The Fraternity of the Soul Eater
A Samuel Roberts Thriller
Scott A. Lerner
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Thriller
Publisher: Camel Press
Date of Publication: June 15, 2015
ASIN: Not yet available
Number of pages: 218
Word Count: 57k words
Cover Artist: Sabrina Sun
It’s been a while since Samuel Roberts was called upon to save mankind, and he’s getting restless. His girlfriend Susan thinks he’s a danger junkie, and he’s worried he has a hero complex. He’s back to his usual small-town lawyerly duties in Champaign-Urbana, handling divorces and helping people beat DUI raps. But then a young fraternity pledge calls. During an initiation ceremony he witnessed the live sacrifice of a young woman, but he had so much alcohol in his system that no one believes him. Except Sam. Lately Egyptian lore has been creeping into his life, his dreams, and his movie preferences, and he’s pretty sure he knows why. Evil is knocking on his door again.
Is the call welcome? Why can’t Sam be satisfied with his comfortable legal practice and gorgeous redheaded girlfriend? Maybe it’s because he knows that, as inadequate as he may feel to the task, he and his friend Bob may be humanity’s only hope against ancient supernatural forces combined with modern genetic engineering. Come hell or high water. Or in this case, the underworld or subterranean pyramids.
The Fraternity of the Soul Eater is the third book in the Samuel Roberts Thriller series, which began with Cocaine Zombies and continued with Ruler of Demons.
Available at Amazon
She was wearing tight black jeans and a low-cut cropped T-shirt that exposed ample cleavage. A golden ankh dangled between her breasts. On one forearm was a tattoo of a bird I assumed to be a lark, and on the other, a tattoo of a hawk. Her bright blue eyes matched her hair. She was striking looking but by no means beautiful. A slight muffin top was made more visible by her short shirt, and she had apparently broken her nose at least once in her life. She smelled like sandalwood and cinnamon.
I would never cheat on Susan, but I had to admit there was something sexy about Lark. I tried to put my prurient thoughts away and deal with the issue at hand. Also, the ankh made me wonder if she was playing for the other side. I was not a big fan of birds, which for me had always been a harbinger of bad luck.
“So what is it that you couldn’t tell me at the courthouse?”
“I’m a graduate student at the University of Illinois and heard from a friend about Chris’s case. I went to the preliminary hearing to get more information.”
“That’s fine—it’s an open courtroom—but I can’t tell you the specifics of his case.”
“I am here to help you, not the other way around.”
“Cool!” I leaned back in my chair, trying to look casual. “Tell me what you know.”
“My sister was at a party at that fraternity three years ago. She has not been seen since. I believe she was killed there. I can’t prove it, but I have been trying to ever since.”
“Did you call the police?”
“No, I called Pizza Hut.” She sighed. “I’m … sorry. This whole thing …. it’s hard to talk about. Yes, I called the police and the FBI. I even hired a private investigator.”
“None. In fact, they all told me to let it go.”
“I take it from the fact you are here that you didn’t ‘let it go.’ ”
“You take it right. I was attending the University of Iowa. I was close to getting an MFA in fine arts but I transferred to the University of Illinois a year and a half ago. I’ve been investigating the fraternity ever since.” As she spoke Lark moved her arms about in quick gestures, reminding me of the bird she was named for.
“What have you learned?”
“For starters, I believe your client.”
She hesitated, as if pained by what she was going to relate. “Last year I dated a guy named George Hammond. He was a rich kid, kind of a geek, but he was okay. I essentially stalked him until he agreed to go out with me. At first I was only interested because he was pledging the fraternity. I know I was using him, but he was using me too. When he got accepted into the fraternity he told me a few of their secrets.”
“Any chance I could chat with George directly?”
She shook her head, a little violently. “Not unless we hold a séance. I’m sorry. I appreciate you speaking with me, and I don’t mean to be sarcastic. George died in a car accident. Actually, he was murdered, but I can’t prove it.”
“What did he tell you?”
“Every fall the fraternity sacrifices a girl. Their choice is based on her not having much in the way of family or money. They want someone who won’t be missed. The organs are removed as though she is to be mummified. Since there’s no pyramid to bury them in, the bodies are not wrapped or mummified or even kept.”
It was difficult to absorb what she was telling me. “That is nightmarish. What the hell do they do with the bodies?”
She jerked her shoulders up and down in a shaky shrug. “Who knows?”
“Why would they do such a thing?”
She looked mournful now. “George didn’t know. It may have been to test the pledges’ loyalty to the fraternity. He said they would commit the murder at a hidden temple and that the members would have to chant ancient prayers as part of some strange ritual. The leaders of the fraternity told him that the girls’ souls were being fed to the ‘Soul Eater,’ but George didn’t think they were serious.”
“Do you believe what George told you?”
She looked me hard in the eye. “My sister is missing.
First, tell me a little about your book?
It takes place in Champaign, Illinois and involves a fraternity at the university sacrificing co-eds to ancient Egyptian deities. The antagonists are not completely stuck in the past since they also rely on genetic engineering combined with dark magic to achieve their goals. The main characters are Sam, a small town lawyer, and his loyal friend Bob, a bit of a computer nerd. It is good paranormal fun for the whole family. Other than young children, who might not appreciate the murder and dismemberment?
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
I never much thought about it as a child. I was inspired by how much writing I do at work and how boring it was.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
Cocaine Zombies was my first book and came out in 2012 or 2013. I do love a good tale involving Voodoo Spirits, Synthetic Cocaine and evil corporations. So I thought, why not write one?
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
To some degree, Sam (the main protagonist) and I have certain things in common. We both live in Champaign/Urbana and we are both lawyers. That said, I have not had to fight demons, evil spirits, witches or other dark creatures.
How do you chose when/which characters die in your books?When they annoy me or when their death moves the plot along. Death can really motivate other characters.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
No one who comes to mind right away. Yet, there are so many wonderful authors. Good books are easier to find than ever.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
Kurt Vonnegut, Clive Barker and Stephen King, for starters.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I would have had less travel in Ruler of Demons. I hate dealing with all those time zones.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Just finding the time to write.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
Sabrina Sun designed the cover. She collaborates with my editor.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
I always learn something. In The Fraternity of the Soul Eater I had to research Ancient Egypt and the history of the fraternal system in America. I had a lot to learn.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
Since I have no urge to risk my life fighting the forces of evil, the heroes are out. The antagonists tend to be evil and I wouldn’t want to be evil. So I will have to give this further thought.
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
Of course any book by me or any of the other fine authors at Camel Press. Otherwise read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. It is an old book but it is both funny and profound.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Look out for Sam and Bob this Halloween where they get to spend some quality time with dark magic and witches in The Wiccan Witch of the Midwest.
About the Author:
Author and attorney Scott A. Lerner resides in Champaign, Illinois. He obtained his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and went on to obtain his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. He is currently a sole practitioner in Champaign, Illinois. The majority of his law practice focuses on the fields of criminal law and family law. Lerner’s first novel and the first Samuel Roberts Thriller, Cocaine Zombies, won a bronze medal in the mystery/cozy/noir category of the 2013 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Awards. The second book in the series is Ruler of Demons. The Fraternity of the Soul Eater is book 3. Book 4, The Wiccan Witch of the Midwest, will be released on Halloween, 2015.
You can find Scott online at: www.scottlerner.camelpress.com
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