My, oh my, this is a grim tale indeed. A God in the Shed is a novel filled with small town secrets, necromancy, dismembered bodies and scenes of horror that will burrow deep inside of your mind. I saw a reviewer friend raving about this book and so I had to check it out. It starts off weird and dark, then gets darker and darker and darker, until you reach a point where you feel soiled and creeped the f##k out!
I knew this was going to be a bleak journey very early on when a child’s body is unearthed and nails are driven through the corpses eyes and feet! There is a method behind this madness, but events unfold slowly, and the first half of the book might leave you scratching your head as to what is really going on. Then, there is a collection of body parts discovered inside of numerous fridges outside the trailer of crazy local resident, Sam Finnegan! There are a lot of loose threads and unexplained occurrences early on in the book, however, patience is a virtue, and things do come together.
The book is told through different characters points of view and it works well. It is a stylistic choice used similarly by George R. R. Martin through his Song of Fire & Ice books and other writers as well. I like this a lot. You get to know the characters more by seeing things through their eyes. One of the most interesting people in the book is inspector Stephen Crowley (friend of Aleistair Crowley perhaps?!). Crowley has a dark past, as do most of the residents of the village of Saint-Ferdinand. It is his way or the high way, and when he arrests a suspected serial killer at the start of the book he finds himself unlocking the door to the villages past, to a world where darkness devours and decapitates. Crowley is a multi-layered character, a man with a short fuse, he has a slightly awkward relationship with his son and this causes much conflict later on. He is a difficult one to pin down, in one chapter I despise him, the next I didn’t mind him…weird. Sprightly teenager, Venus McKenzie is another character I really liked. A computer nerd, she makes the bizarre and dark discovery in her shed when she unknowingly traps an evil God (as you do!). I liked Venus’ bravery, especially when confronting and engaging with the thing in the shed. She is a smart girl, though not to the point of arrogance and I really did dig her fire. There are other characters too, though these two are perhaps the more prominent in the story, and the two whose chapters I enjoyed reading the most.
The claustrophobic small town feel is great and there is a seemingly endless darkness that shrouds the novel from start to finish. I rarely get creeped out by books, but there were scenes inside this that made my skin itch. A particular scene concerning Venus’ cat and the God in particular made me cringe and I was glad when it was over. I think this is a highly original novel and one I will remember for a long time. With great characters, stomach-churning scenes of gore and a God filled with nothing but hate, A God in the Shed is a horror fans wet dream. The pacing is pretty damn good from start to finish and I raced through this over the weekend. If I had one little criticism, it would be the ending, which felt a little anticlimactic after everything that preceded, though it didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of the story enough for me to deduct more than half a star. I believe there is more to come in this series and you can sure as Hell sign me up!
4.5/5 decaying body parts from the Grim Reader.
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