Time to catch up with my Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge. I have declared for the “Mother” level–11-15 books about witches and witchcraft–but I am shooting for “Crone” status. That’s two witchy books a month through the rest of 2012.
*Regarding the problem of “its/it’s,” Murv’s comment below:
You must have one of the “accidents.”
Long story short, the initial print run was inadvertently done with the ARC files instead of the final edited files….Harm None is actually now in its sixth printing – with the CORRECTED files, of course .
Of note, the mass market edition has now gone out of print and very few copies remain. HN will be re-launched this year in Trade Paperback format to conform with the profile of the later books in the RGI series. [I guess that makes my signed copy more valuable! Thanks, Mu, for setting me straight.]
My first witchy book for April is Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation by M.R. Sellars.
Let me begin by saying I know Murv Sellars casually, and I like him a lot. A resident of the St Louis area, Murv did a presentation for the Peoria Public Library’s Mystery Readers Book Club back on Sunday, September 16, 2001–yep, five days after the Twin Towers went down. His second book, Never Burn a Witch, had come out in May. By coincidence it was Mabon and Pagan Pride weekend.
Now, Peoria loves mystery writers! It was the adopted home of Dorothy Cannell, and between Dorothy, mystery mavin Maggie Nelson, who was PR director for the Peoria Public Library, the PPL mystery book club, and House of Books on Prospect Ave in the Heights, we had in those days a remarkable parade of well-known writers.
Murv was definitely not a well-known author. Both books were very small, independent press (if not to say self-published)–which is not at all uncommon today, what with crowd-sourcing, e-books, and print-on-demand, but back then it was still suspect… But Murv and Harm None were in the right place at the right time. The room was packed. The Pagan community came out, the mystery readers came out, and so did regular folks who had read the little note in the Peoria Journal Star. One couple had brought their pre-teen daughter who was curious about Wicca. Us Pagan folk had been prepared for potential hostility, but Murv was charming and entertaining, and the audience was enthusiastic…
All of this is my way of creeping up on the actual book review: production-wise the books are high quality, with beautiful, recycled, acid-free paper and a font that is a pleasure to read. Willow Tree Press definitely had high standards…
But, oh, they needed an editor! If the consistent misuse/abuse of “it’s/its” makes you crazy, then you probably won’t get past the first chapter. And the dialog between Rowan Gant, our software specialist/Wiccan Priest/amateur sleuth and his police buddy, Native American Detective Ben Storm…well. might make you squirm a bit… But, damn, I like this book anyway! I like the characters, I like the St. Louis location, I liked the magic. From Barnes & Noble:
MURDEROUS SATAN WORSHIPPING WITCHES
When a young woman is ritualistically murdered in her Saint Louis apartment with the primary clue being a pentacle scrawled in her own blood, police are quick to dismiss it as a cult killing. Not one for taking things at face value, city homicide detective Ben Storm calls on his long time friend, Rowan Gant– a modern day practicing Witch– for help.
In helping his friend, Rowan discovers that the victim is one of his former pupils. Even worse, the clues that he helps to uncover show that this murder is only a prelude to even more ritualistic bloodletting for dark purposes.
As the body count starts to rise, Rowan is suddenly thrust into an investigation where not only must he help stop a sadistic serial killer, but also must fight the prejudices and suspicions of those his is working with– including his best friend.
So relax, settle down in a comfy chair, get a refreshing beverage, and let Murv tell you a story. I think you’ll enjoy Harm None.
You can check out the other April Witches and Witchcraft reviews here.
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