Monday, November 9, 2015

Pagans, sex and clothes hangers

Ritualistic Human Sacrifice

By C.V. Hunt

Publisher: Grindhouse Press

Pub Date: October 15, 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Nick Graves may be one of the most selfish, unlikable persons in literature. He lives in a loveless marriage egged on by his self-centeredness, sexual selfishness, and failure to mend. He is ready to tell his wife that he is leaving her and getting a divorce. Then his wife drops a bomb on him. She is pregnant despite the fact that they have agreed not to have children. Nick's response is to buy a house without her consent and move them to a place away from her friends and any of the pleasures she get from life. The way he figures it is that if she make one decision without him, he gets to make the others and control her. But what Nick doesn't know is, as terrible as he acts, there are things that are even worst and he has no idea what control is.

The novels of C. V. Hunt are miniature masterpieces of transgressive fiction. Her protagonists are not your model citizens. They are often selfish, filled with hate and sometime simply insane. Yet in her mastery of dark fiction, she manages to always find something worse than her characters. What is strange and wonderful is that I found myself hating and rooting for Nick at the same time by the end of her latest novel, Ritualistic Human Sacrifice. The title gives you a hint of where it is going and that is confirmed with its three section: The Preparation, The Ceremony, and The Sacrifice. Yet that doesn't begin to describe the gory and violent turns that will be discovered. The story is full of physical, psychological, and sexual violence. In fact, it is a little hard to think of what she left out in its approximately 200 pages. But this is what C. V. Hunt does well. She places the reader in the most depressive and terrible situation and makes the reader's experience liberating. It is the reason horror novels work for many people and this is definitely a horror novel. But I think Hunt's novels are more than just visceral horror. I have compared them to the existentialist writers before and I still think it fits. Clive Barker once told me that he wanted to depict Evil existing without the need for a Good. I think Hunt takes this idea further. But as dark as her novels can get, it doesn't mean there isn't good and nobility out there. A character named Morgan hints that there is nobility hidden out there somewhere. Ritualistic Human Sacrifice is not without its glimmer of light. Yet, as Nick learns in uncomfortable ways, there is always a bigger asshole than you.

Ritualistic Human Sacrifice is one of the most disturbing and controversial novels of 2015 even for horror. It is also one of the best. While I still have a soft spot for the novelette Baby Hater, this new one shows that the author gets better with every book and every twisted idea. Ritualistic Human Sacrifice is not for the squeamish and certainly not for anyone who complained that 50 Shades of Gray was too kinky, Ritualistic Human Sacrifice is a masterful story told by one of our strangest and darkest storytellers.

No comments:

Post a Comment