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Okay, this is in no way a paranormal romance novel. Paranormal, yes. Romance, no…unless, of course, you get off on curses and dead ladies with sewn shut eyes. Whatever. I’m not here to judge…much, anyway.

Black Spring is just your run-of-the-mill, small American town (is it, though? I say this but have yet to actually visit a small American town). Okay, okay. Let me rephrase that. Black Spring is probably your run-of-the-mill, small American town. On the surface, it seems to have everything a prospective resident could desire. Friendly townsfolk, picturesque woodland walks…and a resident 17th century witch with sewn shut eyes and mouth.

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Affectionaly knowns as ‘Gramma’ in some Black Spring households

Oh shit. That wasn’t on the tourist information site? Oops. My bad.

After 350 years under Katherine van Wyler’s curse, the residents of Black Spring are accustomed to her presence. She walks their streets, she enters their homes uninvited, bound in ancient chains and staring at them with blind eyes that still see all. 

The youth of Black Spring, yearning for freedom and progress, decide it’s time for a long overdue revolution. Armed with nothing but camcorders and courage (or stupidity, take your pick) they go about documenting their encounters with the Black Rock Witch.

Soon, events take a horrifying turn and the residents of Black Spring find themselves being slowly pulled into a living nightmare from which they can never escape.

Original, heartbreaking and bone-chillingly eerie. These are the three words that best sum up Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s HEX. It’s been a loooooooong time since I’ve had to put down a book because I’ve felt too unnerved to read another page, but this is exactly what HEX did to me. I was reading a particularly creepy scene in bed a few nights ago and I suddenly felt like…I wasn’t quite as alone as I’d thought. I hastily snapped the book shut and placed it on my nightstand, opting to flick through a light-hearted, trashy magazine instead. Additionally, it’s also been a while since I’ve had book-induced nightmares. These two factors alone make HEX one of the best horrors I’ve ever read.

One of the many things I liked about this book is that it utilizes a reader’s imagination. There’s a saying; less is more. And less is definitely more in this instance. As opposed to in-your-face, blood-and-guts horror, HEX focuses on the unseen and the unknown and all the horrific possibilities these two things could entail. Throughout the book, we bear witness to the beginnings or endings…but never to the interims. The gaps are left for our overly sensitized, active imaginations to fill. The imagination is limitless and with the encouragement of a few choice words can conjure some truly terrifyingly unnerving images.

HEX offers insight into the human psyche and forces us to face a barrage of uncomfortable questions. What would we do if faced with this situation? Would we join forces with our neighbors, a united front against a seemingly unstoppable ‘evil’? Or would we rely on our most primal instincts, taking whatever measures to survive? Every man for himself and all that.

Oh and the ending. Shocking and unexpected in ways that words cannot even describe. All I can say is read this book!

A fantastic read and one that’s apparently being turned into a TV series.

Rating: 5/5

Song: Two Steps from Hell’s Dark Ages

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