Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Reviewer received an advance reading copy from the author 


FOR THE PEOPLE OF HULIS, MISSOURI, THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS ARE HELL... On December 22nd, 1975, something unthinkable happened in the small, northern Midwest town of Hulis, Missouri-something so heinous that it turned the holidays into a waking nightmare. Now, 35 years later, it's happening all over again, and for those involved, Christmas will never be the same... In The Bleak Midwinter marks the first full-length novel spin-off from the Rowan Gant Investigations series. Featuring FBI Special Agent Constance Mandalay, a recurring character from the RGI books, In The Bleak Midwinter explores a 35 year old case that has literally come back to haunt a small town in Northern Missouri.

If you think you have read this story because you read “Merrie Axemas”, the short story M.R. Sellars put out last year for the holidays, STOP!  This incorporates “Merrie Axemas”, but takes it to a whole new level.   I admit (reluctantly) that I actually looked up the town to see if it existed (had I read the back of the book first I would not have bothered).  OK!  I did, but I can see where he got his small town from after taking the long way home from a trip to see family in the suburbs of Chicago.  It could be any number of small towns we went through. 

I really like the small town concept.  The sheriff of Hulis was truly believable. Having come from a very small town in central Illinois, the small town “vibe” was dead on.  Everyone does know everyone, and it can be like one large family.  I know where I grew up if I did something I shouldn’t have on the other side of town, my mom would know by the time I got back home. 

Constance Mandalay -- I love her in the Rowan Gant books, and she truly comes to life in this story. She has always come across as a voice of reason in the RGI novels. In  In The Bleak Midwinter, she needs to use all of her skill to solve this coldest of cold cases.  Although she has been the voice of reason in the past, her experience has taught her that reason alone is not always the way to solve a case.  Mr. Sellars adds enough twists and turns that it keeps you riveted till the very last page.

One of the principal underlying themes is child abuse. Child abuse is a major “squick" for me.  While it was difficult at times to read even the indirect action, it is handled so well that I was able to enjoy the story.

If you like psychological thrillers laced with paranormal events, if you enjoy great writing, then whether or not you have read the short story the novel is based upon, you will thoroughly enjoy every moment of this book.

In The Bleak Midwinter gets a 5 of 5 star rating 

RGI Series

1. Harm None (2000)
2. Never Burn a Witch (2001)
3. Perfect Trust (2002)
4. The Law of Three (2003)
5. Crone's Moon (2004)
6. Love Is the Bond (2005)
7. All Acts of Pleasure (2006)
8. The End of Desire (2007)
9. Blood Moon (2008)
10. Miranda (2010)

Come find out more about M R Sellars at: or visit his blog at  and at Facebook


  1. I want to go buy this book now. Just need to get a bookcase so it has a home, and some money spare for books... hehe

  2. The synopsis started dragging me in but it was the review which had me sit up more.

    Looking forward to getting the whole series!

  3. Wooooo this sounds scary! I'll read it, but someone has to hold my hand...