What Amazon says
History always makes an impact on the present. Retired homicide detective Sam Sadlowski faces his personal history and fears as well as living and dead enemies.
Gallows Hill is the second book in The Investigative Paranormal Society series. I have read the first book, Maledicus, so I was engaged with the characters in this book before I started it. In Maledicus, I quickly became very attached to the main character, Roosevelt or Rosy to his friends, and also to Helena, the little girl who becomes the focus of Maledicus’ evil intentions.
In this second book, a different member of the society is central to the story and we get an opportunity to learn the backstory of Sam which, intriguingly, ties in with the central themes and story of Gallows Hill.
Sam is a retired detective who lost his only son, Josh, to suicide ten years earlier. His son’s death destroyed his marriage and Sam lives alone. He has never recovered from Josh’s suicide and carries a burden of guilt that is threatening to destroy him.
The author is exceptionally good at character building and his depiction of Sam and his emotions and motivations are captivating. I quickly grew to love Sam and was thoroughly invested in his life.
The story has a dual theme, the first being the chronic illness of his friend and colleague’s daughter, Maria, and the ultimate revelation of the circumstances surrounding Josh’s death and the second, is the investigation by the society of rumours of a ghostly presence at an abandoned steel mill on the outskirts of town. The two themes are cleverly woven together to create a satisfying and clever story.
The ghostly presence, Ebeneezer Schwarznacht, is horribly depraved and his portrayal was reminiscent for me of the men behind the Salem witch trials. I find the evil embodied in this type of personality, pious and self righteous, is far more frightening than the concept of a demon as it represents real people and real happens rather than fantasy. It is chilling to think of killers who are totally entrenched in their belief that they have a divine right to judge others and take away their lives.
The author does a great job of running the two themes in parallel with clever overlaps and then tying them both together with some great twists at the end.
This is an excellent and chilling story and I would recommend this book to lovers of horror and supernatural stories.