Classic Monsters: The God of Death in Dubeau’s A God in the Shed

GodintheShed

“I see it,” Jonathan confirmed in a whisper. “What is it?”
“Not a bear. The eyes are too close together,” Eenis said.
“They look almost… human.” Nathan dropped his arms but forced himself not to run away.
“We should go,” Jonathan said, voicing what the others were ashamed to admit.
Pleeeease… stay.” The words had been issued from the cavern, piercing the air with a sound that soothed the soul and eased the mind.
As the voice dissipated, a body crawled from the shadows of the cave. At first, it walked on all fours, awkwardly scuttling on the ground like a beetle or a spider. Its limbs were clearly human, though pale as porcelain, and its elbows and knees were bent at odd angles. Twitching and shuddering, it rose up on its feet. The creature seemed to study the boys as it stood, adopting their stance and posture. It was naked, but neither male nor female. Its body was roughly the same size as Nathan’s and his friends’, but smooth and featureless. Its skin had the texture of unscarred moonlight.

A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau

A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau

A God in the Shed is a horror novel about a small town who, after catching the serial killer that plagued their town for nearly twenty years, discover that those deaths were holding something much worse at bay. Three groups move throughout the town trying to hold back the evil: Inspector Stephen Crowley and the influential men and women who put him in his position of power, a teenage girl named Venus and the friends she has collected, and a strange circus that has not come through town since before the killings started. Each of these groups has a small piece of the puzzle that is the town of Saint-Ferdinand.

First of all, I loved the god as a character and a monster. This book is seriously scary and moderately gory, so if that isn’t your style, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you don’t mind a little bit of nastiness once in a while, this is top-notch horror, and most of that is because of the god himself. Without getting into too much detail, A God in the Shed suggests that gods are what we make them – and the god in this book was made into a creature quite nasty and hungry not just for blood, but for pain and suffering. Everything from the physical description of the creature, to detail of its horrific acts, to the brutality of the town’s secrets was stunning and horrifying and I loved it. This book is definitely my favorite (horror) read of the month.

I have to admit, though, that the pacing was a little off in this one. There were several dead spots throughout the story, where I felt like not much was happening and I really had to push myself through uninteresting passages or things that just didn’t make much sense, because the author was still keeping so much from us. I never intended to put the book down because the good parts were so good, but the slow parts were also quite slow.

Now, the god is definitely the best part of A God in the Shed (as it should be), but I was also impressed with the character development. The chapters alternate perspectives, with each chapter given the name of the chapter’s focus, and certainly every character with a named chapter has substantial development throughout the book, for better or for worse. In particular, Venus and Daniel show a lot of growth. At the start of the novel, Venus complains quite a bit about her privileges, and is actually upset that her parents trust her because it makes other kids resentful. By the end of the novel, Venus is just as sure of herself as she as at the beginning, but has had the opportunity to see how cruel the world can be, and is much more aware of the suffering around her. Daniel starts the novel rather oblivious to his world and especially to his father, but by the end his eyes have certainly been opened. Without naming any spoilers, there are several main characters that are sympathetic at the beginning but end the book as villains, and several villains that get their redemption. I loved how dynamic the characters were – they all had to face the horror dwelling in Saint-Ferdinand, and all of them interacted with it in their own unique way.

In all, I’ll give A God in the Shed an 8 out of 10. Anyone willing to pick up try some horror will love the novelty of this book and appreciate the complex characters, but if you don’t have the stomach for gore you probably won’t get enough out of this one to make it worth the read.

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