Review: Murder House by CV Hunt

When I was in my later high school years, we moved to a new county. There was this cool looking house down the street. The driveway was on one side of a creek and the house on the other. You would park on one of the creek and the cross a small bridge to get to the house. The whole thing had a vibe to it. A friend eventually told me a story about that house. That a man killed his family and dragged the dead body of his wife up and down the creek until the cops came. The house had a reputation. It was a murder house. As archives have become more digitized and access to them has become easier, I’ve resisted the urge to comb through county records and news stories to see if this really happened. Or even some version of it. I like the story that was told to me, and the power it’s taken over my imagination and that I still remember it all these years later. It was a murder house.

Maybe all neighborhoods or counties have a murder house. The haunted house of a neighborhood. The house that has a story attached to it that everyone just seems to know. Stories get passed around and down the generations. Maybe new stuff gets added in each iteration. The generational story telling gets passed down like its sacrosanct. There’s always that question that lies at the heart of the stories. Is it rooted in anything? Is there a kernel of truth? Did something really happen to cause all of these stories, or is it all bullshit.

In CV Hunt’s Murder House she explores the idea of which came first the crazy or the house?

In Murder House, there is a decided lack of overt supernatural elements. The boogeyman isn’t a monster from the pits of hell, but is the cracks in a relationship split wide open. The house itself is merely the setting for the further disintegration of this relationship. Until, like a suggestion whispered, violence and chaos erupts.

One thing that Murder House reminded me of was some of the low budget, 70s exploitation/horror movies. In those movies, there was often a premium placed on suspense moments and character elements that built towards a shattering climax (rather than a buffet of horror tropes right from the beginning). Hunt does the same thing here. There are uncomfortable moments between Laura and her boyfriend, moments in an old house that are given as a portent, and moments alone where you aren’t quite sure what’s real. Have you ever been alone in an old house and heard something out of place?

CV Hunt remains one of my favorite authors and I look forward to each release. Murder House is a fine psychological horror story that builds toward a violent climax erupts in violence.

This review originally appeared at SciFi & Scary

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