Ruler of Demons
A Samuel Roberts Thriller
Scott A. Lerner
Release date: December 15, 2013
Paperback: 214 pages
Genre: Paranormal Suspense, Thriller, Holiday Horror
Human sacrifice and an impending apocalypse sure can throw a wrench in the holiday season.
Only eleven shopping days till Christmas. And less than a week to save the world.
Three nuns–in Chicago, Paris, and Jerusalem–have been killed in a religious ritual. The choice of victims and the macabre details of their deaths indicate that someone is following a recipe provided on an ancient text–a recipe to unleash the forces of hell on earth. The final sacrifice must occur on the Winter Solstice.
Samuel Roberts, a small-town attorney in Urbana, Illinois, knows a bit about the supernatural, having triumphed at least once over the forces of evil. Thanks to a friend who is aware of Sam’s little known previous efforts on behalf of mankind, Sam is hired by a big Chicago law firm to take on a sensitive case. His mission? Nothing less than halting the impending apocalypse.
Sam and his good buddy Bob travel first to Jerusalem then Paris in a desperate race to save mankind.
“What are we going to do at this wake? Bob asked.
“I want to see the tattoo.”
“Do you realize that is barking at trees crazy?”
“You intend to turn over a body in a coffin at a wake to exam the dead woman’s tattoo? Not just a woman but a woman with a grieving husband who you believe is incredibly violent?”
“You could make anything sound crazy.”
We found a parking spot easily and walked into the Funeral Home. The front room was large, with the body at the very back of the parlor. To get to it we would have to wait in line and shake hands with Mrs. O’Neill’s husband, a priest, and what I assumed to be ten family members. There were also fifty people ahead of us in line. To make matters worse, there was no alcohol or food being served.
Bob was right. If I tried to flip the deceased like a cheeseburger to look for a tattoo her husband would kill me. Bob and I walked over to a leather sofa in front of a fireplace. I put my head in my hands. I was an idiot.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around. A huge man in a black button-down shirt and Native American-made bolo tie stared down at me. He had an unkempt beard and tattoos covering his arms and neck. He would have been more at home in Sturgis than a funeral home.
“Dude, it’s okay. She is in a better place.”
“Thanks,” I said.
“Don’t you remember me? From high school? Roger … Weasel.”
“Shit, Weasel, I didn’t recognize you. You have grown,” I said.
“Yeah, I have put on a few more pounds. Well, maybe more than a few.” Weasel patted his gut.
“Were you close to Mrs. O’Neill?”
“No, she came in and got a couple tattoos. Did I tell you I am the proud owner of Champaign Urbana’s newest tattoo parlor, Weasel’s?”
“Mrs. O”Neill was one of my first customers. Then she dies. Kind of sucks for business. I felt I owed it to her to pay my last respects.”
I pointed to Bob. “Weasel, have you ever met Bob?”
“Sure, Bobnoxious from school.” Weasel said.
“No,” Bob said, “Bobnoxious was Robert Kesler.”
“This is Robert Sizemore, also known as just Bob.” I said.
“I don’t think we have met,” Weasel said.
“I have put on a few pounds myself,” Bob admitted, “so even if we have met you might not recognize me.”
“You know,” I said. “Bob was thinking about getting some ink. What tattoos did Mrs. O’Neill get?” It was not exactly a smooth transition, but I had to find out about those tattoos.
“She got two. The first was on her back on the right side below the shoulder blades. It was real original—a snake that coiled around to form three rings. Inside each ring was a little flag. I have no idea how she came up with it. It turned out real well. The other was a bird. You know, like the symbol for the baseball team. She put it just below the other. That was kind of generic. I took a picture of the snake one. It is on my phone if you want to see.”
“I would love to!” I said with too much enthusiasm.
The photograph depicted the same basic image as on the dead nuns. This one, however, was not so crudely rendered. I had to hand it to Weasel; he was an artist.
“Bob, if you do come in, I will give you a friends and family discount,” Weasel offered.
“Thanks,” Bob said.
“You know, the last time I saw you was at a funeral,” I said to Weasel.
“You’re right,” Weasel said. “I think it was for Buster. That dude who got killed in that bar up in Chicago.”
The three of us got up and waited in line to see Mrs. O’Neill. When I shook hands with her husband I couldn’t help wanting to hit the son of a bitch. He was tall and losing his hair. He looked harmless. Yet, I knew better.
Mrs. O’Neill was even paler than when I saw her at my office. She wore a white dress that might have been made in the 1890s, with small buttons down the front. The collar and sleeves covered the ligature marks from the ropes.
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. Mr. Lerner lives with his wife, their two children, and their cat Fern.
Lerner collects unusual antiques and enjoys gardening, traveling, reading fiction and going to the movies. Scott’s first novel featuring Samuel Roberts, Cocaine Zombies, won a Bronze 2012 IPPY Award.
You can find him online at www.scottlerner.camelpress.com