MORE THAN JUST A GHOST STORY
Three old guys enter a haunted house. While this sounds like the setup for a poor joke, it is actually the plot of author Charles F. French’s Maledicus, the first installment of The Investigative Paranormal Society trilogy. In my humble opinion, Maledicus is much more than a poorly written joke; it is a tale of love, good vs. evil, and bravery.
Roosevelt Franklin—yes, his parents seemed to have a sense of humor—spearheads the I.P.S. in, well, “ghost-hunting.” Ghost-busting will not occur until much later in the novel. Readers are first exposed to the I.P.S. as they explore a supposedly-haunted house. Not Helen’s house in which the evil, Roman spirit Maledicus resides, but another estate. French quickly establishes the unbreakable bond between the trio, their competency as a group, and what binds them all together—death. Roosevelt, Sam, and Jeremy have all lost a loved one, and they all are morbidly fascinated in the afterlife as a means to believe that said loved ones are still existing somewhere, even if it is just their souls. Likewise, 40 year old Helen, high school teacher and guardian to her niece Helena, also grieves the loss of her sister and brother-in-law, hiring the I.P.S. when her niece begins to complain about “the bad man” causing her harm.
In a similar vein as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this group of unlikely knights are forced to battle their inner demons—guilt, trauma, doubt, etc.—and Maledicus. Without accidentally spoiling the novel, I can confidently say that the ending is worth the read. Few books offer such satisfaction while also setting up the next book in the series—Gallows Hill, this time revolving around Sam. (I plan to buy the book on my Kindle Fire, it wasn’t required for class, but I am interested to discover what happens next!)
Although it is now early November and most Americans have their hearts set on Christmas, I think Maledicus is still a great read for any point of the year. You will enjoy this band of “old fart” as they call themselves, I promise!