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.
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: scottlerner.camelpress.com.
Read an Excerpt
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."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'The Fraternity of the Soul Eater', A Samuel Roberts Thriller by Scott A Lerner. In The Fraternity of the Soul Eater, Scott A. Lerner takes us on a journey into the darkness that dwells in the mind of those most enchanted with darkness. Samuel Roberts an attorney by day has found himself in situations that cannot be explained. He feels as though there is danger that others do not believe, nor have they ever seen. His law duties seem quite tame by contrast and he finds himself wishing for more. His girlfriend thinks he is a junkie for danger and he is not sure he doesn’t agree. He knows that something is stirring in the darkness through for he is having dreams he cannot decipher. Egypt often is the base of his worries, so when finds himself in an Egyptian museum he is both worried and excited. The sudden danger though is quick and unexpected. He needs the help of his friend Bob, for things have begun to creep even him out. Even with warnings from his girlfriend to desist his quest he is unable to let go. Yet when she disappears he finds himself in deeper than expected. Suddenly his own life is on the line, and he is captured for an extremely unlikely DNA experiment. Can Sam save both his girlfriend and himself from a crazy mad man who believes he can brings back the old Gods of Egypt through experimentation? Will this danger finally be the end of his relationship? With Bob as his only hope he escapes though brutality, something he has always avoided in the past. Will this be the final means that will allow darkness to enter his own soul? Lerner gives us characters that are full of fun, bluster and charm, yet have that energy that you feel is trustworthy. His dynamics between his characters and protagonists are both strange and unlikely, but at the same time intriguing and interesting. You find yourself immersed in a story that takes you to the edge of darkness, twisting and realigning your own take on life. The edge of darkness seems real and at any time you could find yourself immersed through the work of those who believe, for they are quite fanatical. If you enjoy mystery, danger and the macabre, riddled with humor and friendship you will find this a must have for your library. You can read it time and again and still find passages you may have missed which make this a fun and unique find.
I’m one of those people that read three or more books, at once. Scott A. Lerner’s The Fraternity of the Soul Eater was among the group I was reading. It didn’t take long before every book was dropped because I was hooked by the story in The Fraternity of the Soul Eater. Sam and Bob are buddies that solve crimes. To be fair, although Sam’s girlfriend, Susan won’t agree, the adventures find them. Sam has dreams that foretell what will happen. In this particular case, a frat newbie, Chris Stevens, is in the process of being inducted into a super-secret fraternity, where he sees a human sacrifice. Chris goes to Sam because he needs a lawyer since the police charged him for making a false police report. Only it wasn’t false. Sam comes across more missing people, more secrets, and ancient ritual, tunnels, and believe it—a real pyramid—built underground. The pace of the story is fast, so you’re turning pages as fast as your eyes will allow. My favorite character is Sam’s friend Bob. Everyone has or needs a Bob in their life. He’s there for his friend. He’s handy with a computer and good to bounce ideas off. I don’t want to give any spoilers but the story is a thriller mystery. It’s fun, interesting, and good. I did receive The Fraternity of the Soul Eater by Scott A. Lerner for free, in exchange for a review. But this review is my honest opinion. I liked the book and recommend it for mystery thriller lovers. They won’t be disappointed.
Sam Roberts is suffering from a case of post traumatic stress disorder. But he didn't fight in a war zone. He didn't survive a natural disaster. He battled the supernatural—and won. But for him, the battle is far from over. With multiple encounters under his belt, Sam truly feels that he's one of the only people on earth aware of the evil forces lurking at the periphery of everyday life. That knowledge has left him tired and severely depressed, and he doesn't know what to do about it. He doesn't want to see a doctor and just pop a pill in order to make himself feel better because he knows it won't do any good. "I was depressed because I realized the world was filled with evil and indifference toward suffering. I was depressed because I knew that the forces of darkness would rise again. The problem is not that I fail to perceive the world as it is. The problem is that I see the world exactly as it is. So the question was not why I was depressed, but why wasn't everyone else?" He feels alone in his struggle, and utterly conflicted. He's not sure if he has the strength to defeat these negative entities if they attack him again, and yet he finds returning to ordinary life impossible now that he knows what it's like living so close to the edge. Sitting behind a desk and working as a small time attorney just isn't going to cut it for him anymore. Now in his late thirties, he's going through a type of midlife crisis. He feels old, even though he's still relatively young. He's falling out of love with his girlfriend, and nothing seems fresh and exciting to him anymore. Life has lost its flavor for him without the exhilaration of fighting the unknown. He's giving up on making the most of things, allowing himself to drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. "It is a true eye-opener when you first realize you can't be whatever or whoever you want to be. The worst part of adulthood is the shocking discovery that love can be as tiring and stale as any other emotion, given enough time." Sam no longer enjoys much of anything, and he turns inward, saying: "I understood even then that I did not play well with others." He lets his relationship with his girlfriend fall to wayside, and starts obsessively chasing after anything that has to do with the paranormal. His personality changes as he goes from a self-confessed introvert to a danger junkie, recklessly seeking out danger. His risk-taking even has a suicidal bent. "I didn't have the guts to kill myself any other way, so why not let someone else do the job?" He indulges in some pretty self destructive behavior, contemplating cheating on his girlfriend with a much younger girl, and taking on a client who claims he witnessed a ritual sacrifice during a fraternity hazing event. In fact, Sam inadvertently starts reverting back to his college days, spending a lot of time on campus, interacting more with the students than with the adults. He throws himself headlong into the thick of the hazing investigation, actively seeking the adrenaline rush he only feels when he's involved with the occult. It quickly becomes an obsession that starts to ruin his life. He takes on the frat case without even the guarantee of receiving a two thousand dollar retainer. His girlfriend demands that he leave his fixation behind or else he's going to lose her. And it's sad because he's actually leaning toward choosing the supernatural over her.
Women are being murdered in an underground pyramid near a college campus. And Sam is a small time lawyer, hired to look into these bizarre ritualistic killings when a young fraternity pledge turns his fellow brothers in to the police, only to become the focus of the investigation himself. Sam loves danger and situations that take him there and he's totally intrigued by the concept of an evil Egyptian presence in his hometown, so he decides to help the kid. But Sam's personal demons are quick to resurface. His depression, his reckless behavior, his foundering relationships—his life is turned upside down when he takes the case. And it makes you wonder, do the ends really justify the means? A suspenseful thriller that grabs you right from the start, it takes you into an ancient world of long held secrets and grotesque murders. A true page turner.
The supernatural always seems to find Attorney Sam Roberts. At first, he didn't go looking for it—it found him. But now it's different. Now it's become a bit of an obsession with him because his life seems boring and meaningless whenever his latest case isn't putting him in mortal danger. He asks: "Why would anyone willingly choose to go from the Technicolor world of Oz to the dusty black and white world of Kansas?" Tangling with demons has turned this mild-mannered lawyer into something of a thrill seeker, a true adrenaline junkie. Sam doesn't want to be ordinary anymore. And that's a problem, because his girlfriend, Susan, certainly does. When a college student solicits Sam's counsel, saying that his fraternity killed a young, innocent girl during some kind of ancient Egyptian ritual, Sam immediately believes the kid's telling the truth—because he wants to believe him. Who cares if it the boy was drunk at the time? Who cares if it was just some hazing stunt meant to scare him off? Sam is all in from the word go. He even admits: "I was imagining a conspiracy based on my own desire to reenter the world of the supernatural. I was as delusional as my client." But as the clues start to mount, Sam knows he's not crazy. There's something strange going on here. Every time he approaches a current or former member of the fraternity, he's met with hostility and violence. A mummified falcon is even left on his doorstep, wrapped in a piece of papyrus containing the curse found on the entrance to King Tut's tomb. But it's not until a young woman named Lark approaches him, and discloses that she thinks the frat murdered her sister on its altar of human sacrifices that things start to get real. No one ever took the disappearance seriously and Lark feels that it was hushed up on purpose by the rich and powerful alumni who claim prior affiliation to the fraternity. These guys aren't just millionaires—they're billionaires. Sam knows he has his work cut out for him, taking on such a powerful organization, but Lark's story makes an impression on him. Now he feels personally responsible for protecting all of the innocent women out there from meeting such a terrible end. He states: "Unlike the ancient Egyptians, I place more value on the living than the dead." Especially when he finds out that the frat is planning to mummify their first human being on the eve of the next full moon—in their brand new hidden pyramid, no less. The clock is ticking, and things take a sinister turn when the woman, whose organs they hope to harvest, is someone Sam actually knows.