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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review: Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation + GIVEAWAY!

What Book Is That Giveaway Carnival!

Harm None: A Rowan Gant InvestigationTitle: Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation
Author: M.R. Sellars
Page Count: 1342 KB
Publisher: Willow Tree Press
Genre: paranormal police procedural, first in a series
Copy for review provided by the publisher in anticipation of an honest review

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 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.

I had to create a genre name for this book to adequately define the experience of reading it, as this book is the first of its kind that I've come across.  Harm None perfectly marries the paranormal (in the sense that the bad guy in this case believes himself to have powers and abilities that surpass that which we can observe with our senses) and police procedural novels, yielding a story that was intriguing, exciting and educational all at the same time.  It's urban fantasy but more grounded, still fantastical but without the fantasy element.  Rowan does with his faith and religious practices what other characters do with their genetic mutations or supernatural powers.

Rowan Gant is a practicing Witch, along with his wife, Felicity. He knows full well the kind of prejudice and yellow journalism that inevitably comes into play whenever the words "cult" and "Satanic" and "ritual murder" get thrown around or mentioned in the paper, and he wants to protect his religion and his community from that kind of scandal.  In truth, WitchCraft is about a connection with nature and the surrounding world, about center and balance; Rowan knows that none of those messages will ever see the light of day if people think that all Witches are the same or that all rituals or practices are conducted for the same reason.

When Rowan has a chance to work with Detective Ben Storm, a homicide detective who also happens to be his best friend, to sort out the religiously based details of a horrific crime from the distractors, he jumps at the chance, due to his strong belief in using his powers for the good of the world.  He doesn't anticipate that the case will be as bloody or as personally resonant as it is, but once Rowan starts an investigation, he's determined to see it through to the end.

The case quickly becomes complex, and the killer shows no signs of stopping as more murders take place.  Rowan has to combat skepticism and outright animosity from less enthusiastic members of the police department while he deals with the increasingly more vivid visuals of the murders.  The killer is practicing his skills on each successive victim, and the skills get more horrific as we go along.

My favorite part of the book was the unique and different personality that each character possessed.  Even as Rowan and his wife, Felicity, have to deal with a deeply personal tragedy, we see each person in the story receiving and processing the news in their own way.  Every character has a unique voice, and even when familiar story elements are used to move the plot along, the characters' individuality is never sacrificed, which is refreshing.

This is a great introduction to what promises to be a highly entertaining series.  I'm glad I got the chance to get started from the beginning.

Willow Tree Press has been super awesome in offering up TWO amazing prizes for this giveaway!  For U.S. residents, there is a full print set of every single title in the Rowan Gant series autographed by the author!  For international residents, there is a full digital set of every single title in the Rowan Gant series!

To enter, fill out the form below!  Then, don't forget to comment on this post saying you entered the Rowan Gant giveaway for an added shot at the $25 Amazon gift card!
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