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A member of the ITW (International Thriller Writers), M. R. Sellars is a relatively unassuming homebody who, in his own words, considers himself just a “guy with a lot of nightmares and a word processing program.” Legend has it he started making up stories to entertain a stuffed bear during his single digit years, then began writing them down sometime around his early teens when the growing catalogue of fiction started causing him to experience migraines. Although he had several short stories and newspaper articles published during his early adult life, it wasn’t until 2000 that his first full-length novel, Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation, hit bookstore shelves, officially launching the acclaimed paranormal thriller series.
Sellars says that the biggest adjustment he has had to make with his writing career is coping with the time spent away from his family while traveling on promotional tours. Still, he approaches the necessity of public appearances with the same humorously deadpan and satirical wit that he applies to life in general, stating, “As long as I have an RC Cola and a bag of peanuts, I’m all good, Bubba.”
All of the current novels in Sellars’ continuing Rowan Gant Investigations saga have spent several consecutive weeks on numerous bookstore bestseller lists as well as a consistent showing on the Amazon.com Horror/Occult top 100. In 2010 a short e-novella featuring a supporting character from the RGI cast spawned a new series, The Special Agent Constance Mandalay Novels, the first in the spinoff being IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER, which hit the streets November 2011.
Sellars currently resides in the Midwest with his incomparably amazing wife, equally fantastic daughter, and a pair of felines he describes as, “the competition.” At home, when not writing or taking care of the household, he indulges his passions for cooking and hanging out with friends. In order to satisfy his lifelong dream of being a satirical humor columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper, twice each week he removes his glasses, dons blue tights and a red cape, then blogs about the incredibly bizarre world that is his life as a writer, husband, and father. It has been said that his blog articles sometimes blur the line between fiction and reality. To that Sellars responds, “What line?”
M. R. Sellars can be located on the web wherever there is a virtual bar serving virtual single malt Scotch, single barrel bourbon, good Irish whisky, and decent beer. In other words, look for him on the major social networking sites.
on Feb. 19, 2012 :
All Acts of Pleasure (Book Seven in the Rowan Gant Investigations) by M. R. Sellars © 2006 Willow Tree Press eBook $2.99 (U.S.)
I have an almost iron-clad rule when it comes to reviewing books. Unless a review is time-sensitive, or I have a particular request for a review, books get reviewed in the order I receive them. This book almost made me break my own rule. I had just started reading another book, when an Advanced Reader’s Copy of All Acts of Pleasure arrived in my mail box. I have thoroughly enjoyed the “Rowan Gant Investigations” series to date, so I almost jumped right into this one. Then I decided, “No, I’ll do the other review first and I can have this one for dessert in a few days.”
This book, the second in what is being called “The Miranda Trilogy”, picks up where the previous book left off. If you have not read (at least) that book in this series (Love is the Bond), you are going to be playing catch-up throughout much of the first part of this book. I’ll try to help you out a bit, but trust me – you need to read Love is the Bond to fully appreciate this book.
Rowan Gant is a consultant for the St. Louis (Missouri) Police Department Major Case Squad. His wife Felicity is a professional photographer, who sometimes freelances for the police department as a crime scene photographer. Rowan is a computer security consultant and programmer. He communicates psychically with people who have, usually, died a violent death. His wife has now been implicated in at least one (and possibly two or more) violent deaths and an assault. She was apparently possessed by a Voodoo Lwa at the time. Oh, did I forget to mention that both Rowan and Felicity are Wiccan? And that one of the senior officers on the Major Case Squad is a fundamentalist Christian who is looking for an excuse to lock up either or both of them. And that…well, you get the idea. So read the previous book(s) already!
I read the first six books in this series about nine and a half months ago, so I was fully expecting to feel slightly out of the story for a bit, but as soon as I started reading, I was right back in the flow and felt as if I had just pout down the previous volume. That impressed me more than almost anything.
There is a flow and a believability to these stories which make it seem less like a novel and more like friends sitting down to catch up on what has been happening in their lives. Although you could never consider the events related in this book as common-place, to someone in the occult community they have a distinct tang of the possible.
The one disadvantage to these stories (and this one in particular) is that it really isn’t possible to set it down and walk away from it for any length of time. I enjoy well-written fiction; I like to savor it, but this story grabbed me and dragged me along. Any attempt at reading a little at a time was doomed to failure.
The Lwa inhabiting the killer’s body is also capable of affecting Felicity is a similar way. Why this is happening is the sixty four thousand dollar question. Sure, Felicity is a Witch, but she has never been involved with Voodoo. Some of the evidence found at the crime scenes implicates Felicity’s sister. The only problem is that she doesn’t have a sister and never has.
I won’t spoil the story by giving any more details. Suffice it to say that, as well as being a “whodunit” this is also a “WHO? dunnit?” As always, my regret with this book is that I will have to wait until 2007 for The End of Desire, the final book in the “Miranda Trilogy,” and book number eight in the Rowan Gant Investigations series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)