We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer Review

Homes have a history, and new buyers aren’t always privy to everything. Such is part of the premise behind the upcoming horror novel, We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer, which I just had the pleasure of reading.

When Eve and her girlfriend, Charlie, flip their renovated home they don’t get as much as hoped, and find that the budget for their next project is limited. This leads them to expand their search area, and ends up with them moving to an old home in the middle of the Pacific Northwest wilderness. In fact, this remote home is just one of several located on a mountain pass. Beggars can’t be choosers, though, and it seems like a good flipping project for these hardworking and handy women.

After the women get settled in their new, but presumably temporary, home, something strange happens. While Charlie is away in town (about 30-40 minutes away), Eve hears a knock on the door and opens it to find a family in winter clothing. It’s a father, his wife, and their three kids — two teen boys and one younger girl.

After the shock wears off, Eve finds that the man (Thomas) is asking her a question about whether it’d be ok if his family came in and took a tour. He says that this home was his childhood residence, and that he’d love to show his wife and kids around. They won’t take more than fifteen minutes.

Since she’s a nice person who has a hard time saying no to people, Eve relents and lets them inside. She’s not comfortable with the decision, but knows that Charlie should be home soon. She is overdue after all.

The thing is: Thomas and his family don’t leave when they’re supposed to, and the weather gets so bad that they cannot. Going further, Thomas keeps pointing out strange things and telling odd stories. Then, his young daughter disappears into the cryptic basement.

I’ll stop there, because saying much more about We Used to Live Here would risk spoiling it. Just know that this is an unsettling book where things always feel off, and you’re left wondering what the hell is going on. It keeps you thinking and on your toes, and never fails to be intriguing, interesting or entertaining. It even contains some odd documents about strange phenomena, including old houses that aren’t as they seem.

Eve, herself, is an interesting and likeable main character, who’s written with depth. She’s a good vehicle through which to experience this strange and surreal book.

The writing is also really strong. Author Marcus Kliewer does a good job of describing and setting the scene, and is also great at creating unnerving tension. His prose is impressive, and some of the utilized descriptors and similes are as well.

I truly didn’t know much about this book before I requested it on NetGalley, and don’t remember even reading much of the premise before doing so. That is, even though I’d already placed holds on the book at two local libraries. I’m glad I went in without knowing much, and I’m even happier that I gave this novel a shot. It’s one of the better, and more memorable, horror books I’ve read in a while.

Don’t sleep on We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer!

This review is based on a copy of the book we were provided with.


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