Harm None – M.R. Sellars

Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation
M.R. Sellars
Willowtree Press, 2000
380 pages

My husband, Taylor, turned me on to Sellars’ works last year. I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Sellars at the fall ’06 Gathering of the Tribes in Virginia, and between that and Taylor’s insistence I decided to take a break from all the nonfiction. Good choice!

I really enjoyed how Sellars wove Wicca with real-life situations. Rowan, the protagonist of this book, is a solitary Wiccan (at least at the time of the story) with his wife, Felicity, who is also Wiccan. (I suppose you could have a coven of two.) Anyway, there’s no huge fireworks–no fireballs, or flying through the air, or anything like that. The magic that does happen manifests itself primarily psychologically though to someone sensitive enough a strong piece of magic can manifest itself through a physical reaction. So pretty realistic.

The story itself is good P.R. for Wiccans in general. You have the stereotypically feared human sacrifice (though not carried out in a stereotypical fashion) and the locals automatically pointing to witches. Enter Rowan, who is an open spokesperson for the Wiccan religion. In this book, Sellars uses the character of Rowan to dispel some of the common myths about Wicca, which is a definite boon as plenty of non-Wiccans are sure to pick this one up.

In addition, the characters are human–even the cops. Everybody has something to them below the surface, or at least that potential. Some characters, no doubt, will be explored further in the series, but I really like Sellars’ ability to create people in his story. He also does a wonderful job of causing the “whodunit” needle to point to a number of suspects, rather than focusing on the chasing down of one.

Highly, highly recommended for a good, fast read on a Saturday afternoon, or something fun to take with you to work for breaktime–or any time else you want a well-written, entertaining read.

Five pawprints out of five.

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