In The Bleak Midwinter-M.R. Sellars

In The Bleak Midwinter

M.R. Sellars

E.M.A. Mysteries/Oak Tree, Nov 1 2011, $16.95

ISBN: 9780979453380


On December 22, 1975, Santa sexually assaulted her at school.  He threatened to kill her parents if she told them what he did.  That night while her mom purchased groceries, her little sister wanted to visit Santa.  Merrie Callahan never wanted see Santa ever again, but was forced to escort Elizabeth to visit him.  He turned out to be her predator and Merrie vanished for thee days.


Decades later, the residents of Hulis, Missouri are living out a nightmare just as they did when Merrie was abducted.  FBI Special Agent Constance Mandalay investigates.  She learns that though thirty-five years passed since the rapes, Merrie believes it is December, 22, 1975 before Santa brutalized her.  Sheriff Skip Carmichael explains to the Fed that every anniversary of Merrie’s trauma leads to her falling into a catatonic state for three days.  On Christmas Day in the shack where Merrie was sodomized, someone chops up a man using an axe exactly like Merrie did  and the body parts are in the same place when she counterattacked her abductor years ago.  Constance senses the townsfolk conceals something critical from her; when the FBI Agent learns what it is, her belief system is shaken to the core in spite of her case work with Wiccan practitioner Rowan Gant.


M.R. Sellars has written an exhilarating supernatural mystery that will have readers wondering what is going on in Hulis, and when we figure that out, the author twists the entertaining police procedural into a new direction.  Constance has been a recurring support character in the RGI whodunits (see Blood Moon), but proves she can run the show as a pragmatic independent investigator who prefers denial of the supernatural though the supporting evidence in this case and her work with Gant forces her to accept an inconvenient truth.


Harriet Klausner

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