If you’re looking for some summer reading that is both unsettlingly gory and a fascinating supernatural mystery, then you need to pick up A God in the Shed. It is the second novel from promising newcomer J-F. Dubeau (The Life Engineered), and is now available through Inkshares.
Saint-Ferdinand is a small Canadian village that has been plagued by series of horrible murders. But don’t expect this to be your typical murder-mystery story. The killer is actually caught in the first chapter of the book, and turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg of what is in store for the residents of Saint-Ferdinand. Teenager Venus McKenzie becomes involved in the town’s dark and secretive past when she unwittingly captures an actual god in her backyard shed. It promises her things, but she recognizes its truly sinister nature–something Saint Ferdinand’s elders know all too well.
With A God in the Shed, Dubeau showcases his great imagination. He takes the wildly out-there ideas of a god, ghosts, cults, necromancy, magic, and other unexplainable supernatural occurrences, and blends them together in a truly interesting way. He also doesn’t shy away from describing the bloody results of dealing with the “god of hate and death” that he has created. With a name like that, you can bet that many of the characters in this book meet very grisly ends, some of which come as a real shock.
The way Dubeau structures the novel will be familiar to fans of Stephen King (to whom Dubeau has been compared), as he has a similar method for helping the reader keep track of his many characters throughout the story. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, and is relatively short, getting right to the point. This format not only keeps up a nice frantic pace, but also aids in the suspense of the tome. The actions of one character sometimes only make sense much later. An interaction between two people may become another piece to the intricate puzzle of what is going on in Saint-Ferdinand.
While the ending is somewhat anticlimactic in terms of what one might expect–some kind of epic battle between god and man–it’s a good arc for our younger characters. There is a great contrast that Dubeau introduces between the two groups of the town’s elders and their kids. The theme of the sins of the father being passed onto the children is definitely at play here, and shows these teenagers recognizing the mistakes of their parents and rising above them. The change in several characters from the beginning of the novel to the end is quite evident. The conclusion even shows that despite what they have all been through, and the horrible truths that they have uncovered, have not waivered their determination to keep fighting.
There is so much more at work in A God in the Shed that I haven’t even touched on here, but it is really something that readers need to experience for themselves. Each little twist and turn brings the story into much deeper territory that you likely will not see coming. The supernatural elements are not so over-the-top that they become unbelievable in this world, and Dubeau makes it all easy to follow and incredibly interesting to discover.
Find out more about A God in the Shed from Inkshares here.