Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, 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. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened.
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, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.
Rating: 4 / 5
Started: October 11th, 2016
Finished: October 11th, 2016
Wine Pairing: A big-ass cup of tea, perhaps Chamomile to calm the nerves. …and by tea I mean vodka with a hefty amount of ice.
“Tomorrow I’ll call a real estate agent. I’m . . . sorry you have to live with this, but . . . it’s not for us. We’re moving out.”
“I’m afraid that’s not going to happen,” Pete said softly. Now, Steve realized, even Pete didn’t have the nerve to keep his eyes on them.
At last Burt said, “What do you mean?”
“You said ‘your’ village ghost and ‘your’ witch earlier. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I’m afraid that starting tonight it’s your problem, too. She’s not going to let you go. You live in Black Spring now. That means the curse is on you as well.”
The silence that followed could only be broken by Robert Grim: “Welcome home.” His face assumed a morbid grin. “We have all sorts of great town fairs.”
There is something to be said for a good thriller – one that gets your heart pumping and your palms sweating, sticking slightly to the pages. When the tension grows and stews just under the surface of understanding until it suddenly grips you tight and makes breathing difficult, you know you have a good book. It took several days to get my emotions in check and determine how I truly felt about Hex. I’ve finally decided that my mental state at the moment and utter confusion and conflict would be the deciding factor that leaves me wanting to force everyone to read Hex that very evening.
After all, misery loves company.
In Grim’s humble opinion, the people of the Hudson Valley were ill-bred, loud, beer-swilling wife beaters and, worst of all, they lacked the common sense to take full advantage of their geographic location. To the east they had the Hudson to collectively drown themselves in, and to the south they had Bear Mountain State Park, where they could mate unashamedly with beavers and white-tailed deer and effectively implement their own extinction. But so far no one had seized these golden opportunities.
Stippled with humour, Hex is the perfectly balanced Horror Thriller we all should read. Katherine’s presence is unnaturally common and unsettling, but the matter-of-factness of the citizens throws the “Horror Thriller” title out the window. “Is she.. supposed to be in the living room with a tea-towel over her head? Did I read the back of the book wrong, and is Katherine a neighbour’s dog or something? WHAT IS GOING ON?!” But as you delve further and further into Black Spring we see the darkness that has spread deeper than just the witch, the animosity that permeates drawn curtains and GPS tracking, and the depth of depravity and hopelessness and cruelty gripping the town.
Beautifully paced and majestically presented, I both love and hate Hex for the same reasons. But any book that leaves you twitching in a cloud of conflicting emotions and jumping away from underneath your bed (even though you’ve already checked and yes, it was empty) was worth every minute and every page, and it would be a shame to dismiss Hex just because I’m not fully sure what just happened. So yes, I do recommend Hex. I recommend it with a large shot of vodka and a huge blanket to hide under and a flashlight to keep reading, because if Hex doesn’t keep you up at night you haven’t read far enough yet.