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.
Character Name: Sam Roberts
Character Bio: I am lawyer in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois. I am in my thirties and according to my mother, fairly attractive. When I am not fighting injustice in the court room I am fighting the forces of darkness.
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
My best quality it that I am willing to die to save the world. My worst quality is I sometimes put my friends at risk.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
That I have saved the world more than once. It would definitely increase the likelihood of finding a date on a Saturday night.
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
Well, if I told you it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.
What are you most afraid of?
I am okay with death. Not thrilled about it, but okay. Torture and mutilation, I would like to avoid.
What do you want more than anything?
That is tough. Peace on Earth? Ten million dollars? Superpowers? How about all of the above.
What is your relationship status?
I have a long time girlfriend named Susan. Yet, I am not sure if our relationship is going to survive The Fraternity of the Soul Eater. You will just have to give it a read to find out.
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
I have to wear a suit and tie to work. Yet, when I am not working, gray sweats and a T-shirt work fine.
How much of a rebel are you?
I don’t ride a Harley and I do have a cause. I have been known for washing my whites and colors together. Does that make me a rebel?
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
Stopping an apocalypse looks good on any one’s resume.
What is your idea of happiness?
A hammock on an isolated beach with no evil in sight.
What is your current state of mind?
I am feeling okay.
What is your most treasured possession?
A Jaeger-LeCoultre reverso watch from the 1930s or 1940s I took from the body of Mr. Smart. It is a stolen reminder that evil can be defeated. It is also a cool watch.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I am tenacious. I will fight for what I believe in.
What is it that you, most dislike?
The forces of evil.
Which living person do you, most despise?
That is a tough one I have fought so many awful people and creatures. I could certainly provide a list of politicians but that seems a bit harsh.
What is your greatest regret?
Susan and I are going through some tough times in The Fraternity of the Soul Eater. I regret putting her life on the line because I can’t let evil have its way.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Someone who is strong, smart and does not end up wanting to murder or dismember me.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Someone who is strong, smart and does not end up wanting to murder or dismember me.
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
Batman is kind of cool. That dark batman, not the one with Robin.
Which living person do you most admire?
Lincoln. We are both lawyers from Illinois and he was a great man. I heard he even fights vampires.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I would love to be blessed with peace of mind. That said, it would be great to be more muscular, smarter, faster, and better looking. It would be nice but it’s not going to happen.
What is your motto?
Pain is Candy
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