Tuesday, August 11, 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

DNA experimentation always makes for quite an entertaining premise.

Author Scott A. Lerner does it one better by having a mad scientist, Dr. Oaks, try to manipulate our genetic code so that he can bring the Egyptian gods back to life.

How's he been doing it? By implanting half human / half animal fetuses into the wombs of the unsuspecting women he imprisons in his top secret laboratory. There's just one problem—none of the monstrous offspring have survived their tumultuous entry into the world.

So it's back to the drawing board, and our hero, Sam Roberts, becomes guinea pig number one after getting too close to investigating the good doctor's work. He has Sam beat up and captured by members of Zeta Ankh Iota, the secret society that's funding his horrific tests. Now his plan is to inject Sam's body with a chromosome cocktail so that he can manipulate the double helixes of a live host.

In order to escape, Sam is forced to fight his way out of a steel cage by cutting off a guard's hand. Yet committing such an act of barbarism really bothers him.

"I had just murdered a man who might have had nothing to do with the plot to take over the world. A man whose only crime—as far as [I] knew—was to bring [me] dinner."

Sam then takes the severed appendage with him, using the fingerprint to open the security doors that are holding him hostage—in an underground pyramid that just so happens to be in, of all places, suburban Illinois.

The evildoers are out to awaken the Soul Eater, the Egyptian god, Ammit, who is part human, part lion, part hippopotamus. This imposing figure is said to dwell in the underworld, waiting to devour the human hearts of the recently deceased, the ones deemed too heavy on the scales of justice. Now Dr. Oaks wants to bring the Soul Eater into the dimension of the living by turning an ordinary human like himself into a god.

Dr. Oaks explains his reasoning this way:

"The modern world is a mess. A mess that mere mortals cannot clean up. If we allow the ancient gods to help us through me, their representative on earth, we can create a new world order."

But to escape this torture chamber of craziness, Sam must resort to doing a lot of terrible things. He literally has to kill his way out. He's never taken a human life before, and a sort of darkness falls over his soul. Without or without a change in his DNA, he feels like he is not the same person as before he entered the pyramid.

But is Sam damaged beyond repair? He's seen a lot of terrible things from a cobra coiled inside the hollowed out body of a young girl to one of his fellow captives blowing off part of a man's skull. Sam willingly takes down anyone blocking his path to freedom, and it makes him ponder the fate of his own soul.

"The kill was cold and horrible. The fact that [I] could do something so nightmarish said a lot about what [I] had become. [My] humanity, [my] soul, [was] so damaged that [it] certainly would weigh more than a feather. [I] would be denied the afterworld."

But he knows what Dr. Oaks is trying to do can't be done. His efforts to merge the supposed life force of a god into the body of a man are nothing but futile.

Because deep down Sam believes in his heart that:

"All the power and money in the world can't bring [anyone] back from the dead."

Not even one of the gods of the underworld.


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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 4, 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

Kevin Walker has a problem.

He has a massive inferiority complex.

As a police detective, he thinks he's too soft. He throws up during autopsies. He wears casual clothes to a crime scene. He doesn't like looking at dead bodies. But he has a driving need to protect the good, hard-working people of Sorrow Lake from any dangerous criminals who mean them harm.

So when he's called in to investigate his first murder case, his old insecurities kick in. He turns to his mentor, Waddell, the guy who had his job before him, the one who retired to start his own security company. Because Kevin thinks that he'll never be as good as he was, convinced he'll never reach that high level of expertise. He puts himself down, letting Waddell fill his head with even more negative thoughts, when he tells him not to trust anyone and to not let his new female partner, Ellie March, take all the credit for solving the crime.

But what makes Kevin even more intriguing is that he's a big strapping guy, a part-time hockey player, who's not afraid to rough someone up against the boards. But deep down, he's a reader, a thinker. He's obsessed with local history and the area's geologic makeup. He's not some dumb jock. He's sensitive, and compassionate, even if at times he comes off as bumbling and naive, especially when those he's questioning tell him he could ask better questions.

But he's learning. His dad was a rotten drunk, who abandoned and cheated on his mother before she died. Kevin was left to fend for himself, and he was determined to grow up and be the exact opposite of his father.

"I went into law enforcement because I wanted to be the kind of man who's responsible. I wanted to be someone people could look to for help and depend on to do whatever had to be done, no matter how hard it was."

But the tendency he has to doubt himself throws his entire career into jeopardy when it comes out that he's actually good friends with the main suspect. Many on the police force begin to look at Kevin differently, wondering if he was involved in the murder or if he tried covering anything up. Kevin feels like the walls are closing in on him when he starts taking drastic measures to prove his loyalty, like disarming a local drug lord during a raid, virtually disobeying orders by putting himself and his fellow cops at risk.

But Ellie is an experienced professional, and she's seen a lot. She hates that Kevin's friend took advantage of him and made him look like a fool, but she knows he had nothing to do with the murder. When he comes to her seeking advice on how to keep his head above water, she tells him:

"Remember your strengths, and use them to your advantage on the job." 

Having a heart isn't a bad thing. In fact, it could be what sets him apart from all the rest.

And with this being the first of many cases these two plan on investigating together, it's a given that Ellie is only going to help make Kevin into an even stronger and better detective.


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

a Rafflecopter giveaway