The Halo Effect

Synopsis | Excerpt | Praise

Once you pick up this book, don't plan on putting it down - you get hooked on page one when a mutilated body in a nun's habit is found. A serial killer is on the loose in New York City and he's going after prostitutes with a vengeance - a religious fervor, you might say. Dr. Morgan Snow is a sex therapist with a client, a top shelf call girl (at $2000 and up a pop) named Cleo Thane, who goes missing. Meanwhile Detective Noah Jordain is heading up the serial killer investigation for the NYPD and calls on Dr. Snow for some outside psychological profiling. They trade info and join forces to try and find the missing Cleo and the serial killer.

Rose writes erotic better than just about anyone and with the twisting plotline and surprise ending here, apparently she can do thrillers just as well as the big boys. This is the first book of a new series and I can't wait for the next one!
-The Book Bitch -

THE HALO EFFECT is billed as an "erotic thriller", but is no more graphic than many popular gritty mysteries. The use of a sex therapist lends a different feel and gives a fresh perspective. There is a much stronger emotional pull. We can see many of the characters in a more emphatic light than we might normally.

The author explains in some promotional information that the title comes from the psychological term whereby if someone creates a good impression by excellence in one trait, we are apt to rank him highly in others. We apply the halo effect too often with bad consequences, though perhaps not as dangerous as the ones Dr. Snow deals with.

THE HALO EFFECT is the first in a new series. It will be fun and enlightening to learn more about Morgan Snow and her patients in future. The quirks and twists behind our public facades make for fascinating reading. M.J. Rose has another great book to add to her growing body of work.
-Murder & Mayhem Book Club

I just finished reading THE HALO EFFECT by M.J. Rose and wanted to say how very much I enjoyed it.

THE HALO EFFECT is more than just a mystery, it is a spell-binding trip through the psyche of a killer and in the midst of that there are other stories being told. We have Dr. Morgan Snow, her daughter Dulcie, her ex-husband Mitch, Cleo Thane who is a patient of Dr. Snow's in addition to being a prostitute, Detective Noah Jordain (drool LOL), and Nina Butterfield who owns The Butterfield Institute, the clinic where Dr. Snow works. There are many other minor characters, clients of Cleo's, friends of Cleo's, the killer (not gonna spoiler that one), and Detective Perez who is Noah's partner.

There is a killer who is murdering prostitutes in a very ritualistic pattern and using religious items in the process. Morgan has consulted with the police in the past and is asked to do so again, but for more than just that reason. That is how she meets Noah Jordain. The relationship between Morgan and her mentor, Nina Butterfield is both interesting and multi-layered. We also get to see Morgan's interactions with Dulcie as they approach those lovely teen years. Those of us who survived raising children know all about those years and if you're like me, you have the gray hair to prove it. All kidding aside, I have a lovely daughter and am very proud to be her mother :-)

It may or may not be usual for people to believe that those in helping professions such as therapists should have their issues all resolved, but it isn't so, and it was nice to see that shown via Morgan's reactions and interactions with those around her.

It was fascinating to feel as if I were inside the minds of so many different people via the story and Morgan's interactions with those around her. I realize that many books offer that insight, but this was a more intense feeling of seeing through the characters' eyes. I did have a fair idea of who the killer was quite a bit before the reveal, but felt that might be the author's intent so as to make the reader want to tell Morgan "NO, don't go there" just as many feel while viewing a good film or television show. Knowing who the killer was didn't detract from the story at all, in fact it rather increased the suspense a bit.

There is a preview at the back about the next story in this series and I am looking forward to reading it as well. I highly recommend this book, but do want to suggest that you start it when you can read non-stop, as it was most difficult to put it down.
-Murder Express

The plot and pace is riveting and keeps the reader guessing. Even though I did figure out who had to be the serial killer about half-way through the novel, it was an enthralling plot that kept me motivated to increase the pace as I read. From the first page to the last word, the reader is hooked on this novel.
-Teri Davis, Reviewing the Evidence

Morgan Snow is a therapist at the Butterfield Institute. Cleo Thane, one of her patients, is a high priced call girl who has written a book that will expose some of her clients- high-powered clients that won't be too happy about it once their secrets are revealed. And so when Cleo goes missing, Morgan is afraid that Cleo might be in trouble, not only because of her book, but because there's a killer loose who is targeting prostitutes.

Detective Noah Jordain is investigating several prostitute murders in which they are always found wearing nun's habits and have apparently received communion just before they die. Jordain contacts Dr. Snow to explore the possibility that Cleo's disappearance is somehow connected to the murders, and is not willing to subscribe in other motives surrounding Cleo's disappearance. So it's up to Morgan to search for the truth, and the only way she can think of is to go undercover into the dark and dangerous world of her client.

Rose has written a steamy and sexy novel that keeps the adrenalin running until the very end. A well thought out plot reveals the day-to-day life of a working girl and her clients; including the danger, the pathos, and the thrills. Sex, romance, and murder are artfully combined to produce a page turning novel that shouldn't be missed.
-Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader

M.J. Rose's THE HALO EFFECT is the merger of a Kay Scarpetta novel and Silence of the Lambs. Rose tends to write erotically charged novels, but THE HALO EFFECT is a new twist for her. This is the first of a The Butterfield Institute Novel series and I'm waiting on tenderhooks for the next installment. This is smart, crisp writing that you engaged from teh first page and will keep you reading until you reach the end.
-Jenny Lawton, Greenwich Citizen Newspaper

M.J. Rose has made a practice of writing novels that defy easy categorization. Her latest novel, THE HALO EFFECT, will certainly appeal to fans of the suspense/thriller genre. The work, however, balances the elements that make that genre so popular with a strong erotic component, while also possessing the orderly inquisitiveness of a police procedural, thus creating a work that will please followers of all of those genres while not conforming precisely to any of them.

This is the first of a projected series of The Butterfield Institute novels, and readers will be storming the barricades waiting for the next. The primary focus of THE HALO EFFECT is Dr. Morgan Snow, who balances work and motherhood with an uneasy success that has left her personal life out of the equation and, to some extent, cost her a marriage. Snow is intrigued by a patient of hers named Cleo Thane, a woman with a very unique occupation and problem. Thane is a partner and employee of The Diablo Club, where membership is exclusive and expensive. The club caters to men who are among the richest and most powerful in the world, and who have specific sexual requirements. Thane is very good at what she does.

The problem for which Thane is seeking treatment at The Butterfield Institute is that she has become emotionally involved with a man --- not a client --- and is unable to enjoy sexual relations with him. Thane is also on the brink of publishing a book about her business and her experiences, with the identities of her high-profile clientele only thinly disguised, and fears that the revelations contained in the book will damage, if not destroy, her relationship with her significant other.

She entrusts a copy of her manuscript to Snow with the hope that Snow will be able to offer advice as to whether or not she should publish the manuscript. But when Thane suddenly disappears, Snow thinks that one of Thane's clients, fearful of the revelations in her manuscript, may be responsible. Elias Beecher, Thane's significant other, is frantic over her disappearance and the seeming lack of interest on the part of the New York City Police Department. However, the NYPD has no evidence that Thane's absence is anything other than voluntary and has its collective hands full with another matter.

Prostitutes are being ritualistically murdered, with their bodies left in midtown hotel rooms. The first victim is a former patient of Snow's, and she fears that Thane may be yet another victim. Seeking to investigate the disappearance while preserving her patient's confidentiality, Snow begins a dangerous game, clandestinely meeting Thane's clients in order to get some clue as to whether or not any of them could be behind her disappearance, or possibly linked to the serial prostitute murders. Her investigation, and her life, are further complicated by her attraction to Noah Jordain, a police detective who is investigating the murders and who is concerned that the investigation will bring her into the killer's crosshairs --- a fear that comes true all too quickly.

Casa del Hartlaub was fortunate enough to have two copies of THE HALO EFFECT on site, and Goodwife Hartlaub, who is not normally a suspense/thriller buff, was up for two straight nights reading this work while I raced through my own copy. Rose has the unique ability to explain complex concepts in a straightforward, simplified manner without talking down to her audience and without bringing a screeching halt to the narrative. The result is an evenly paced narrative that subtly races along, almost without the reader being aware of it.

THE HALO EFFECT also contains the opening pages of THE DELILAH COMPLEX, the next volume of The Butterfield Institute novels, which is not scheduled to be published until April 2005. That, I fear, will be too long of a wait for Rose's legion of new fans.
-Joe Hartlaub,

Reading M.J. Rose's novels is like having great sex with a familiar partner. Even before you begin, you know it's going to be good. During, it's a host of things: hot and comfortable, intense and soothing, reliable and fun. Afterwards, well, afterwards you are left with seemingly opposing feelings of pure satisfaction and intense want for more --- that is, in this case, more from M.J. Rose.

And so it should be no surprise that sex and seduction almost always play at least a strong supporting role in Rose's work. In her latest novel, THE HALO EFFECT, human sexuality, in all its permutations, persuasions and perversions, takes center stage. Dr. Morgan Snow, recently divorced, is a New York City sex therapist at the Butterfield Institute, where (I break no confidences in telling you) her clients range from fiends who fancy odd fetishisms to couples whose love lives have reached new levels of lackluster. Additionally, she closely works with imprisoned street hookers, trying to reform them and encourage them to do more with their lives.

But it's a high-class call girl who has most of Dr. Snow's attention and concern. Her patient, Cleo Thane --- beautiful, refined and intelligent --- has written a tell-all book about her chosen profession and the thinly disguised clientele who have kept her in expensive clothes and jewelry over the years. In their interactions (their appointments in Dr. Snow's office mostly), Rose once again shows us her strong grasp of human nature and human sexuality. As Cleo describes her "dates" you can't help but feel that Cleo, and M.J. Rose, have clearer insight into the workings of the male and female mind than most of us possess.

When Cleo fails to make one session, then another and then another, Dr. Snow treads dangerously into the working girl's world to try to find her --- and rediscovers her own feminine prowess and attraction to the opposite sex. Not to mention how much she and Cleo share in common in their different lines of work.

At the same time, the handsome Detective Noah Jordain seeks Dr. Snow's help with the Magdalene Murders --- the serial murders of prostitutes. Working parallel investigations, Dr. Snow, an unlikely hero, and Detective Jordain find more than just the murderer; they find each other.

These murders solved, Dr. Snow will be back. M.J. Rose promises a series of stories from the Butterfield Institute. No doubt, all will be equally thrilling and provocative --- just like great sex with a familiar partner.
-Roberta O'Hara,

"M. J. Rose writes fearlessly about sex. This is a true erotic thriller. The end will take your breath away."
-Lisa Tucker, Shout Down the Moon

"Potentially explosive... Rose's latest is not for the squeamish... [Dr. Morgan Snow] is an engaging guide to the world of dysfunction that Rose painstakingly constructs."
-Publisher's Weekly

"THE HALO EFFECT is tense, engrossing, and sometimes so real it's frightening.
-Linda Richards, January Magazine

"I dare you to read the first five pages of THE HALO EFFECT and not be in its thrall: this is a compulsive artful page-turner of a novel. Suspenseful, sleek, and sexy, this is M. J. Rose at her best."
-Doug Clegg, The Hour Before Dark

"Elegant, arresting and so suspenseful I was gripping the pages. Rose's alchemy is to take the psychological mystery and spin it into something literate and new, giving us complex, beautifully complicated characters which are so real we hear them breathing in our ear, prose that's both subtle and moving, and a plot that can only be described as a knockout."
-Caroline Leavitt, Girls in Trouble

"Dr. Morgan Snow is a refreshingly vulnerable character whose spunky decision to go undercover in the demimonde is both believable and hair-raising. THE HALO EFFECT will have you on the edge of your seat from page one"
-Katherine Neville, New York Times bestselling author of The Eight

"THE HALO EFFECT will keep you spellbound and guessing from the first page to the last."
-Stan Pottinger, New York Times bestselling author of The Fourth Procedure and The Last Nazi

"Interesting.. thrilling... like a femme... Jonathan Kellerman."
-Kirkus Reviews

"As always, Rose's prose is beautiful and haunting and her plotting is perfect in every way. Her books are so much more than just stories about sex. They're about the human psyche and what it endures as we grow. The unforgettable vignettes on the clients from Cleo's book alone are so poignant and riveting that the truth within them will stun you. This is for sure one blockbuster you don't want to miss."
-Rendezvous Reviews