Monday, July 2, 2007

"Harm None" by M. R. Sellars

This is quite the surprise! This poor little book was in the box o' books sent over a year ago by the Bookbabe's little sis, and has sat languishing on my dining room table. In an effort to put myself back on the right track, I've been making a very concerted effort to read everything that was "waiting" on me, and to not pick up/reserve anything new. Well, ya'll know what that means - the box o' books needed serious attention! As you probably remember, I recently reviewed The Bast Books from that box, and have now moved on to this little gem. Let me just tell ya'll, I LOVE it when a book is this good, leaving me anxious to read the next in the series!

Rowan Gant is a Witch and so is his wife, Felicity. Rowan's "day job" is working on computer stuff from home, and his wife is a photographer. They live with their two dogs and three cats. They lead a fairly peaceful existence until the day their friend, homicide detective Ben Storm, shows up with some disturbing crime scene photos. He needs Rowan's help to determine if a murder was done by a person practicing the Craft, a psycho, or someone who just happens to be both. Worse for Rowan and Felicity is that they know the deceased, Ariel Tanner; she was a student of Rowan's several years back.

Ben isn't entirely sure of Rowan's religion, but he knows that he trusts Rowan more than he does the "professional" called in by the Major Case Squad. Rowan soon realizes that the killer is practicing for a specific ritual, and with each murder is getting closer to his "finale". The suspects include members of Ariel's coven, including a young man named R.J. who may or may not have had a crush on Ariel. There's the member they just ousted from the coven for performing an animal sacrifice; Devon is number one on Rowan's list of suspects for just that reason. Wiccans may seem like devil worshippers to most of the world, but Rowan knows one of the first laws of Wicca is "harm none" - and that would definitely make animal sacrifice a big no-no.

The suspense grows as Rowan visits each crime scene (there are two more murders after Ariel, each grislier yet more precise). One of the skills that he's honed during his practice of the Craft is a lot like what psychics do - he can "see" what the deceased saw in her last moments. Some of the things he "sees" help the police get closer to the killer, but it comes at a price. Rowan suffers from extreme headaches and nightmares, especially when he realizes that the killer plans to kill a child for his last sacrifice; the killer needs someone pure and virginal, and Rowan is afraid he'll kidnap a young girl. Rowan is right, of course, and it becomes a race to not only find the killer, but also rescue the young kidnap victim.

Don't let the fact that Rowan and Felicity are practicing Wiccans put you off this book. The writing is excellent, the plot is very well-written, the character development is great, and there's not a lot of "woo-woo" stuff, as some of the cops put it. Actually, I thought the Wicca element was handled very well, and it should be - Sellars does professional talks about the subject, trying to teach people what Wicca is and isn't. I'm not sure about Rowan's pseudo-psychic abilities, but then again, there are people out there who believe we can access unused parts of our brain and train them to do just about anything we want them to do. Science doesn't know everything, so I guess it's possible. I just really enjoyed this book immensely and can't wait to find out if my little sis has the other books!

Check out Rowan today!

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