Guest post by Scott A. Lerner, and be sure to check out the giveaway for a copy of the Fraternity of the Soul Eater at the bottom of the page.
I am thrilled for the chance to be a guest blogger at your website. I am an attorney and an author from Champaign, Illinois and the title of my newest book is The Fraternity of the Soul Eater. It is fun for the entire family. Okay, maybe not the whole family. Young children probably shouldn’t read books involving human sacrifice and dismemberment.
I love all things Ancient Egyptian and I believe that subject resonates with people from all over the world. King Tutankhamun is like a rock star who generates excitement whenever his remains travel around the country. During the late 1800s through the 1920s, when the mummies were being discovered by English Archeologists, the word was fascinated. You can still find Egyptian Revival silver produced by English and American silver companies from that era on eBay and at antique stores.
The fascination with Ancient Egypt continues to this day. Steve Martin sang King Tut on late night television. The album cover for Journey Escape was an Egyptian Scarab breaking out of an orb. Although I am not a big fan of Journey, the cover art is amazing. I believe it was created by the great Stanley Mouse. We also have the music video by Katy Perry, Dark Horse, filled with Ancient Egyptian motifs.
The movie The Mummy came out in 1932 and new mummy movies have appeared ever since. Some have been scary and others were made for laughs—Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy and Bubba Ho Tep, for instance. There is something about Ancient Egypt that fascinates people.
Why does this topic stir the imagination? Because it touches on so much of what makes us human. Life after death is the idea that mostly draws people to religion. The Ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death. Although we say, “You can’t take it with you,” the Egyptians believed you could indeed take it with you. Grand temples that survive to this day serve as testimonies to one of the most powerful societies the world has ever known.
When you consider the technology, how could they have built the great pyramids or the sphinx? Maybe some of the ancient spells and magic were real. Maybe it is possible to reanimate the Ancient Gods and bring them into the modern world. If so, perhaps a new Egyptian Dynasty might exist in modern society. The Fraternity of the Soul Eater explores that possibility.
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Thriller
Publisher: Camel Press
Date of Publication: June 15, 2015
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.
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: http://www.scottlerner.camelpress.com
eBook copy of The Fraternity of the Soul Eater