Review of Maledicus, Charles French. CreateSpace, 2016.
If you like the horror genre, you will enjoy Maledicus, as it gives you the creepy activity around the edges and the throughline hunt for the demonic villain that you expect from a tale of horror. I am not a typical fan of the genre, and for me it had its flaws. There are times when the pace is too fast, as when French tells us of Maledicus’s evil traits on the first page instead of gradually showing us and letting the chill build. There are times when the pace is too slow, as in some of the chapters devoted to the backstory of the coterie of elderly heroes who hunt Maledicus out in his modern incarnation. The prose style varies from excellent, and French clearly has good range and facility with the language, to repetitive, with the occasional redundant sentence or typo or overworked adverb (“gently,” “softly”). One gets the sense that French is a very promising writer who is still honing his style.
Despite the flaws, though, I enjoyed the story and always looked forward to picking up where I left off. French is at his best when he is in the reign of Caligula, showing a comfortable command of historical detail and creating a vivid sense of time and place. And even when he is not at his best, the story continues to engage. For readers of horror fiction, I would give the book 3.5 to 4 stars, for readers of literary fiction and other curious bibliophiles, 3.
Reviewed by the author of Hippies