By Mark Combs
Title: Harm None
Author: M. R. Sellars
Series or Standalone: The Rowan Gant Investigations – Book 1
THE WITCH AND THE DEAD…
They say dead men tell no tales. I really wish that was true, because the dead tell me more than I ever wanted to know.
My name is Rowan Gant. I’m just an average guy…well, except for the fact that I’m a Witch. That last part is the reason I’m the go-to-guy for the local cops whenever a murder is a little beyond the pale and they need a consultant with knowledge of the Occult. I didn’t actually want the job, but apparently the job wanted me.
It all started when I was asked to decipher some symbols found at a crime scene. The police needed answers, and as it turns out so did I. You see, fate being what it is I had a personal connection to the victim when she was still among the living. It gets worse, though… The images in the crime scene photos gave me a sick feeling that the killer wasn’t finished. I could see—even feel—what was coming next, and it was not going to be good.
In fact, it was going to be downright evil…
Rowan Gant is a different kind of crime fighter. Outwardly, he appears to be an everyday sort of guy. He’s married and he works with computers. However, he is also a Witch – a practicing Wiccan. When he is called upon to help the local police with a bizarre crime scene, he realizes that he knows the victim, who also happens to be Wiccan. What follows is a series of ritualistic killings that baffle the police and the FBI. To make matters worse, there aren’t many working on the case who take Rowan or his Wiccan beliefs seriously. He is mocked by police officers, and by the press.
The book moves at a pace that keeps the reader engaged and interested, and there didn’t seem to be any fluff. The author did a nice job of providing the reader with information about Wicca without sounding like a Wikipedia article.
Character development left a little to be desired. Rowan Gant seemed an infallible character – all-knowing, never wrong, and never possessing any self-doubt. Perhaps more is revealed in subsequent novels in the Rowan Gant series.
I also didn’t like the friction between the local cops and the FBI. This is not unique to Mr. Sellars. It’s a clichéd plot device that is overused by even the best of writers.
Finally, I found the dialogue attribution to be a distraction throughout the book. Attributions such as “he intoned,” “he expressed,” and “she queried” drew my eye from the story, and broke my reading flow. I am a firm believer in “he said,” “she said,” etc.
Those things being said, I still found Harm None to be a very enjoyable book and will look for more from M. R. Sellars.