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A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau

A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau
Book Name: A God in the Shed
Author: J-F. Dubeau
Publisher(s): Inkshares
Formatt: Paperback
Genre(s): Horror / Mystery
Release Date: June 13, 2017

Saint-Ferdinand’s cemetery is far too large. It’s a quiet and idyllic village with a small police station, family owned diners and a grocery store but for the last twenty years an elusive killer has butchering the locals. It’s Inspector Stephen Crowleys job to stop the murders and when an old hermit is discovered to have bodies buried all over his property a ray of hope enters the townsfolk that they may finally be at peace. Unfortunately the hermit was a warden, the murders a crime of necessity not passion, and his charge something demonic and malevolent that is older and hungrier than humanity can imagine. A god of hate and death he calls it and the removed eyes of his many victims are the only line of defence keeping it trapped in a cave by some means no one quiet understands.

Venus McKenzie is a resident of the village but not an original. She has been living in Saint-Ferdinand for four years when we meet her but, as she was not raised in a town with a known serial killer, she has more freedom than the other children, which tends to set her apart. It does not help that her mum and dad are seen as hippies due to their Burning Man vacations and relaxed parenting style. Whatever makes a kid different makes them a target and when Venus skips a grade that’s pretty much the breaking point for her friendships. One day she sets up a camera in her shed hoping to catch a nesting bird only to find a finally released/only to be instantly and unintentionally recaptured being that calls itself a god and demands it release.

“She had known, with absolute certainty, that she was facing a predator. A monster that could annihilate and devour her. Whether a primal memory was warning her or she was simply terrified, she could tell where the balance of power lay between them. And it did not favour her … Looking into the mirror, she was disappointed to the see that despite her skin being spotless, the god had left a scar on her soul.”

The other major POV is Inspector Crowley and to describe him as layered is insufficient. He is a father, a career cop and has held himself responsible for far more deaths that any innocent man should be able handle. 18 years of murders and disappearances and his inability to keep his town safe has beaten him down. His journey from start to finish is a rollercoaster and easily one of the strongest elements of the book. It is tragic and wonderful and wounds the soul. His disillusion and Venus’s eagerness and innocence provide hugely contrasting viewpoints and it really helps the reader get sucked into the story. That being said the writing in general is always strong and absolutely haunting. There are entire passages that made me want to crawl under the blanket.

“No animal could have done this. Blood was absolutely everywhere. The ground was sodden with it. Tree trunks were painted red in large splatters. There seemed to be enough to fill the veins of a three people. Large sheets of skin were stretched across the ground. Organs lay in ruin, strewn across the forest floor with odd lumps of bloody flesh. Only her intestines had remained intact. Those had been hung from the branches above like a grotesque garland. At the foot of a particularly massive maple tree, most of Gabrielle’s bones, including her flayed skull, were gathered in a bloody pile. A butcher had committed this atrocity, and had done so with impudence and barbaric yet delicate care.”

A major element of any good spooky town mystery is the addition of a secret society that once resided there and in the case of Saint-Ferdinand it is stoked with a doozy known as The Craftsman.

“The Craftsmen had been more than a social club; they’d been a cult, born from a nefarious purpose. They were students of ancient, forbidden arts, unafraid of the consequences of their acts.”

Back in the day they were represented by an eye with a spiral iris and their sigil once adorned the town on walls, coins and so many places it was rarely out of site. These days they have all been covered, painted over and worn down by the elements so when fresh insignia start to appear on stones and other things it begins to raise a lot of questions about the true nature of their current status.

This is where the real mystery begins to unfold and so as not to ruin the surprises or the scares I won’t go any further.

This is a very dark book. It’s Stephen King’s It meets Jeepers Creepers.

Within the first few chapters we have children being killed, a raft of bodies found in roughly 30 fridges and a man driving nails through the eyes and extremities of a recently buried girl. Then throw in a circus. It’s not for the faint of heart but sometimes it takes something truly horrific to set the mood and Dubeau is successful.

It was not long before my sensibilities had been assaulted but my curiosity had also been piqued and I could not stop reading. I felt I could handle almost anything. I was off the mark…And isn’t that what we want when we pick up something for a scare? I’d definitely recommend A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau to readers of dark fantasy and of course horror. It’s a great mix of fresh and established concepts and could signal the arrival of a new bold voice in the world of fiction that makes you so scared you could pee you pants.


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