Olde Heuvelt gleefully keeps insisting on poking this already high-pressure situation with a stick, ratcheting up the horror even more. Parts of this book actually remind me a lot of Stephen King’s Under the Dome, where paranoia, claustrophobia and the stifling fear of the unknown can drive otherwise sane and normal people to horrible extremes, even without the help of a supernatural curse. That’s the scariest part about HEX, the fact that even if you succeed in blocking out the paranormal aspects of the story, you can’t ignore the dark side of human nature. All you can do is stand by and watch as the chilling events unfold.

Finally, I have to praise the quality of the translation and the way the changes were implemented from the original Dutch version of this book for the US edition. Since I have no basis to compare the two versions, I can’t really comment on the actual changes themselves, like the one that switched the location of the setting from a small town in the Netherlands to one nestled in the Hudson Valley region in upstate New York, but I can say that they were done really well and the transposition felt practically seamless (pardon the pun). I was really impressed, and if anything, this exercise showed me that the things that terrify us and keep us up at night are pretty much universal.

So if you’re a fan of horror fiction and strong of nerve, I would definitely check this one out. Deliciously creepy and all consuming, HEX was an absolute thrill. The chills will stay with you long after the final page is turned.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,904 followers
October 20, 2017
It's that time of year again. When the leaves start turning and the air gets cooler...wut? I live in the south. That crap ain't happening. But I still wanted some scary reading.

I may have lost my ever-loving mind. BECAUSE the place where I work is probably haunted. I'm about 97.8% sure it's haunted. Then I pick up a creepy ass book to read.

After figuring out that I couldn't read this either before I went into work, during work or when I was thinking about work...I finally got a couple of days off and knew I had to binge this sucker.
Otherwise you guys would have seen me on the news...

Now if you are a friend of mine or have followed me for awhile..you know I read some jacked up stuff. It takes a few drinks boogers to scare me.
The few times I've been scared while reading I usually just went to bed and covered up my head and was okay. Then there have been a couple of movies that scared the bejeebus out of me. The Stupid Grudge and the Stinking Ring are two that come to mind.
This book reminds me of them.

It's set in a small town that kind of reminded me of that movie..The Village. Once you live there you can't leave. (that movie didn't scared nothing by the way)

This one is that way because of the witch. She has been there since the days of yore and the reason? The people back in the day accused her of being a witch then proceeded to make her sacrifice one of her children. Then to make it even better they killed her and sewed her eyes and mouth closed.

Girlie got pissed off and came back to town. She wanders around town and just appears randomly. She might be at your beside while you and the mister are doing the freaky deaky. You just never know. Unless you are tracking her on the mobile app. These people have gone high tech. They have cameras all over town and the before mentioned tracking app.
But this little town has rules. You can't mention or film the witch. You can't touch her. You can't ever move out of town because the over-whelming feeling of wanting to commit suicide comes over you.

I wondered several times why they just didn't blast her with dynamite.
Or something.

But then reality starts to set in while you are reading this book. These characters are bat-shit crazy. They are mean as snakes. You have one father that is a main character who pretty much admits he has a favorite son...and it's not the gay one. You have women constantly put down..one was made fun of the whole entire book because she was fat. Another had an abnormally high forehead that the author couldn't shut up about.

I started cheering for the witch.

I will admit to somewhat liking this book. It is perfect for a Halloween read. Not in your face gore...just that almost oppressive feeling of something bad coming. I had to check my underwear several times.
Profile Image for Gabriel.
486 reviews640 followers
February 2, 2022
Brutalidad, fanatismo, supersticiones, ambientación sobrenatural con una atmósfera oscura y decadente. Eso y más en Hex.

Black Spring es un lugar embrujado, podrido y condenado. Por si fuera poco, una bruja recorre las calles con los ojos y la boca cocida. Lo han intentado todo para acabar con su presencia, desde sacerdotes, chamanes, comandos, el ejército, etcétera. Si intentan lastimarla, quemarla o inflingirle daño alguien muere. Pero lo más curioso es que todos los habitantes parecen verse afectados por esta maldición. Black Spring tiene una energía profundamente maligna y paranormal y todo aquel que esté en el rango del pueblo, quedará irremediablemente atrapado en su maldición. Y aunque alguien intente escapar del lugar empezará a tener pesadillas macabras y experimentará fuertes deseos suicidas.

La novela es espectacular. Y no son palabras mayores. El libro es terror sobrenatural pero contiene lo que para mí es la literatura, un intento de mezclar varias cosas para que el final consigas un mensaje en medio de todo y aquí eso se ve a leguas en la segunda parte, justo en los últimos capítulos. Hex es un estudio sociológico de como actuaría el ser humano ante una situación que se les sale de las manos, que le es incomprensible y no puede ser explicado por ninguna rama del estudio. Aquello que queda fuera de todo control humano. Y la respuesta de esas mismas personas en su conjunto puede ser algo totalmente aterrador y fuera de los límites sanos y cuerdos con los que se han educado.

Lo paranormal, la bruja como un ente maligno y con una gran influencia es el mal encarnado, sí, y puede que su aspecto y el suspenso de qué es lo que pretende vagando por más de 300 años en aquel lugar solo sea producto de una venganza o quizás otra cosa. Lo cierto es que da miedo y tiene aterrorizado a todos los habitantes pero lo que queda claro en la medida que avanzas es que las personas que viven en el pueblo son igual o mucho más peores que ella. La prueba viviente está en cómo adoctrinan a los muchachos desde pequeños manteniéndolos en aislamiento, los torturan psicológicamente para que no cometan alguna tontería a favor de la bruja y si incumplen algún decreto serán castigados físicamente. Vamos, que la moral y los derechos básicos son violentados solo por el miedo que supone la figura monstruosa de la bruja. Y sus leyes no tienen nada que envidiarle a los de la edad media ya que lo que hoy en día se considera una persona civilizada aquí es la representación del más puro salvajismo animal e irracional.

La trama es muy lenta, de hecho eso ha logrado que me encuentre renuente a darle todas las estrellas porque se toma mucho tiempo para despegar. Y aunque la segunda parte es brutalmente caótica y adictiva, se puede sentir un poco apresurada. Ahora, la trama del libro se agiliza un poco más cuando nos enteramos que Hex y El Consejo del pueblo controla y maneja cualquier aparato tecnológico de todas las personas y en consecuencia, unos adolescentes cansados del abuso y queriendo ejercer su pleno derecho a la libertad y la privacidad deciden dar a conocer al mundo la situación actual con la Bruja de Black Rock. Sin embargo, esta descabellada idea solo pondrá en apuros a la gente, quiénes poco a poco experimentaran daños colaterales. Porque la rebelión en un lugar dominado por el miedo absolutista y regido por sus propias reglas inquebrantables solo puede conducirlos a la violencia y bestialidad de sus acciones.

Los personajes están muy bien perfilados, la trama es inquietante, opresiva y te embruja, te atrapa en ese lugar maldito logrando que sientas el mal rollo que transmite la Bruja, los habitantes y el lugar plagado de esa energía pesada. La asfixia, el descontrol, la maldad creciente y el miedo dominando se respira. Y aunque el final (reitero) se siente apresurado, no puedo quejarme porque me parece perfecto, tan redondo como el círculo vicioso en el que han vivido estas personas durante más de 3 siglos enteros bajo supersticiones estúpidas, un fanatismo exacerbado y una ansia por castigar y buscar culpables. Es una auténtica genialidad, ya que al final mi debilidad en el género del terror siempre son las mismas personas, aquellas de carne y hueso; tan tangibles como las cosas que suelen hacer dominados por algún deseo, sentimiento o emoción intensa. Eso es lo que más terror me da.
Profile Image for Emma.
974 reviews975 followers
February 3, 2016
(edit 03/02/16) I'm having to up my stars on this one as every time I pass a dark corner, I think of that bloody witch. It obviously got to me more than I thought...

Hex starts off really well, the creep factor was so high that reading it at half five in the afternoon felt far too close to bedtime for comfort. For me, it's not so much that it features a witch, but that the witch acts more like a ghost. Who can turn up in your house, at any time. Awful. Just awful.

Living in Black Rock is not fun: a witch, a curse, no chance of leaving. I liked the way that Heuvelt mixed the gothic and the modern within this setting. The townspeople use modern tech to keep track of their witch and it is the allure of freedom through the means of modern communication and evidence that threatens the uncertain peace of the town. And it also becomes clear that Katherine (the witch) is far from the only dark factor in the town. Still, I feel that the book would have been better served by keeping the original Dutch setting rather than transfereing it to an American town for the English translation. Heuvelt does well to keep the tension and fear going throughout, as the characters' suffering ratchets up to outright terror. Yet the sheer relentlessness of it made me feel numb. As more and more was revealed, the less it scared me. As always, the suggestion of horror is more frightening than the reality. The writing was also a bit hit and miss, maybe the author, maybe the translator. It's these few points that lessened the enjoyment for me and made me like it, but not love it.

Thanks to Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Hodder & Stoughton, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Coos Burton.
766 reviews1,299 followers
April 15, 2021
Sin duda uno de los mejores libros que leí en lo que va del año. Es difícil encontrarse con novelas de terror sobre brujas que estén tan bien ambientados, tan perfectamente desarrollados. Hex me hechizó, y sin duda queda como una de mis lecturas favoritas sobre el tema.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,135 followers
October 22, 2017
3.5 Stars with a round up to 4.0 for CREEP FACTOR and PLOT ORIGINALITY.

Ratings are a mixed bag for HEX, and I must admit, there are a few portions of the novel I didn't care for that have to do with animals (but it's brief and easily skipped). So overall (for me) one fine CREEP-FEST...and a great October read!

Welcome to Black Spring....the small town is cursed....her name is Katherine van Wyler aka The Black Rock Witch. Her history is Dark, Sad and dates back to 1664. She's a horror of a sight....reeks with the smell of death and can turn up ANYTIME....ANYWHERE.

SO....Heed the warnings....Beware the whispers and ALWAYS ALWAYS abide by the rules of the Black Spring Decree for punishments are cruel and you just might end up at Doodletown....or worse.

"Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror by night; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness."

Great 1983 debut for Thomas Olde Heuvelt....Be sure to read through the Acknowledgment's Section. Do I have a Dutch GR friend?


Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,735 reviews14.1k followers
July 18, 2016
This is one of the strangest and creepiest books I have read in years. Starts out very strong, but flags somewhat in the middle. The author rewrote the book, changing the location to a place in the United States, really wish he would have left the Dutch setting alone. Not sure why it was necessary to do this since it was translated anyway. Unlikable characters, a little touch of Lord of the flies, and maybe The Lottery as well. The witch is not the only evil to be found in this town, nor the scariest once you get down to it. Also the author is obsessed with boobs, not sure why that had to be and I skipped much of these pages as well as the pages of graphic violence to people and animals. Just not my cup of tea. So three stars for the creep factor but despite the fact that it scared the bejessus out of me, can't say I really enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,084 reviews2,947 followers
January 11, 2022
4.0 Stars Video Review: https://youtu.be/_hrIJ58lSi0
Reread via the new Tor Nightfire edition with the amazing new cover art

From the premise, this sounds like a creepy witch book, but I would argue that the people in this town are far worse.

This is such an intelligently written novel. The story delves into themes surrounding fear, which is a powerful and dangerous motivation. The author also plays with the usual tropes of the horror genre by placing this haunted town in a ultra modern world, where Youtube and GoPros are commonplace. This is a refreshing change from traditional horror stories, where the electricity and phones always seem to fail at the most inconvenient times.

The tone at the beginning of the novel is surprisingly light, feeling more like a contemporary than horror story. The townspeople have become so accustom to presence of the witch that they are not actively scared of her on a daily basis. I found the lack of suspense in the first half of the novel, caused the pacing to drag in sections. Personally, I would have preferred a darker tone from the start, but I understand that the author did this to create a sense of safety -- before ripping it apart.

However, the tone and pacing in the second half of the novel intensified considerably. I found myself holding my breath as I burned through the last hundred pages. Despite the light tone early in the novel, the story transforms into a very creepy and sinister tale, with several vividly disturbing and graphic scenes. The ending itself is incredibly bizarre and, honestly, very f*cked up. Olde Heuvelt clearly has a weird mind! Yet, the ending actually worked in the context of the novel and brought together the entire story in a clever, unsettling way.

If you are looking to read a new, fresh voice in the horror genre, I would encourage you to pick up Hex. However, if you are going to start this book then you must commit to finishing it, since the entire story is written to build towards the ending climax. While not a perfect novel, I enjoyed this disturbing story and look forward to reading more by this author.
Profile Image for Raquel Estebaran.
293 reviews174 followers
October 12, 2021
Novela de terror sobrenatural con una atmósfera inquietante y toques de humor macabro.

La narraci��n es irregular, pero la acción va in crescendo y tiene un final de impacto.

De inicio lento pero engancha!
Profile Image for Char.
1,635 reviews1,487 followers
September 27, 2018
HEX was not what I expected. At all. It had some very creepy moments and for that reason I'm glad I read it, but I didn't find it to be the end all-be all of dark fiction like most of my friends did. I'm a little bummed about that because my expectations were high.

I'm not going to get into the plot much as this book came out several years ago and everyone knows it's about a witch. She haunts the town, but her type of haunting mainly consists of showing up at weird times and places, creeping the hell out of everyone by just standing there, and then she vanishes. Okay, there's more to it than that, but that's the gist.

As I mentioned above, there were a few genuinely disturbing moments and I could almost feel the stifling atmosphere at times. The few scenes that unsettled me were effective and creative. However, my enjoyment of them was often marred by breasts. That's right: breasts. What is the fascination with them in this story? Also, the poor lady with the high forehead. OMG, get over it already! Every single time this character was mentioned, so was her forehead. Lastly, I think the (I'll just call them) portents of doom, were overused and unnecessary. Owls all over the place looking at you, and peacocks...peacocking themselves about. Enough! Get on with it!

I cared for almost none of the people in Black Spring, nor did they deserve my care. For the most part they were all terrible human beings. It's partly because of that that I LOVED the ending! From what I've read and my discussion with my online friend Lillelara, who buddy read this with me, the denouement was completely re-written from the original Dutch version. I think it worked wonderfully for an American audience, (or at least me),especially in today's world. (Lillelara was less impressed than I.)

In short, I really liked the first half and I found the creepy times to be genuinely eerie and disturbing. The second half seemed to ramble, foreheads, breasts, peacocks, etc... The ending rocked. I don't know what else to say, other than I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

I read this for my 2018 TBR challenge, (to read books I've owned for years and still not read), and I also read it for the TERROR IN A SMALL TOWN square in Halloween Bingo at Booklikes.
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
649 reviews5,811 followers
April 26, 2022
Why is there a witch? Dunno 🤷🏻‍♀️ She’s just here and everybody pretends like it’s totally chill.

Jayden is Sid from Toy Story and you can’t convince me otherwise.

This was messy and never found it’s plot.
Profile Image for La loca de los libros .
294 reviews113 followers
November 10, 2020

Todo un acierto elegir éste libro como lectura conjunta de Halloween con mi alma gemela en éste maravilloso universo de libros 📚📚📚 Y las dos hemos dado de pleno ❤

Puedo afirmar que ha sido la mejor lectura del año, sin ninguna duda. Todo lo que aquí se conjuga es absolutamente aterrador y la forma de narrarlo, absolutamente magnífica 😍


La historia está claramente dividida en dos partes, la primera, donde se nos detalla y explica todo lo que acontece en el pueblo de Black Spring y todo lo que conlleva la siniestra presencia de la que llaman la Bruja de Black Rock.
La parte de leyenda es una pasada. Absolutamente absorbente.
Quien vive allí tiene que aprender a convivir con ella, no hay otra. Algo que llevan arrastrando desde hace nada menos que 350 años.

Y ya en la segunda parte es cuando se desata todo... y no digo más 🤐
Es un libro que todo amante del género debe leer. Absténganse los sensibles porque no escatima en detalles. Los cuales describe sin censura.

Al principio cuesta un poco entrar en la historia porque el primer capítulo y la escena que se nos detalla es muy WTF!!??😂😂 Pero cuando se empiezan a explicar hechos y situar en el contexto, es una auténtica maravilla 😍
La puesta en escena es de lo más original. Como caerte en un abismo del que no querrás salir, y de hacerlo, no lo harás indemne.
El mensaje final y las reflexiones que va dejando por toda la novela como si de migas de pan se tratara es para quitarse el sombrero.
Hay sentimientos a raudales. Muchos. Y por momentos se hace muy duro. Hasta alguna lagrimilla se me escapó.
Desgarrador. Absolutamente desgarrador 💔

Está narrado en época actual pero teñido de épocas pasadas, con procedimientos de dudosa moralidad que nos transportan irremediablemente al medievo. Mezcla la tecnología con las historias de hace siglos de forma magistral.
Todo se va fraguando muy lentamente hasta llegar a un final de infarto. Un auténtico pandemonio.
Una auténtica gozada de lectura con una gran ambientación.
No hay paja. Va al grano. Directamente a donde más duele.

💀"...la humanidad ha demostrado una y otra vez su tendencia a cruzar límites que no debería cruzar. Y tenemos muchísimas razones para creer que, si abre los ojos y empieza a pronunciar sus hechizos, moriremos todos. Por eso la mantenemos oculta. No conviene que la entendamos..., no debemos entenderla. Katherine es una bomba de relojería paranormal."💀

💙 "...La magia existe en la mente de quienes creen en ella, no en su influencia real sobre la realidad."💙

💀" Y en algún lugar de Black Spring, la bruja dejó de susurrar... y escuchó." 💀  ¡¡¡Los pelos como escarpias!!!!

💥" Aquellos eran los rostros de Black Spring, y Black Spring estaba en su momento más oscuro."💥

Profile Image for Rachael.
131 reviews50 followers
October 18, 2018
Wow. Just... wow.
What a fantastic story.
There are numerous reviews with the plot on here, so I shan't add to that, but I just want to say that this book blew me away.
It was creepy and it was horrific, but what made this book different to so many horrors that I read is that the supernatural wasn't to blame. Yes, there was always a supernatural presence there, but the real atrocity, the real horror, is how people treat each other.
Whilst I expected some of the ending, the final sentence was absolutely perfect and chilled me to the bone.
Profile Image for Chelsea.
316 reviews2,768 followers
July 16, 2020
This could have been a masterpiece had it not been for all the boobs.
Profile Image for Ginger.
753 reviews371 followers
February 3, 2019
Damn! This book had so much promise with a creepy plot and the writing was very atmospheric at times.

BUT, here's the problem with this book. I liked no one in this book, the descriptions got a bit too wordy and I lost some of the scare factor at the end. I was just happy that the

It was also a bit longer then needed to be! I still liked some of the creepy moments in Hex and it was still addicting to read at the end. I couldn't quit reading to find out what would happen to Black Spring! And for that, I'm adding an extra star.
I will definitely read more books by Thomas Olde Heuvelt because I see talent with his writing and plot concepts.
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,889 reviews428 followers
October 31, 2016
'Hex' is the worst disappointment I've had this year so far from my stack of books.

The book was translated from Dutch to English, so from the start I thought the writing was odd, with off-of-the-beat misplaced idioms alongside the manner of speaking that someone has having learned English from action movies (the narration reminded me of how the Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks spoke), with odd cadences and peculiar constructions in places. Still, it was a terrific book for 200 pages. The paranormal witch character is terrifying! I had to sleep with the lights on the first night after starting the book. Then, exactly at chapter seventeen, it turns into a horrible tone-deaf book written seemingly by a middle-school kid who has watched many Sy-Fy movies without knowing anything about adult life and nuances. The artistry of writing an emotionally coherent story goes completely missing. The book becomes one as if written by a 15-year-old using his parents, neighbors and teachers as characters, who all become one-dimensional fodder to feed the reader irrational suffering and scenes of riot and social chaos.

Gentle reader, in reading the last half of the book, I felt a bit like I do in beginning to watch a TV soap opera which has been on television for 20 years - one is a bit lost for three weeks until the plot and characters are fully sorted, but there are recognizable ongoing plots: that scene is an strange man and woman arguing about getting a divorce because of an affair, this scene is a cop examining the scene of a crime, next there is a businessman arguing with people about who was responsible for a leak to the press - entertaining, pretty and shiny, all very stock footage and comfortably familiar, yet without depth or reality. The soap opera seems like only a staged show with a bunch of actors acting out some sort of a script, and I feel no emotional investment whatsoever. As time goes on, the various subplots become understandably linked and important, and the actors become favorite people one likes or dislikes. Unfortunately, what happens to this book is exactly the reverse: the subplots become unimportant and abandoned, and the people become one-dimensional actors performing a script of disjointed, unconnected scenes of meaningless action and movement.

There are also ongoing warnings of doom throughout the book from beginning to end, which give the ending away. Like a typical SyFy channel movie about young adults marooned on an island, you know the only mystery will be who is still breathing by the end of two hours of gory murder.

Ok, I'll describe the story:

Do not buy a home in Black Springs, a lovely little middle-class town in the Hudson Valley in 2012. It is a quiet landscape divided up into large plots of meadow and forest, with burbling springs which usually burble clean water. However, sometimes the water burbles red....

A curse was placed on the town centuries ago by a witch, Katherine van Wyler, who was first accused of witchcraft, and then who was tortured and murdered after she was forced to kill her innocent little zombie boy. Katherine's malice grew large after her death in 1664, so huge she keeps returning to wreak vengeance. The witch isn't as powerful as she had been originally, not since 1713 when Dutch villagers caught her ghosting about in the woods and sewed her eyes and mouth shut. Now, she walks about town along her customary routes, with guest appearances inside people's houses. However, she is not harmless. She can kill people if they understand her whispered words, if one makes the mistake of leaning in close to listen. Folks who have heard what she has to say suddenly are hanging from ropes by the neck or jumping off of cliffs. And, do not touch her. Yes, she is corporeal when she shows up. Touching her brings bad luck in the days that follow. Very, very bad luck.

The people of Black Springs have learned to live with Katherine. They have to. Once people buy a house there, they are trapped like flies in a glass bottle. Anyone who leaves the town, walking or driving past the boundary, after buying a house in Black Springs, suffers from a terrible urge to commit suicide. It does not happen quickly, but the urge builds up over days, until it is irresistible. Since the main business of the town is tourism, the 2,000 residents of Black Springs tell no one visiting the town. Only new house-owners are told the secret. There is a government military post which watches over Black Springs, as well.

Through the use of apps, the town reports Katherine's whereabouts constantly, being careful to ignore her presence and not touch her when she is standing inside a kitchen or a bedroom. Despite her sewn up features, her whispering is continuous. Most people throw a washcloth over her head and walk around her, until without any visible cause she vanishes, showing up in someone else's house. Kids who are born in Black Springs are tutored carefully on how to behave with her.

But some boys are tired of Black Springs and Katherine. They want to break the curse and leave town. Unfortunately, they do not have any idea of how to do it. There were experiments in the past, but everybody who tried to hurt or kill Katherine, again, died. Tyler, Jaydon, Burak Lawrence and Justin, all around 17-years-old, about to graduate from high school, have a plan....

I suspect YA readers who adored The Maze Runner will like this. I think 'Hex' is a better book, but it falls into the same kind of nonsensical plot outcomes and character behavior, especially when the author is writing from the viewpoint of some adult characters.

I can recommend the first 200 pages. Unfortunately, the last 200 pages are garbage.

Profile Image for Mariana.
392 reviews1,698 followers
March 13, 2021
Agradecida con mi club de lectura que me llevó a darle otra oportunidad a este libro que la primera vez dejé sin terminar (no porque no me gustara, si no porque estaba en plena mudanza y le perdí el hilo a la historia).
El primer par de capítulos son confusos y en algunos momentos el estilo del autor me pareció algo raro... Quizá tiene que ver con que se tradujo del neerlandés.
Una vez superados ese par de capítulos, la historia despega y ya no la puedes soltar. Katherine van Wyler se va a quedar en mi mente como una de las criaturas sobrenaturales más aterradoras. Lo que más me gustó es como el autor incorpora diversas leyendas y creencias relacionadas con la brujería a su historia. Desde evocar a la maravillosa película The Wicker Man, hasta los círculos de hadas, se nota que el autor investigó bien.
Al final del día la novela se vuelve pesadillesca y caótica. A muchos puede incomodarles la respuesta a la pregunta que ese final nos plantea: ¿quién es el verdadero monstruo?
Profile Image for Sheila.
951 reviews84 followers
June 9, 2016
(Updated now that I finished the whole book.) 4 stars: "I really liked it." Warnings for sexual violence, violence toward animals, violence toward children.

The good: Wow, what a different horror story--one that's actually chilling. It's so rare to find a horror novel that's unique. The ending is crazy and I loved it. Don't read this book if you want good characterization or strong writing (the translation is a bit stiff), but if you're looking for a disturbing plot, give this a try.

The not-so-good: If you think too much about the witch "rules," they kind of fall apart. (I was willing to suspend disbelief, though.) I'm not sure the U.S. setting works in this case because I kept thinking maybe they could hide from the feds, but the state government would have to be involved. The author seems weirdly obsessed with breasts...

I received an excerpt from the publisher on NetGalley. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review; I appreciate it!
Profile Image for Eva.
47 reviews4 followers
November 23, 2016
The story sounded promising: A modern day village is cursed and haunted by a 17th century witch.
The witch will show up at any time in any place in the village. If she chooses to stand at the end of your bed in the middle of the night and watch you sleep, well - you’ll try and have a good night! But then again: she can’t really watch you, because her eyes and mouth are sewn shut.
To make her even more powerless, she has big iron chains wrapped around her body.
And that’s where the first problem started for me: the witch– as the author describes again and again – is basically just an old, frail, mutilated woman that lingers impassively around the village. In order to hide her from outsiders, the villagers put billboards in front or big cardboard boxes on top of her or sometimes just a dishcloth over her head.
This was certainly an attempt by the author to be funny, but it didn’t work for me: I thought it was neither funny nor scary. Most of the time I was just wondering if the author intentionally wanted this to be comical or not.
And yes, that can be a problem with a lot of horror: either you are ridiculous and over the top or you are scary and dark with very little or none humor.
And all too often the intended scary and dark becomes ridiculous itself.
I don’t think the author found a good balance between humor and horror. Having said that though I give Thomas O. Heuvelt the benefit of the doubt that this might be due to the transition of the novel from a Dutch village in the original to an American village in “HEX 2.0” (as the author calls it himself). In my edition there was an Acknowledgement where Heuvelt explains a bit about the peculiarities of the Dutch and the Dutch humor as such and how he incorporated this in his original novel. Some of these things he transferred to the American version. Perhaps in the Dutch version this is really funny, but in the American version the humor just fell flat.
And so did the scary aspects of the novel. If you consider something ridiculous, how can you be scared of it?
The novel’s villagers try to do this deliberately: they call the witch ‘Granma’ and the teens start playing pranks on her, because everybody tries and forget about how scary and dangerous she can be (even though that's something that still needs to be proven to the reader). The witch’s curse and presence forbids any of the villagers to lead a more or less normal life: once a citizen they cannot leave their village and have to try and keep their curse a secret to the outside world. This makes life and interaction with the world beyond the village’s limits a tad bit difficult.
So, in this isolated community different rules apply. Anybody who breaks these rules and thus acts against the community will expect severe punishment.
Most readers will know where this is going: yes - we are only civilized on the surface and in extreme situations we are just beasts that have no scruples to tear each other apart in order to survive… and so on.
Heuvelt isn’t one to subtly or sneakily bring this point across though: he’ll hit you over the head with his “see-how-quickly-humans-can-lose-all-humanity”-scenes and just to make sure you understood, he’ll explain it to you as well.
The novel’s teeming with stereotypical characters, sometimes even borderline caricatures. The problem with a cutout character is that it won’t shock or surprise you: he or she will do what you’ll expect of them. Most of the characters I found extremely unlikeable and I have to agree that this novel was really misogynistic as other reviewers have pointed out in detail (yes, there is definitely a weird obsession with attacking breasts and nipples throughout the novel as well as several other issues with female characters).
If I had to describe HEX in one word, I’d probably say “immature”: this applies to the writing style, the humor, the horror, and the characters.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,132 reviews309 followers
March 12, 2022
The picturesque town of Black Spring is not only haunted, it's cursed. The Black Rock Witch, a woman killed by the town's residents back in the 17th Century, regularly haunts the town in corporeal form, and if you happen to hear the whispers coming from her stiched up mouth, you feel an overwhelming urge to kill yourself. Not only that, but once you move to Black Spring, you can't leave, as the urge to commit suicide follows any who stray from the town's borders for too long.

The story certainly has all the ingredients for a good horror story, and for the most part, it delivers. Similar in feel to old school King, it reminded me of books like Pet Sematary. Hex is scary not only because of the supernatural aspect, but because of the the inevitable outcome as it collides with human nature. The townspeople of Black Spring are essentially indoctrinated into a culture of fear from cradle to grave and it does nothing to help them.

The book does a great job of slowly but surely cranking up the level of tension as it goes along, and it is definitely a story driven rather than a character driven book. The translation from the original Dutch doesn't feel like a translation, perhaps because the author has rewritten the story to such an extent. Not only has the setting been changed from the original Dutch location to the fictional US town of Black Spring, but the author notes in the acknowledgements that he rewrote the last several chapters, giving the English language version of Hex a new ending.

Obviously I can't comment on that decision because I haven't read the original Dutch version of Hex. I didn't particularly feel that the US setting added anything to the story, and that might of course be because I'm Canadian, but I don't think so. As I said above, what makes the book scary is the interaction between the supernatural and human nature, and that would be the same regardless of the setting.

So would I recommend it? If you like horror, then this book is worth a read, and I would just approach it as a rewritten or new work rather than a translation.
Profile Image for María.
193 reviews79 followers
February 15, 2020
Aún estoy en shock con el final de este libro, nunca lo hubiera esperado y me ha encantado.
Para mí ha sido el cierre perfecto para una historia que me ha tenido completamente absorbida y en permanente tensión durante varios días. Destacaría sobre todo la estupenda ambientación, esa sensación constante de inquietud que el autor sabe transmitir desde la primera página y la importante reflexión que deja sobre el mal y los seres humanos.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,430 reviews990 followers
March 20, 2016
Hex is hands down the creepiest book I have ever read. Yes thanks SO much to the author for those nightmares. Loved it. When a book genuinely disturbs you, you know you are onto a good thing.

The Black Rock Witch AKA Katherine just insinuates herself into your life while you are reading this book – there was one night that I woke up in a cold sweat absolutely certain she was stood at the end of my bed. Took half an hour and a compulsive check of every room in my house before I was convinced she wasnt actually there. But she could have been…

Thomas Olde Heuvelt has a deeply atmospheric and rich tone to his writing – Hex tells the story of a haunting in the modern age – the use of technology to track the witch on one hand offset against old world superstition and torch burning villagers on the other makes for a really terrific addictive read that will follow you around during all the routine mundane moments of life – and make you both desperate to get back to it whilst eyeing it suspiciously.

Teenage rebellion. Takes on a whole new meaning if you live in Black Spring, this is a thread that runs through the entire narrative and is really clever storytelling. The author sets you up for every fall yet you never see them coming – his eye for character detail is incredible. Getting attached to any one person in this novel is akin to watching them walk a tightrope without the benefit of a safety net – the “what the heck” moments when they come are tense, genuinely immersive and bang on the money when it comes to getting the heart pumping.

In between all those edge of the seat moments though is quiet comtemplation, observations of human nature that dig into those dark recesses of humanity, to that part of all of us where we are still children hiding from the boogey man. This is proper old school horror where often what you don’t see is far worse than what you do – it reminded me of King when he’s right on it, messing with your head and getting you jumping at shadows. Hex had that in spades, it grabs you and does not let go, is paced to perfection, written beautifully and basically just scares the crap out of you.

Highly Recommended. Unless you are of a nervous disposition. Oh even if you are, don’t miss this one. It won’t kill you. I promise. No really. Have I ever lied to you?
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 24 books4,093 followers
October 6, 2018
Big thank you to the Willoughby Book Club for sending me HEX based on the kind of books I enjoy reading. I have no idea how they knew I didn't have this book--but they're the experts.
3.5 stars!!
Right away, I have to mention that the plot of this book is entirely unique and original. The author imagined a very dark story and managed to turn the tables on me after reading the synopsis on the back and thinking the evil entity was going to be supernatural. (you'll see)
I experienced many emotions during this read and not all of them were positive. At first, I was confused and I chalked it up to the possibility that the book was translated from Dutch and perhaps the odd whimsy and almost silly tones were just one off for American audiences. So I pressed on but I honestly didn't like large portions of the beginning.
Somewhere around the middle--the story also began to drag a bit. But I was invested in the characters (especially Tyler) so I kept going.
The last 75ish pages of this book are almost like a totally separate genre. The author takes his dark, folklore style narrative and pushes it down into a gore fest of pure horror. I loved the last portion of the book--especially the conclusion.
Not only were there some really stand-out chilling moments but there was some emotional scenes too--really well written inner conflict, grief and turmoil as well as an in depth look at the depravity of man. The clever thing for me was how the author managed to tie-in some of the same feelings I had when I was studying the Salem Witch Trials in the 8th grade. How? Why? Just those same feelings of being so totally gobsmacked at how truly screwed up mankind can be towards one another.
So as much as I think this author is extremely talented and imaginative, as much as I enjoyed the ending...I can't rate it five stars purely because there were so many off-putting experiences for me in the beginning and into the build. I recommend this all horror fans for two distinct reasons: Originality and that ending.
Profile Image for Paul O’Neill.
Author 3 books174 followers
June 7, 2016
Five star concept, three star execution

I'm soooo disappointed in this. The concept is absolutely awesome and by all accounts it provides the backdrop for what should've been a classic. The writing, pacing and descriptive powers of the author let it down badly.

It's hard to put my finger on exactly what went wrong. The writers descriptions are so strange and random at points that it sucked me out of the story. 'his smile rose like a cloud of carbon monoxide...'. I'm pretty sure that gas is invisible. It put me in mind of the completely random and irrelevant imagery used in the book thief.

This is a horror book, and some parts of it are scary, but there are also parts that made me laugh which I'm sure wasn't intended. As a result, I was unsure how to feel about the tone of the book.

More than anything though, there was just the lack of any heart or emotion in the story. I didn't connect with this much at all, which is a shame as it should have delivered.

It does have some good points and the concept alone is worth reading about as it is original, as far as I know. The family dynamic is very honest and interesting for the main family. The ending is good (although fairly obvious from the get go).
Profile Image for Jack Stark.
Author 6 books32 followers
October 1, 2017
5.439 stars.

This is a masterclass in how to write contemporary horror. This has everything that I enjoy in a good horror story. It feels new and different to your average horror. I really like it when someone takes a classic, overdone theme and breathes new life into it. This is what we have here. I LOVED it.

The story is about a witch/ghost that haunts an American town. Although, when I say ‘haunt’, I sorta mean that she just exists there. The town has their own emergency decree and organisation (called HEX) to try and contain the knowledge of the witch. She’s creepy, has her eyes and mouth stitched up but she doesn’t really do much and is more of just an inconvenience than a haunting. She shows up in random parts of the town and the townsfolk use an app to track her last sighting. Sighting her isn’t too difficult, she literally stands in a family’s dining room at one point whilst they carry on with their lives around her. The townsfolk deal with her in a very nonchalant way and as long as people leave her alone she doesn’t really cause any problems to anyone. That is, as long as she is left alone. Do you see where this is going? It wouldn’t be a horror novel if everything remained hunky dory now would it? *Dramatic pause and creepy music*

I went into this knowing very little. The way the story started, I thought it would be an easyish read. There is a lot of dark humour (which I love) and I set myself up for such a read. I liked the characters, they are everyday people that are easy to relate to. The dialogue felt real. I thought the witch was interesting but I didn’t really see her as a threat to the other characters. Oh boy, how wrong was I? If there is ever a case of the quiet ones being the ones you have to watch out for, this witch covers it! I’m not going to go much more into the plot because it would spoil it, and you really should read this book yourself. What I will say is that this story could have so easily gone down the route of ‘witch kills lots of people in a gory manner and then hero of the town overthrows her to send her back to hell using an ancient incantation etc etc’, but it didn’t! This book is smart. The horror comes from places you would not expect. It is not a slasher horror - it’s a psychological horror more than anything else.

This felt similar to a Stephen King horror, with a splash of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (these stories popped into my head at a few points). The horror aspects are described in such a matter of fact way that it made me uncomfortable. There was several points when I found myself happily reading along and then having to stop to think ‘Hang on a second! That’s fucking horrendous.’ And speaking of uncomfortable feelings, it does deal with suicide, the aftermath of suicide and mental health struggles, which I found a little difficult at points. But then I quickly got drawn back into the story and was desperate to know what was going to happen next.

I don’t scare easily because I’m a real tough manly man, but I found myself looking around a little more than usual when walking alone down a dark street after reading this. Go ahead and grin Thomas Olde Heuvelet, grin away.

Anyway, I’m off to have nightmares. Peace and Love!

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