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Review: ‘Hex’ by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

January 10, 2016

Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s Hex has done something very rare; he has brought something completely new to the horror genre. Hex feels impressively ancient, while playing on modern sensibilities to create a book that truly is horrific. It is a novel that will make you question yourself and really shows the truth in the old adage ‘hell is other people’.

9781444793215 - Hex Cover

Hex is a fascinating social analysis, and Heuvelt shows his characters as products of not just their circumstances, but also as individuals. Each character has enough depth to show their motivation, but not too much that the novel is bogged down with excess description. Everything has a place and a purpose, and nothing in his writing is left to chance. Because of this, we are introduced to a timely tale, that even though it uses the premise of an ancient evil feels incredibly modern and relevant. He teaches us that social fear and personal terror create far more horror than any perception of evil ever does on its own. We are our own worst enemies.

This is not to say that Hex is without fault. The entire plot feels dark, similar to the way Scandinavian crime novels feel in their settings, and so the change of location to rural USA for the English version rather than a Dutch setting felt somehow false. There was no reason to change it, and the novel would have felt far more genuine had the author kept the original I think.It also suffers from obvious statements of importance which made the plot feel a little mechanical in places. The plot would otherwise have been smooth, but statements stating how much worse things were going to get broke the flow.

Overall though, I can’t recommend Hex highly enough. It is a tale for our times with moments of true terror, sadness and sympathy. It is emotive, horrifying and subtly beautiful. It is well worth a read.

I’ve got to say, I’m pretty proud as Hodder & Stoughton featured a quote from my review in their twitter campaign!

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