A Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Reviewed in the United States on January 4, 2022

Charles F. French’s debut novel, Maledicus, is the first in The Investigative Paranormal Society series. The Society is comprised of three long-time friends, who couldn’t be more different from one another: Sam, a retired police officer, Jeremy, a retired antiques dealer, and Roosevelt, a retired history professor. Their common bond is a compelling interest in life after death. Each man has lost a loved one before his or her time, so their interest in the paranormal is not idle or academic curiosity. The stakes are high, and they’re very personal.

Before we meet Sam, Jeremy, and Roosevelt, the novel opens in ancient Rome with the introduction of one Lucius Antony Caius, a trusted advisor and procuror for the Emperor Caligula. For his own treachery, debauchery, and torture of innocents, he is known as Maledicus. He will become the evil entity with whom the Investigative Paranormal Society must do battle. And an evil one he is!

My favorite parts of the novel were the scenes set in ancient Rome with Maledicus. Anyone who thinks he could be a match for the evil (and insane) Emperor Caligula immediately has my attention. In addition, these scenes were well-researched and executed (pardon the pun).

I was surprised that Caligula dispatched Maledicus so quickly–although I probably shouldn’t have been, given Caligula’s reputation. However, I would like to have spent a bit more time with Maledicus in his earthly incarnation before he was sent howling into the netherworld.

The Investigative Paranormal Society are brought in when Maledicus sets his sights on the five-year-old niece of a local teacher. He proves an intractable enemy for Sam, Jeremy, and Roosevelt, as well as the people they enlist in their fight. In fact, there were several times I was genuinely shocked by what Maledicus did, which for me was one of the biggest strengths of the novel. Although shocking, the horror was not gratuitous or stomach-churning.

I would recommend Maledicus to readers who enjoy horror, the paranormal, and the question of the difference between an evil person and an evil spirit–which I found a fascinating one as I read the novel. If a person can be truly evil, how can this evil outlive its corporeal existence?

Thank you to Elizabeth Gauffreau!

Please be sure to visit her site: lizgauffreau.com

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Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau: A Review


telling sonny

Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a poignant, bittersweet, and powerful novel of love, loss, and an exploration of both New England and the vaudeville circuit in the first half of the 20th Century. She shows the reader a world that few have known personally and of which few are aware, and she draws the reader into that world seemingly effortlessly.

Gauffreau skillfully tells the story of Faby Gauthier and her life in Vermont both during and after she met, was seduced, and married a dancer named Slim White on stage and Louis Kittell in his real life. Sonny is a selfish man who uses his sophistication to take Faby’s virginity and impregnate her. At this time, for a girl with a child on the way, this was a difficult situation. Gauffreau handles the story beautifully. It is neither overly sentimental nor it is maudlin. Gauffreau weaves her story and tells us the lives of people and how they survive.

Gauffreau, through excellent dialogue and description, creates this past world and in an historical and literary novel, pulls the reader into the tale and makes us care about Gaby and her son.

Gaby is faced with having to tell her grown son who is waiting for his wedding that his father, who abandoned them is now dead from a car accident. Gauffreau adds this layer of tension to this novel and does it quietly and with precision and care.

This is a tale of quiet strength and desperation, of love and abandonment, and of death and life. It is a novel of family, of connection, and ultimately of love.

Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a sweet, lovely, insightful, and compelling novel, and I give it my highest recommendation.