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Creator / Patrick Senécal

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It is impossible to know a man's insanity until you learn more about them.

Patrick Senécal (born October 20, 1967) is a horror/mystery/suspense author from Quebec, Canada. His first novel, 5150, rue des Ormes, was published in 1994. His career really took off with his third novel, Sur le seuil, which helped put his name on the list of renowned Quebec authors. So far, he has published sixteen books, with a new one on the way; co-wrote the scripts for three film adaptations of his stories; penned the script for a web series called La reine rouge (The Red Queen); and contributed to many short story collections.

His books tend to fall in one of two categories: Thriller, mystery or suspense stories that usually follow a realistic train of thought, with a detective solving a mystery or being on the hunt for a criminal; or supernatural horror stories with an edge of reality, with usually Denser and Wackier plots and greater amounts of Black Comedy. Senécal's characters range from writers to CEGEP teachers to detectives to psychiatrists to richer folks. Most of these protagonists also live in Drummondville, Patriock Senécal's hometown. The stories also tend to greatly emphasize the psychology of the characters, frequently causing or adding to the horrors.


    Patrick Senécal's Books (in order of publication) 

  • 5150, rue des Ormes (5150, Elms' Way, lit: 5150, Road of Elms): University student Yannick Bérubé, when visiting the town he just moved into, falls off his bike when a cat crosses the street just before him. Tending to his wounds in the titular house, he finds a half-dead man upstairs but is caught by the resident family father, Jacques Beaulieu, and subsequently sequestered. What follows is a battle of wills as a weakened Yannick is forced to live with this family, as Jacques has taken all necessary precautions to never let anyone escape his house. Someday, Jacques approaches Yannick with a proposition: If Yannick beats Jacques at chess, he's free to go. Unfortunately, chess is the key motif behind Jacques' Black and White Insanity, and with the white pieces he has never lost a game.
  • Le passager (The Passenger): Étienne Séguin, a young literature college teacher, has to travel a long distance back and forth for work, and one night he starts picking up a hitchhiker. It turns out that the man, Alex Salvail, used to be a childhood friend of his, which Étienne doesn't remember since he forgot his childhood years after being hit on the head. Alex, however, hasn't forgotten the grim games they used to play, and he intends to continue those.
  • Sur le seuil (Over the Threshhold/Evil Words lit: On the Doorstep): A day after the tragedy of a policeman shooting and killing multiple children and harming many others, psychiatrist Paul Lacasse is put in charge of the psychiatric evaluation of famous horror author Thomas Roy, found catatonic in his apartment with all of his fingers cut off. Doctor Lacasse intends to take this caseas if it was any other, despite the fame surrounding this new patient and his own colleague Jeanne being a big fan of the author. However, as Lacasse digs into Roy's past with the help of a tabloid reporter, he starts finding more and more bizarre coincidences tying Roy's books with most of the major tragedies that took place in the previous years. Meanwhile, Thomas Roy's presence in the psychiatric ward increases the insanities of the other patients, and things only start getting worse from there.
  • Aliss: Yearning for freedom and independence, 18yo Alice flees from her parents and leaves for Montreal, intent on proving she can live by herself. She follows a strange man by the name of Charles into a bizarre neighborhood. Despite the clear danger of the place and the iron-fisted leadership of the Red Queen, Alice decides to stay, adopting the moniker Aliss in the process. What follows is a twisted, dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland, with all main characters of the classic Lewis Carroll story having a corresponding person in the neighborhood. However, no matter how much she tries, Aliss is far from ready to live in a world of insanity.
  • Les sept jours du talion (Seven Days lit: Seven Days of Retaliation): On a clear and sunny day, surgeon Bruno Hamel's daughter is kidnapped, raped and murdered. Bruno falls into depression and becomes unable to enjoy life. When a suspect is caught and shown to be quite guilty, Hamel hatches up a plan to kidnap "the monster" (he refuses to see the guy as a human), bring him to a remote location, and put him through seven days of intense torture before killing him. It becomes a race against the clock for the Drummondville Police Department to find Hamel before he sinks deeper into sadism than the man he's holding hostage.
  • Oniria: One night, four inmates escape from the local prison: Dave, Jef, Eric and Loner. Dave convinces the others to invade a residence named Oniria; it belongs to his psychiatrist at the prison, Vivianne. Upon meeting Zorn, her husband, and Eva, the mansion's sexy maid, the inmates learn that the basement of this place is actually a laboratory located deep underground where the three conduct experiments on the dreams of psychopaths, in an attempt to understand their madness. The characters of these dreams are materialized into the basement and interact. However, the tables are turned on the four when Vivianne locks herself, Zorn and Eva in the control room and forces the inmates to fight off the various crazy and dangerous dream-people.
  • Le vide (The Emptiness lit: The Void): This story follows three protagonists: Detective Pierre Sauvé, who is investigating the reasons behind a grim quadruple murder. As his police car escorts the prisoner as she is being brought to court, a commando of four completely unrelated people come and kill her, as well as the driver, before all killing themselves. Left with PTSD from the incident, Sauvé's quest is now to find the mysterious link between the members of this commando. The second protagonist is Frédéric Ferland, Sauvé's psychiatrist, who is constantly looking for the next thing that will give him a thrill in life - consequences be damned. Tying it all together is Maxime Lavoie, the millionnaire young owner of Lavoie Inc., who quits his enterprise to pursue an odd dream: The creation of "Living To The Max", a reality TV show where some people, every week, are offered the chance to live their greatest dream. A philantropist goal at first sight, although Maxime is using this to make others realize the emptiness of life; and he also has other plans...
  • Hell.Com: Rich investor Daniel Saul thinks he has everything he wants; fortune, fame, the complete guard of his teenage boy, an open relationship with a colleague of his. This changes when he meets Martin Charron, an old high school acquaintance of his who has also found quite a bit of success as an investor. Through Charron, Daniel learns about a website by the name of Hell.Com where rich people allow themselves to delve into all the sins they desire to partake in.
  • Contre Dieu (Against God): In this one-sentence, 106-page thriller intercut with dialogue, a man loses his wife and children in a car crash and chooses to stop following the rules of life, the laws of society, he embarks on a path of chaos and destruction where he goes off the deep end, in an attempt to prove that fate is all but a lie, that there is no reason to believe in a God who allows for this kind of accident to happen, that happy lives can be ruined in a moment by a man crazy enough, a man who feels he has nothing left to lose...
  • Malphas: Lousy college teacher and Deadpan Snarker Julien Sarkozy, after being fired from his current job as a teacher, sees no other alternative but to be hired at Malphas College, located in the faraway village of Saint-Trailouin. This college is infamous for hiring all of the weirdest teachers, and it is the only establishment that accepts the troublemaking college students who were tossed out of all previous colleges. However, there is a great mystery around the town of Saint-Trailouin, and soon bizarre supernatural events force Sarkozy to investigate...
    • Le cas des casiers carnassiers (Case of the Carnivorous Lockers lit: The Case of Predatory Lockers): Julien Sarkozy meets the bizarre personnel of the school: Examples include a scrapbook-obsessed director, and teachers that range from aggressive soapbox sadies to extreme paranoids to simple-minded incompetents. The students aren't much better, though Julien soon meets Simon Gracq, editor-in-chief of the college journal who speaks in redundances. The stench of the college, hearsay of a witch living in the village, things are very bizarre at Malphas College. And it only gets worse when a few students are found torn to shreds in the lockers of girls studying at the college - with a supernatural cause behind it all.
    • Torture, luxure et lecture (Tortures, Sinners and Readers lit: Torture, Lust and Reading): The fall semester continues at Malphas College with the arrival of a new teacher, Michel Condé. He soon suggests to open a reading club, and the meetings are to be held in one of the abandoned classroom. However, shortly after this club begins, the members start showing signs of bizarre problems directly related to the exerpts they read during said club, in the abandoned classroom. Julien finds out that it may have to do with a thing being kept in the basement...
    • Ce qui se passe à la cave reste à la cave (What Happens in the Basement Stays in the Basement lit: What Happens in the Cellar stays in the Cellar): It's the winter semester at Malphas College, and Julien continues his investigation; he concentrats his efforts on discovering just what exactly may be hidden in the basement. Along with this, the antagonist of the first book returns, swearing revenge on Julien Sarkozy. And as if that was not enough, many teachers and students become victims of a bizarre curse: When they state how they would like a person to die, that person dies shortly afterwards, exactly in the way described...
    • Grande liquidation (Great Blowout lit Large Liquidation): Julien was forced to leave Saint-Trailouin at the end of the previous book, but he soon decides to return and end this investigation. Things will be more difficult than before, as he needs to rely on a magical disguise to pursue this goal without getting caught, and Rupert Arcxhlax (Sr.), father of the college's principal Rupert Archlax (Jr.), has reinforced security all over the place. As if that was not enough, the student revolt is brewing outside...
  • Sept comme setteur (The Bone Setter lit: Seven Come Setter): In this first horror children's book from Patrick Senécal, brother and sister Rom and Nat find themselves attacked by beloved childhood icons such as the Easter rabbit, the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, and they soon discover that the fearsome Bone Setter (A Quebec children's folk tale monster) is behind this.
  • Madame Wenham (Miss Wenham): A sequel to The Bone Setter,. Rom and Nat have become quite famous around the neighborhood for their heroic acts in the previous book, but a new threat comes in the form of a scary schoolteacher: Madame Wenham.
  • Quinze minutes (Fifteen minutes): Want to become famous on the Web? Come to the Orpheon; Johnny Net is your guy! Totally not a jaded person with a disdain of stupidity, Johnny directs his little business where he finds the (frequently outrageous or ridiculous) ideas that will let his clients rack up the views on sites like YouTube. Things change one day, when a person with mismatched male and female attributes comes in, calling itself the personification of Intelligence, with a unique project for Johnny Net: Giving it some spotlight for the world at large...
  • Faims (Hungers lit: Bites): Kadpidi is a calm town in a calm region. This changes when the Humanus Circus comes into town and sets up its capital. There is something pervasive about these showmen, and the adults-only show they present to the audience is provocative and induces reflection. These circus folks operating under aliases are exacerbating, through their show and activities, the hidden tensions between townspeople. Kadpidi will no longer be a calm place.
  • L'autre reflet (The Other Reflection): Michaël Walec, a part-time French teacher in a prison for women, struggles to find the spark needed to make his first noir novel truly special. During these classes, he meets and befriends Wanda Moreau, a woman who's certainly done horrifying things to be imprisoned there. He forms a strong teacher-student relationship with her, but things go awry when he starts taking inspiration from her life story to add that spark to his novel...
  • Il y aura des morts (There Will Be Deaths): We follow Carl Mongeau, owner of Le Lindsay bar in Drummondville, as he prepares for the twentieth anniversary of his bar's existence. However, by 5:05 PM that evening, his life will change... forever, and for the worse, as he becomes a target for murder.
  • Ceux de là-bas (Those Out There): Victor Bettany is a psychiatrist at a small cegep, and obsessed with the approaching end of his life after turning 50. Following a failed date, he goes to a show by the enigmatic new hot hypnotist Crypto, which turns out to be the worst mistake of his life.

In many reviews, Patrick Senécal has been compared to Stephen King. However, a quick look at both show that the Quebecer author's works tend to be much gorier and sexually explicit than the famous American author's. Patrick Senécal has also been known to use Canon Welding, much like King, though it's nowhere nearly as intricate (see below).

So far, the only Patrick Senécal book that has been translated to English is Contre Dieu (Against God). Two more will be available in 2019: Les sept jours du talion, now Seven Days, and 5150 rue des Ormes, now called 5150 Elm's Way.


Patrick Senécal's career and books contain examples of those tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Being sequester in a creepy family's house in 5150 rue des Ormes.
    • Mental illnesses are a common problem in the books, as most situations come from characters suffering any mental health problems.
    • Le vide asks this question: What if a famous TV show was actually a cover for a criminal operation?
  • Affably Evil: Most villains in the series. Jacques Beaulieu can be ruthless and crazy, yet he's a loving family father. Alex Salvail seems nice, although a tad weird, until he starts showing his true colors. From Aliss, we can add Chess, Chair and Bone. Zorn from Oniria. Maxime Lavoie. And from the Malphas quadrilogy, Rupert Archlax Sr. and Jr.
  • The Alcoholic: Not the most recurring theme, but it's in there along with drug abuse and sex.
  • Anyone Can Die: Except maybe the narrator in most cases, but then again...
  • Asshole Victim: Quite a few. For starters, Jacques Beaulieu mostly kills criminals, but the level of gravity in these victims' asshole-ish behavior varies wildly. There are many other examples, like Jeff from Oniria, the students killed in Le cas des casiers carnassiers (again, from the villain's point of view), and many more.
  • Author Appeal: Most of his main characters are or were Cegep teachers (Cegeps being colleges in Quebec), as he was one himself.
  • Author Avatar: Thomas Roy starts off this way, described as a very successful thriller/horror writer who describes gruesome events constantly in his books. Things take a different turn in the story as it goes, however.
  • Ax-Crazy: Those are horror novels with a big emphasis on the psychology of villains. What did you expect?
  • Backstory Horror: A few.
    • The Beaulieu family has a horrible one. Jacques Beaulieu was alwasy obsessed with the idea of a black and white morality, of "justs" and "non-justs", but moast of all, he was obsessed with the idea of having a son. So when he had a daughter instead, he went a tad nuts. Then there was a second baby, and it was going to be a boy, but he died at birth. As a result, Jacques killed the doctor who, according to him, caused Jacques Jr.'s death. Then, before Anne's birth, Jacques attacked his wife, giving her a kick on her pregnant belly, which explains why Anne doesn't speak and just stares all the time. Plus, Michelle kept being treated like a boy.
    • The main character of Le Passager has one, though he has forgotten about it. It involves the strange hitchhiker he has been picking up recently.
    • The less we say about Thomas Rot the better. But to those who want to know, having a cult priest insert a demon into him when he was a newborn baby immediately puts it into this category.
    • Pierre Sauvé, in Le Vide, saved his daughter from a marine accident in which his wife died. Ever since, there's been some sort of metaphorical darkness surrounding his daughter.
    • All of the Trauma Conga Line Maxime goes through, which takes away any and all respect he had for mankind, bringing forward the plot of Le vide.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Plenty of times. Yannick escapes from the Beaulieu family after Jacques has gone catatonic, but is found days later and castrated by Jacques' daughter Michelle, making him catatonic as well.
    • The protagonist of Le passager succumbs to darkness and decides to end it all rather than cause more deaths.
    • In Sur le seuil, the demon inhabiting Thomas Roy causes a mass murder-suicide in the psychiatric ward of the hospital and is transferred into a newborn infant. Evil lives on.
    • Aliss is exiled from Daresbury, though in her cse, that might be for the best.
    • Only two men come out alive from Oniria, and they are the same person.
    • In Le vide, Maxime Lavoie's plans succeed seconds before he is arrested. Over 300 people die that night, either murdered or by suicide.
    • Martin Charron comes out of Hell.Com without any repercussions for his actions, and the website itself lives on without even a scratch.
    • Malphas is never defeated and he will keep living near Saint-Trailouin for twenty years still. Thankfully, the same cannot be said for Rupert Archlax Sr.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: Technically not a ghost, but in Le Passager, the main character picks up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a split personality of his that he had developed as a child and lost after he was hit on the head. ...Or was it a demon? Or a ghost?
  • Big Bad: Rupert Archlax Sr. is this to the entire Malphas series. Among others, whoever kills him or someone of his blood will be killed; he has manipulated the major forces like the SQ and RCMP so that they never go to Saint-Trailouin; he is in control of the town's sergeant, Jingo Garganruel; he has an ongoing accord with the witches living at the outskirts of town, Melusine and Medusa Fudd; he is the one who ordered the summon of Malphas, the crow-demon; he has killed his fair share of people, both before the story and during the series; and last but not least, he is leading one of the most terrifying experiments ever in the college's basement.
    • Jacques Beaulieu is this for 5150 rue des Ormes and becomes a Greater-Scope Villain for every following installment of Michelle Beaulieu's arc, being the one who made her who she is, causing what she has become.
    • While the heads of Hell.Com count as greater-score villains, Martin Charron is the closest to an actual Big Bad for the book. He pulls Daniel Saul into the titular website, has killed multiple people (by ordering hits on them through the site or by himself during one of its VIP events), and eventually pulls Daniel's son Simon into the site's activities.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Many books feature parts, whether it be words or sentences, in other languages. Considering Quebec's closeness to the United States and the rest of Canada, most of those non-French sentences are English.
    • Subverted in Oniria. The dream-people don't actually speak languages that their dreamer doesn't know.
  • Bittersweet Ending: When it's not a Downer Ending.
    • Aliss: Aliss is exiled from Wonderland, but manages to recover from her experience, find a husband and is expecting a baby. Later on, she tries to find the entrance to Wonderland again but cannot, concluding that it's because she "isn't running anymore". She doesn't know if she should be satisfied or depressed.
    • Hell.Com: Daniel finds his son Simon, but gets into so much trouble with Hell.Com and its members during his search for Simon that he becomes one of their victims. Simon is safe and will be staying with Marie, the new head of Saul Inc., while Daniel is captured by the site, tortured and likely killed during one of the site's events. And of course, the website lives on, with absolutely no harm done to it whatsoever, and it will keep on organizing events where rich people can brutalize, rape or murder other, less wealthy people freely.
    • Faims: The crime spree is solved, the killer is caught, and the circus did in fact push the guy to act upon his desires. Unfortunately, the discovery of the killer's motive brings a whole lot of new, horrifying secrets into the detective's family, secrets that might break the family apart at any moment. And they all hide these dark, terrible secrets behind facades.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Jacques Beaulieu, the antagonist of 5150 rue des Ormes, firmly believes this and makes it his mission to kill anyone he considers an "unjust" (with a black morality). He also believes himself to be a "just" (with a white morality). At the end, he kills his youngest daughter in an impulse, which makes him an unjust (that victim was innocent), and thus goes catatonic.
    • This belief into black-and-white morality makes him suffer from Black and White Insanity.
    • Likewise, his entire view on life falls apart with the arrival of Yannick, who doesn't buy into any of his bullcrap (for most of the book) and doesn't hesitate to call him crazy.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: What most of his stories are. The villains are never of a totally black morality. However, very few of the heroes are of a white morality either. If anything, the good guys kill many characters as well.
  • Black Comedy
  • Body Horror: Used a lot, especially in Aliss, Les sept jours du talion, Oniria and Malphas.
  • Break the Cutie: Maude Beaulieu, Aliss and Maxime are three major examples.
  • Break the Haughty: One of his favorite tropes. If a strong-willed man - or one who is written as too strong for fear - appears in the story, said character will be screaming by the end of the story.
    • Loner in Oniria sees the face of madness and, after spending a while in full psycho mode, goes back to being somewhat lucid. Like he went to someplace beyond reason and madness.
    • Michael Masina, Maxime Lavoie's partner in business before the billionnaire left to create his own reality show, was never one to give up. He would always eventually win, and according to Maxime, might not have screamed since childhood. Take a guess what happens at the end of the book, as Masina becomes the sole survivor of a shooting.
    • Le vide is also a large Break the Haughty for the protagonist, Pierre Sauvé. First surviving a shooting, then discovering a huge conspiracy, then his daughter tries to commit suicide... then it becomes personal.
  • Canon Welding: Later books tend to do this; Patrick Senécal tends to insert small references to previous works.
    • Michelle Beaulieu debuts in 5150, rue des Ormes, and has a major role in Aliss, but is mentioned in at least one book between the two and in Le vide. Her Start of Darkness and the nine years that passed between 5150, rue des Ormes and Aliss are detailed in the web series La reine rouge. Her latest appearance is in Faims, where she seems to have accepted that she isn't above life, although she still has nothing that prevents her from killing if need be.
    • The murders from Le passager are mentioned in Sur le seuil and in Le vide.
    • The events from Les sept jours du talion are also referenced in Le vide.
    • Maxime Lavoie, from Le vide, is mentioned in Hell.Com.
    • Mickey, from Aliss, appears in the second book of the Malphas quadrilogy. The Royales, that fantasy aphrodisiac from the same book, also make an appearance in the Malphas series.
    • The events of Le vide are referenced in the Malphas series.
    • The rake murders that took place in Kadpidi, in the book Faims, are referenced on L'autre reflet.
    • One could say that Il y aura des morts is a sort of Stealth Sequel to his previous book Hell.Com.
  • The Chessmaster: Jacques Beaulieu is a literal one who has never lost a chess game in decades. Maxime Lavoie, Rupert Archlax Senior also count, and possibly Michelle Beaulieu.
  • Continuity Overlap: Quize minutes is part of a five-book series called L'Orphéon. The five books in this series take place in a building (L'Orphéon) and the characters of each story meet some characters from the other series. As a result, Quinze minute is tamer than almost every other Senécal book out there.
  • Creepy Basement: Malphas. There's a smell that emanates from the entire building, and it comes from there.
    • Bone's and Chair's basement in Aliss has a lot of vivisected corpses hanging about.
    • Oniria. A scientific experiment is being conducted there...
  • Creepy Child: Anne Beaulieu and Gabriel, mostly.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: From the Malphas series, we have Simon Gracq as a heroic example, and Ginette Sardou as a villainous example. Simon is non-violent and refuses to kill, but once the situation gets bad, he prepares for action. As for Ginette Sardou, she's an overly nice store owner who also deals in drugs and firearms, and has a dog who always seem to be in heat. However, if you owe her money, she will HUNT YOU DOWN like the Terminator. Plus, she's way to good with firearms.
  • Covers Always Lie: No, 5150 rue des Ormes is not about giant chess pieces surrounding a house.
    • Oniria's story does happen mostly in a large place with no way to escape, but it's not exactly a maze.
  • Continuity Nod: Even though most of his books have very little in common for the main plot, sometimes characters or situations from books will be mentioned in other ones.
    • Which implies that all the books, with their horrible deaths and situations, are part of the same continuity...
    • Michelle Beaulieu, the secondary antagonist of 5150 rue des Ormes, is mentioned in Sur le seuil, is the main antagonist in Aliss, and is mentioned again in Le vide.
    • The situations from Le passager and Les sept jours du talion are mentioned in Le vide as well.
    • Recently, Michel Condé (AKA Mickey), a character from Aliss, appeared in Malphas: Torture, luxure et lecture.
    • "Vivre au Max" (Living To The Max), the reality show in Le vide, is mentioned in Quinze minutes.
  • Crapsack World: If all those stories happen in the same universe...
  • Creator Provincialism: He's from Quebec, Drummondville to be precise, and as a result all his works take place in Quebec, most of them in Drummondville.
  • Creepy Crows: In Malphas, which features the crow-demon himself. In the opening scenes of Malphas' first book, they attack an entire crowd of people during the inauguration of Malphas College.
  • Creepy Basement: Oniria, an experimental building where the dreams of psychopaths are studied... by bringing the characters from these dreams to life.
    • Bone's and Chair's basement in Aliss has a lot of corpses hanging about.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The victims in Le passager, lowered over exposed bicycle chains or submitted to different tortures by Alex.
    • Mathis Loz, one of the secondary villains of the Malphas series, has such an ending. It has to be read to be believed. It was caused by a spell botched by Loz himself. One after the other, he gets thrown around a room like he was a ball, then gets crucified at a wall, then a rat enters him by the anus and comes out by the mouth with a few of his organs... and then his head explodes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The most memorable is Julien Sarkozy, the protagonist of the Malphas series. He's the king of the trope. Though many characters, both in Malphas and in Senécal's other works, are deadpan snarkers.
    • Francis, Maxime Lavoie's best friend, was apparently quite the snarker. Maxime has never been as good.
  • Deal with the Devil: Appears in Sur le seuil, Oniria and in Malphas.
  • Denser and Wackier: The Malphas series.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: That's how Simon Gracq speaks in the Malphas series. His syntax is absolutely horrible, and he repeats every expression - and sometimes, word - twice. For some reason, smoking pot makes him speak normally, as long as he feels the effects.
  • Determinator: Most of the protagonists, whether it is Yannick Bérubé, Pierre Sauvé, Dave (in Oniria), Maxime (for a villainous example), and Julien Sarkozy.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mathis Loz was bullied in school... He proceeds to find magical ways to murder his aggressors.
  • Door Stopper: Mostly Le vide and Hell.Com.
  • Downer Ending: Lots.
    • 5150, rue des Ormes: The crazy father kills his little girl with a rifle, his wife hangs herself, the kid he was holding captive loses his mind and is eventually found by the psychopath daughter, who proceeds to castrate him. And she manages to get away with it.
    • Oniria: Everyone dies except for the main character and his psychopath "true" self.
    • Sur le Seuil: Most of the supporting cast is brutally murdered or commits suicide, taking with them a busload of innocents, and the main character is left tormented for the rest of his life. And Evil lives on.
    • Le Vide: Life was empty, is empty, and will keep on being empty.
  • Driven to Suicide: Too many to count, but Maude Beaulieu is the first example and one of the most poignant ones.
    • Pretty much one of the major details of Maxime's conspiracy in Le vide. He pushed lots of suicidal people to kill themselves after trying to live their deepest desires. It gets worse.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Zaboth, whatever kind of demon it is. Also Truk, though this one can also classify as a Humanoid Abomination depending on your point of view.
    • And of course Malphas, the crow demon.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Jacques Beaulieu loves his family dearly, for the most part, even if his love is sometimes twisted. After saving Gabriel, Maxime Lavoie took the mute as his own son.
  • Fantastic Drug: From Aliss, the Micros make one feel tiny and weak, the Macros make one feel giant and powerful (the size of the font even changes to reflect this from Aliss' point of view), and the Royales are ultra-strong aphrodisiacs. Unlike the two others, the Royales make a return in the Malphas series.
  • The Film of the Book: So far, we've got adaptations for 5150, Rue des Ormes, Sur le Seuil and Les Sept Jours du Talion. Other movies based on his oeuvres are in the works. For a while, there was also the web series La reine rouge (The Red Queen), detailing the journey of Michelle Beaulieu from her start in 5150, all the way to Aliss.
  • Freudian Excuse: Michelle Beaulieu was always treated as a boy by her father Jacques. He desperately wanted his first child to be a son. Well, his second child did, indeed, turn out to be a boy. The baby died at birth, thus triggering Jacques' Start of Darkness.
  • From Bad to Worse: Duh.
    • The instances of this happening in all books of the Malphas series are so frequent that you'd kill yourself making a drinking game out of it.
  • The Fundamentalist: Maude Beaulieu, from 5150 rue des Ormes, is the passive form of this. She's submissive to her husband, never questions his actions, and believes that all that is happening to her was a test of God. Sadly, it isn't, so she is Driven to Suicide.
  • Gorn: The books tend to fall into this sometimes. Both figuratively with excess gore, and literally, when sexual acts happen while the gore is taking place.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Rupert Archlax Jr., after he finally learned to man up and act against his father's sick experiment.
  • Heroic BSoD: It's implied to be what causes Yannick Bérubé to finally start seeing the world like his captor, Jacques Beaulieu, does. He goes out of it once realizes there is no chance of ever beating Jacques and make him see the error of his ways unless he keeps trying every single day. This cost him his sanity in the end.
    • Pierre Sauvé in Le vide witnesses a murderer of four and many of his colleagues getting shot by an odd commando while they were bringing said murderer to prison. A big part of his character arc in the book is him trying to overcome the resulting PTSD. Since he loves his work as a small town detective despite the dangers, he figured he would cure himself of it by solving this new crime.
    • Similarly in Malphas, after Remi Mortafer gets killed by Jingo Garganruel. Julien Sarkozy and Simon Gracq are incapable of doing anything for a while, except moping.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rachel Red. She's Rupert Archlax' daughter, but he didn't know. All the people with Archlax blood in them are protected by a spell, and would anyone harm them, the attacker would be killed by Malphas the crow demon. That second part of the deal? Not even an Archlax is safe from it. If an Archlax attacks or kills another, the murderous Archlax will be killed by Malphas. Rachel pushed Rupert Archlax Sr. into attacking her, but instead he fatally wounded her; and since Rachel was Archlax Sr.'s biological daughter (which he had with his mistress), Malphas appeared in the skies and killed Rupert Archlax Sr.
  • In Grande liquidation, we also have Remi Mortafer, who pretends knowing more than Julien Sarkozy about Rupert Archlax Sr.'s plans when Archlax and officer Garganruel come to his house while Julien and Simon are hiding. As a result, Garganruel snaps Remi's neck. As tragic as it may be, it ends up putting a lot of suspicion away from Julien, giving Simon and him more time to do their investigation.
  • Humanity Is Insane
  • Humanoid Abomination: Chess looks just like your everyday junkie, except his smile is unusually large... and then some things are revealed about him...
    • Truk and Eva, from Oniria. It's less obvious for Eva, considering at first she looks exactly like a human. Most of the dream-people from Oniria also count.
    • Justine Archlax, who was a grossly-deformed teenage girl thirty years prior to the events of the Malphas series. She didn't really change, but she sure became more vicious.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters
  • Infant Immortality: Sometimes, children survive the story. Still subverted in many cases, the most important example being in Aliss.
  • Ironic Hell: Daniel Saul in Hell.Com finds himself into one partway into the book. He starts off as a ruthless businessman, always unsure of who to trust on his projects, on the lookout for opponents among people of his wealth. After he breaks multiple rules of Hell.Com while looking for his son, the site puts a 10 million reward on his head. Now, he's lost almost everything he had. He doesn't know who to trust, he's on the lookout for people he once knew, as part of his clique of businessmen, who are now trying to kill him to get the reward - and of course, he has no way to know who is a member of Hell.Com ad who isn't. Best exemplified when his own lawyer turns on him.
  • The Jailer: Jacques Beaulieu for Yannick Bérubé, and Bruno Hamel for Antoine Lemaire ("the monster", because Hamel refuses to see him as a human being). Both cases are not straight examples, considering both jailers inflict quite a lot of harm on their prisoners.
  • Malevolent Masked Men, and women and children, dancing calmly to nonexistent ball music in Oniria. They force their victim to watch as they remove their mask. No one has ever seen their "faces", but everyone who saw them went insane. Ask Loner.
  • Meaningful Name: Daniel Saul, protagonist of Hell.Com (if you shorten his name, it sounds like "Damned Soul".) The one to bring him into the community of the titular website is Martin Charron - like Charon, the one who brings souls to Hell.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Maxime Lavoie, all the way. Organizes the deaths of over a thousand humans, mostly depressed, jaded people, but also a ton of innocent people.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Many Senécal protagonists who aren't college teachers are authors instead. And in some cases, they're both. In Malphas, he pokes fun of it, showng that Julien Sarkozy is both a relatively bad teacher and a horrible writer.
    • Most present in L'autre reflet, where most of the first 100 pages are about the whole creative process behind writing a book, and then seeing the marketing, reviews and public opinion unfold, followed by the stress of making a new book afterwards.
  • Narm: Patrick Senécal admitted he tried not to fall into this, as going too far in his descriptions of violence and gore will cut the reader's Willing Suspension of Disbelief, by which point it would become ridiculous.
    • Invoked with Malphas; Patrick Senécal has said that he can go the extra mile because the series is more comedic, in contrast to the serious horror contained in many of his other works. As a result, Malphas contains a heavier dose of Narm.
  • No Export for You: At the moment, only one of his books has been translated to English: Contre Dieu, retitled Against God.
  • Oneparagraph Chapter: Contre Dieu (Against God) is over 100 pages of this. Only a few cuts here and there for dialog. Otherwise, it is one paragraph from beginning to end. It gets better: Dialog cuts aside, the entire book is only one sentence.
  • Police Are Useless: Averted in many books. In 5150 rue des Ormes, the police forces are competent but the protagonist has become so obsessed over his game with his enemy that he doesn't go to them.
    • In Daresbury, in Aliss, there's no police forces.
    • In Le vide, the police forces are very competent, but the situation goes way beyond their capabilities. We follow the life of a town sergeant-detective who starts off trying to solve a passionate quadruple murder but ends up finding more and more about a large-scale operation.
    • In Malphas, the police force of Saint-Trailouin is inept because bribed, and no police forces from outside the town will ever go there due to the series' Big Bad also bribing his way out.
  • Psychic Powers: Zoe Zazz, in the Malphas series, gets premonitory visions when she smokes pot. No, really.
  • Psychological Horror: No, ya think?
  • Psycho Psychologist: Frederic Ferland, the oft-forgotten Triteragonist of Le vide. Paul Lacasse, from Sur le seuil, is a subversion; on multiple occasions does he get close to becoming this due to treating Thomas Roy and his investigations, but he resists. The same cannot be said of his coworkers at the psychiatric ward...
  • Punny Name: Saint-Trailouin, from the Malphas series. Trailouin is a contracted version of the French phrase "très loin", which means "very far away". And indeed, Saint-Trailouin is very far away from just about every major city.
  • Reality Ensues: One of the key points of Le vide: After the contestants on the reality TV show Living to the Max have done their stunt or had their greatest dream come true, they felt the emptiness inside, with certainty that they would never be able to achieve anything so great ever again, and thus they all feel depressed. The cases depicted go the extra mile; a feminist wanting to prove women can be better than men defeats a whole lot of men on a ring, and then gets attacked after the show by a bunch of men who rape her and cut her. She ends up committing suicide. A less extreme example from the same book has a couple getting to have sex with a pornstar; the man's father applauds and congratulates his son, while the woman's parents wonder, with a touch of sadness, where did they fail in their education for their daughter to turn out like this.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Yannick Bérubé when he contemplates escaping the titular 5150, Elms, Way, regardless of who he has to kill to achieve that goal. He never carries through, though.
    • Maxime Lavoie breathes this trope. Angered at all of mankind, his plan involves finding deeply depressed people who have also noticed the emptiness of life, giving them weapons, and then giving a signal during his show after which these people will shoot anyone near them. A province-wide rampage that lasts minutes and causes the deaths of over 250 people. The worst part? He isn't arrested fast enough and has enough time to give the signal.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Once in a while, this pops up, whether it's crow motifs around Malphas College or a little child named Gabriel. That latter gets subverted. In some cases, a book will evoke one image repeatedly and go back to it every once in a while, after an important plot event happened. An example is the two doors from Sur le Seuil.
  • Rule of Three: Johnny Net, the main character of Quinze Minutes, is dared to create a video for a client, a video that promotes intelligent thought. However, there are three traps he has to avoid. He falls in all three of them. For the record, the three traps are Hatred, Elitism and Intolerance.
  • Serial Killer: Some psychopaths in these stories have amassed an impressive body count, from Jacques Beaulieu (16) to Loner (about 30) to Maxime Lavoie (through shooting-and-suicide pacts: 1000!). Though, seeing as these are suspense or horror stories, all the antagonists kill at least a few people.
  • Skeleton Key: Julien steals one from the Fudds during his investigation at Malphas college. It comes in handy a lot of times... well, except for code locks. Naturally, the villains pick up on this and start installing code locks everywhere.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Most of the time on the very end of the cynical side. Most villains are very cynical people. Some, such as Maxime Lavoie, even began as very idealistic. Usually, the book will explain this change. The situation isn't much better for the protagonists.
  • Spanner in the Works: Jacques Beaulieu's plan was going smoothly... until Yannick Bérubé came to his house and discovered everything. It all goes downhill from there.
    • Similarly in Le vide: Maxime Lavoie's plan is well under way, nothing could stop him... and then Pierre Sauvé, a small-town detective, starts finding stuff.
    • Julien Sarkozy was just the new teacher at Malphas college. He made the first discoveries by accident, and discovered more and more about the operation led by Rupert Archlax Sr.
  • Spoiler Title: The whole Malphas series; anyone with the least bit of knowledge in demonology will recognize that name...
  • Something Completely Different: The two children's horror books, Sept comme setteur and Madame Wenham.
    • Quinze minutes has a bit of sex, some violence, and things descend into chaos, but no one ever dies.
  • Stealth Sequel: Il y aura des morts isn't advertised as one, but its main plot has a lot to do with [[the website Hell.Com, prominently featured in a previous book by the same author]].
  • Stepford Suburbia: Kadpidi from Faims starts off as this, although it's very well-hidden. It gets worse by the end.
  • Sue Donym: All the carnival folks in Faims prefer to go by nicknames. One of the girls in the group, who goes by the name Regina, is actually an aged Michelle Beaulieu. "Regina" is "Queen" in Latin.
  • Surreal Horror: Mostly Oniria, Aliss and Malphas.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted... but sometimes they're just as crazy as their patients.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The stance taken by the more cynical main characters regarding a large part of humanity. Although the one who believes this trope the most is Maxime Lavoie. Aware of all the horrifying things that happen in the world, he tries to enlighten people and make them think about the situations that need to be denounced. He soon realizes people would rather watch tasteless crap, stupid soaps and even stupider reality shows, than care about the rest of the world and its problems. This general indifference sickens him, and multiple encounters with the horrors of mankind lead Maxime into wishing mankind would just disappear. Thus he sells off his shares and creates a reality show where everyone would have a chance at realizing their greatest dream. As he figured, most people wished for selfish things. In the end, his scheme leads to many depressed people who applied for his show to grab firearms and, during the final episode of the show's second season, Maxime tells all these depressed people to shoot everyone around them. That's how Living To The Max leads to the death of over 1,000 people.
    • In Quinze minutes, Johnny Net, who helps people finding their "fifteen minutes of fame" through the Internet, has his clients pass a few tests which let him judge their intelligence and level of culture. It's implied he helps everyone get their "fifteen minutes", but the resulting product is as intelligent as the client. Thus we get a woman "reviewing" (more like "praising") crappy films on Internet while dressed in revealing or skimpy clothes. Or a trucker making videos where he's testing truck stop bathrooms.
  • Torture Porn: Les sept jours du talion is all about this.
    • Scenes from many other books count, such as the scene with Bone and Chair in Aliss, or the scene with Jeff on the cross in Oniria...
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Saint-Trailouin, which appears normal... but is the home residence of the crow demon Malphas, magic is very much real, vile things are going on in the college's basement, there's an old witch living just outside of town, and none of the higher police forces can go there.
  • Villainous Rescue: A recurring case in Senécal books, oddly enough. Probably to emphasize that most of the villains are not complete monsters.
    • Jacques Beaulieu saves Yannick, once from his own Ax-Crazy daughter, another time from freezing in a lake. Both cases took place as Yannick was trying to escape.
    • Bone and Chair save Aliss from Mickey and Minnie.
    • Suffering from severe blood loss, Julien Sarkozy is brought to a hospital. Rupert Archlax Jr. is the only one around who has matching blood type. Therefore, Julien ends up having some Archlax blood in his veins.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: In 5150, rues des Ormes, Jacques Beaulieu repeatedly justifies his abuse of Yannick this way.
  • Writing Against Type: Senécal has written two books for children, Sept comme Setteur and Madame Wenham. Also, the Malphas series is a lot more comedic than his other books.

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