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HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
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HEX (original 2016; edition 2021)

by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Author)

Series: Robert Grim (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8106021,218 (3.52)29
"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. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated by being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers, decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past."--Jacket.… (more)
Member:alreynolds
Title:HEX
Authors:Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Author)
Info:Tor Trade (2021), 384 pages
Collections:TBR, Your library, To read (inactive)
Rating:
Tags:None

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HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (2016)

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» See also 29 mentions

English (54)  Dutch (4)  French (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
For my last spooky season book of the year, HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt from @tornightfire, offered up all the child and scares that I was hoping for. Holy crap, this book was intense, and did not hold back or shy away from going where I did not think it was going to go. Hands down, my favorite book this spooky season. Will absolutely be picking by Heuvelt’s Echo when it is released next year. ( )
  tapestry100 | Nov 1, 2021 |
  AlisBookNookCorner | Oct 5, 2021 |
I absolutely enjoyed the hell out of this book.

I loved the characters (especially Tyler and Stephen), I loved the setting, I loved the modern take on it, I loved it all. It's goddamn brilliant.

I have two, very niggling complaints. Once in a while, Heuvelt would bust out a phrase that really shouldn't have gotten by the editor, maybe once every forty pages or so. Each one would pop me out of the storyline momentarily due to its sheer incongruity.

INSERT: After having posted this, I realized the author is from the Netherlands and that this was translated, so I'm guessing the above issue may, at least in part, rest on the translator.

And also, once in a while, Heuvelt would slip into a God's-eye view of the town and the events and narrate directly to the reader as though they were observer. I get why he did it, but wasn't a massive fan of it.

But, for the sheer fun of the story and delivery of the goods toward the end? My god, this was just an amazing novel. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
I picked up HEX because of the blurb Stephen King gave it. I am a lifelong horror fan, and have even tried to write some fiction myself, and one of my favorite tropes of the genre is the small town with a deep dark secret that will ultimately be exposed. There’s something about a rural setting and small town life that is the perfect façade for a lurking supernatural evil. While reading HEX I found echoes of Shirley Jackson’s THE LOTTERY, along with HARVEST HOME, a ‘70s bestseller by Thomas Tryon that might not be as well known as it used to be. And I definitely got a PET SEMETARY vibe from certain parts of HEX.

The small town in HEX is Black Spring, a little too on nose named community in the Hudson Valley that goes back to the days of the Dutch settlers, where in the 1660s, a woman named Katherine Van Wyler was accused of being a witch for supposedly raising one of her children from the dead. Part of her punishment was to have her eyes and mouth sewn shut lest she curse her accusers. But she was not gotten rid of so easily, and in the centuries since, Katherine has continually walked the streets of Black Spring, entering homes at will, placing all who gaze upon her under a curse whose full wrath will fall upon them if the sutures are removed, allowing Katherine to see and speak. The townspeople do their best to live with the situation, ignoring the witch who walks in their midst, and shielding her presence from the outside world. But the younger generation is increasingly unhappy with the status quo, and not content to simply ignore Katherine and her curse, thus setting in motion a series of actions which do not end well. Who is really evil, the witch whose whispers can drive the unwary to self harm, or the people who would make her choose between the lives of her two children, and sew her eyes and mouth shut? Did Katherine curse the people of Black Spring and their descendants, or is the curse a manifestation of their hate and fear, thus bringing it all on them and perpetuating it to the present day?

I found HEX to be one of those horror novels where you just have to go with the flow; at first, I didn’t find Katherine and her curse on Black Spring to be particularly compelling – people just ignoring a witch and going on with their lives was not exactly horrific. And the opening section made the story feel like a slow burn, but before the mid section, the supernatural elements really start to kick in, and the finale is pure apocalyptic horror. I felt that my patience and persistence was rewarded. The creepiness factor definitely went up as the book went along. The book’s main protagonists are the Grant family, with most of the attention focused on physician father Steve, and inquisitive older teen son, Tyler, and the switch in POV between them, and other characters, can be jarring, as it often means a shift in tone. I also think this book is not for everyone. Most of the female characters are not rendered sympathetically, which is a big negative for many readers; Griselda Holst, the town butcher, for example, is fat and dense, and physically unattractive, which is pointed out nearly every time she appears in the book. Robert Grim, the head of town security, is another character with a less than pleasant demeanor, and some noticeably offensive remarks for females. The author, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, is from The Netherlands, and seems to have a breast fetish which includes violence toward said body part. Some of the images invoked in the all-hell-has-broken-loose finale may be very off putting. It all comes down to the reader’s taste in horror, and what they consider to be a well written tale of terror, or a lazy piece of hack work with cheap scares.

Heuvelt originally wrote a version of this book that was set in The Netherlands, which has, in his own words, a more Dutch sensibility, along with a different ending. That’s a book I would like to read, but I do commend him on how well he seamlessly transferred his story to 21st Century America. Pulling off this kind of story in the digital age is not easy. ( )
  wb4ever1 | Aug 17, 2021 |
I wanted to like this book. I really did.
I had to force myself to finish it, the first half of the book is so slow, and so boring.

You know a book is bad when 99% of the characters die, and you don't care. ( )
  JordynMcCrary | Aug 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Voor Rod Downey,
die mij vormde als mens en schrijver

en voor Vincent Docherty,
die deuren opende en me stimuleerde wanneer het tegenzat.
First words
Steven Grant rounded the corner of the parking lot behind Black Spring Market & Deli just in time to see Katherine van Wyler get run over by an antique Dutch barrel organ.
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"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. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated by being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers, decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past."--Jacket.

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