Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Scott A. Lerner - The Fraternity of the Soul Eater - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

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.

My Review

What would it feel like to step inside a pyramid?

Novelist Scott A. Lerner takes us there:

"The air was hot and dry, and I actually felt as though I was in the desert. It smelled like I imagined Egypt would smell, having never been there. The air was scented with sand and every spice I could think of—at least the ones that started with a C. I could smell cinnamon, cumin, cloves, cardamom, and coriander."

But this pyramid isn't in Egypt.

Oh no, it's hidden beneath a museum near the campus of the University of Illinois.

And it's a mystery how it was able to be constructed there without anyone knowing about it. The amount of laborers needed plus the cost to fund such an endeavor are astronomical.

So how did it come to exist? And more importantly what's its purpose?

It all starts with the super secret fraternity, Zeta Ankh Iota.

The inscription on their door reads:

"Death shall come on swift wings to him who enters without leave of the members." 

A similar warning was inscribed on the entrance to King Tut's tomb. And as fate would have it, the fraternity was founded in 1925 by Rupert Fall, a close friend and benefactor of Howard Carter, the man who discovered King Tut's tomb and died an early death many feel was the fulfillment of the curse for desecrating Tut's final resting place.

The frat house itself is a pre-Civil War Southern mansion underneath whose foundations run steam tunnels, first used during Prohibition to smuggle in booze. Now the subterranean passageways are utilized for bringing in abducted girls, snatched off campus, in order to be murdered and sacrificed on the stone altar to the ancient Egyptian god, Ammit, the soul eater.

Zeta Ankh Iota always wanted a pyramid, and now they have one.

With its completion:

"They will begin to select women to be mummified. To fulfill the pharaoh's needs for wives and servants in the next world."

To put things into perspective, prior fraternity members all live in areas like the shores of Lake Michigan—the wealthy, exclusive neighborhood the likes of basketball great Michael Jordan call home.

And it makes Samuel Roberts, the lawyer investigating these mysterious deaths, wonder:

"If in this neighborhood a Honda was more conspicuous that a Ferrari." 

The fraternity is even more exclusive than Harvard's Skull and Bones Society, the one that boasts having several presidents of the United States on its roster. Zeta Ankh Iota only accepts three new pledges every year, and those who are selected to join all go on to live lives of fame and fortune.

So when Sam's hippy, computer hacking friend, Bob, joins him to scope out the joint, it's no wonder he says:

"I felt about as welcome as a gay Jewish African-American man at a KKK rally."

These frat boys believe they can get away with these killings. Their fathers are too powerful, their families too influential. They're above the law. Taking a human life means nothing to them.  

"Sex-crazed, drug-addled rich kids who think the world owes them something."

Until one of their own, Chris Stevens, finds out he can't stomach what they're doing anymore, and reports their latest murder to the police. Except the cops do nothing about it. Instead they charge Chris with the crime of lying to law enforcement. That's when Chris knows he's in big trouble and turns to Sam for help. As Sam gets deeper and deeper into the case, what he unearths shocks him.

This college town is hiding a lot of secrets—secrets that Zeta Ankh Iota will stop at nothing to keep hidden.


The Fraternity of the Soul Eater can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Formats/Prices: $4.99 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 218
Release: June 1, 2015
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812894
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

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.

Links to connect with Scott:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Michael J. McCann - Sorrow Lake - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police is called in to investigate when a man from the village of Sparrow Lake is found shot to death, execution style, in a farmer's field in rural eastern Ontario.

Leading an inexperienced team of detectives, she probes beneath the wintry surface of the township to discover the victim had a dark secret--one that may endanger others in the community as well.

For young and enthusiastic Detective Constable Kevin Walker, the chance to work with Ellie March is an honour, until the situation turns ugly and unexpected betrayal threatens to destroy his promising career.

My Review

Sorrow Lake sure lives up to its name.

  • In the 1960s, there was a horrific boating accident when a guy ran into the dock, killing himself and all of the children on board.
  • In the 1970s, in one of the lakefront cottages, a man shot his wife and five kids to death, then killed himself.
  • In the 1980s, an elderly couple, who lived at the lake year round, were killed by two looters who were robbing all of the deserted cottages during a January blizzard, not expecting to find them there.

The dreadful list goes on and on.

So when the town's used car salesman turns up stone cold dead in a farmer's field, it's not like the tiny Canadian hamlet of under 35,000 people hasn't witnessed a tragedy like this before.

It's so cold that the body has to be thawed out before the natural process of rigor mortis can begin. It's only November and it's already below zero. The lake is frozen over. Snow is falling. And warm winter clothes are a necessity.

Sorrow Lake is an area filled with rough-looking characters. The police even believe that half the hillbillies in the township are capable of shooting down an unarmed man in cold blood.

But when Ellie March is called in to head the investigation, she's ready to do battle with the harsh conditions she's up against. She's used to traveling between rural jurisdictions nestled in tiny hamlets and villages over a territory spread out over 2,100 square kilometers. With meagre resources at her disposal, her car becomes the most important weapon she has, and she doesn't plan on getting stuck in a snowdrift any time soon, like she did when she was a young constable just starting out.

Much to her chagrin, she finds that she actually likes Sorrow Lake. It's silence. It's solitude. It's natural beauty. But as a seasoned detective, she knows that all is not as it seems, that what goes on behind the walls of these isolated country homes, is no less dangerous or disturbing than what goes on in the big cities. There are secrets hidden here, ones she intends to unearth, along with the partner assigned to her—local bloke, Kevin Walker.

When they do eventually put the killer away, Ellie decides to put down roots and make Sorrow Lake her permanent home. Because for the first time, she has found a place that makes her feel really and truly happy.

Which makes her do something, that up until then, Kevin has never seen her do—smile.


Video Trailer:

Sorrow Lake can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $19.99 paperback
Pages: 316
ISBN: 9781927884027
Publisher: Plaid Raccoon Press
Release: April 30, 2015
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. McCann was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with a major in English Literature from Trent University in Peterborough, and a Master of Arts in English from Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

He served as Production Editor of Criminal Reports (Third Series) at Carswell Legal Publications (Western), where he was also Co-ordinator of Law Reports, before joining Canada Customs, now the Canada Border Services Agency. While at CBSA he was a training specialist, project officer, and national program manager before leaving public service to write novels full time.

Mike now lives and writes in Oxford Station, Ontario. He is married to supernatural novelist Lynn L. Clark. They have one son.

Mike is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada and the Horror Writers Association.

He is an author of crime fiction and supernatural thrillers. His Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel series includes Blood Passage, Marcie's Murder, The Fregoli Delusion, and The Rainy Day Killer. He is also the author of the supernatural thriller The Ghost Man. His most recent novel, Sorrow Lake, is the first book of his new March and Walker Crime Novel series set in eastern Ontario, Canada.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog (mystery)
Blog (paranormal)
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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