Posted by: Nyxks | November 11, 2007

All Acts of Pleasure

All Acts of Pleasure (Book Seven in the Rowan Gant Investigations)
by M. R. Sellars © 2006
Willow Tree Press
ISBN 0-9678221-3-0
335 pages
Paperback
$14.99 (U.S.)
This book is due to hit store shelves about Samhain of this year. Look for it, or go to the website http://www.willowtreepress.com) to order a copy.
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

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 Christina 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.

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