Laws of Depravity

Martyr Maker Series

Fiction - Thriller - General
228 Pages
Reviewed on 09/23/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Actor/director Eriq La Salle is best known to worldwide television audiences for his award-winning portrayal of the commanding Dr. Peter Benton on the critically acclaimed and history-making medical drama ER. Educated at Juilliard and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, his credits range from Broadway to film roles opposite Eddie Murphy in "Coming to America" and Robin Williams in "One Hour Photo." La Salle has maintained a prolific acting career while at the same time working steadily as a director, taking the helm for HBO and Showtime in addition to episodics such as Law & Order, CSI: New York and A Gifted Man, to name a few. This year he marks the beginning of the third element of his triple-threat career with the publication this summer of his first book in a trilogy, the page-turning thriller Laws of Depravity.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite

“Laws of Depravity” by Eriq La Salle should be on a fast track to Best Seller status. The line between legal and illegal is broad and readily discernible; the line between right and wrong is not so. This intense debut novel will have you pondering the fine line between right and wrong, between sanity and insanity. La Salle leads us along the razor edge of that distinction, where a minor loss of focus may lead to a long slide in the wrong direction in spite of one’s intent. It clearly elucidates the potentially disastrous results that can break through to the surface years after some precipitating event. This ultra-suspenseful tale scratches the foul underbelly of darkly held secrets, to reveal unfathomable horror.

Expect to have your world shaken when you read “Laws of Depravity”. La Salle takes a taboo subject and exposes its ugly enormity to all. This is fiction, of course. But it is fiction solidly based in a reality the society can no longer sweep under the proverbial rug. In its distilled form, “Laws of Depravity” shows us the horrendous consequences which may develop from the selfishly uncaring and hostile possession of another’s innocence. It shows us how the effects of an abusive act can impact generations of victims, with seemingly limitless possible results, as is demonstrated by the inconceivably twisted ending. This is a story of good vs. evil where it is not always clear who the good or the evil are. “Laws of Depravity” may be the most engrossing book you read this year.

Molly Edwards

This first book in author La Salle's "Laws of Depravity" trilogy takes the reader on a journey of intensity. Twelve murders happen every ten years. The victims are members of the clergy, and their murders mimic the way the 12 Apostles from the bible were martyred. This serial killer is taking things to a gruesome level and it's up to detectives Quincy Cavanaugh and Phee Freeman, with the help of FBI agent Janet Maclin, to stop this rampaging killer.

These three well crafted characters quickly pulled me into the center of an intense plot, filled with drama, adventure, and surprising twists. I felt every struggle, every bit of love, every bit of anger that these characters felt. I definitely recommend this fast paced, thrilling murder mystery. Being a fan of this genre I am adding author Eric La Salle to the top of my favorites list. I can't wait to see what happens in book 2!

Brenda Ballard

FBI agent Janet Maclin has been hunting down the elusive Martyr Maker for 10 years. It has become very personal. Her partner came close to solving the mystery but got too close and met his demise. She has come to New York City hot on the murderer's trail. NYPD's finest Homicide detectives, "Phee" Freeman and Quincy Cavanaugh, have been affected to the core by a killer that targets the clergy of varying religions. This is his fourth go-round, killing twelve clergy every 10 years, but this time there seems to be more urgency. The staged martyrdom is graphic and filled with hate. Even the most weathered officers find it too hard to take in. Will they catch this psycho before he can complete his twisted mission?

In one of the most suspenseful, thrilling books I have read in a very long time, author Eriq La Salle sets the stage in the first book of his Martyr Maker Series. I found myself glued to this tale of intrigue, determination, and personal issues of the fascinating main characters. I think this would be incredible in an audio book but I am not sure I would be able to pay good enough attention to traffic (it's that good)! I look forward to reading the rest of this series as soon as possible.

Jorja Davis

Father O’Conner, found flayed in his office by the janitor, brings detectives Quincy Cavanaugh and Tavares “Phee” Freeman to the scene of the brutal slaying. They follow the corpse to the city morgue. There they discover FBI Agent Janet Maclin who hopes to relate this murder to the Martyr Maker. This serial killer is Maclin’s only open case. Over a period of thirty years, thirty-six priests and preachers have been murdered in ways reminiscent of the martyrdom of Jesus and twelve of the major and minor apostles: twelve murders every ten years. Dr. Kravitz, New York City’s chief coroner, following Maclin’s direction, finds a plastic capsule in O’Conner’s stomach containing a rolled up piece of paper with a passage of scripture written on it, confirming the perpetrator’s MO. Maclin, Quincy and Phee now work together in this police procedure trying to get ahead of a killer that is now threatening the clergy of New York City. Coming from diverse backgrounds, each individual peopling this book is flawed and complex. Each character deals with the evil in his or her background, as well as its cost on the present, in different ways. The depth of the story and its expected and unexpected twists and turns make for a highly enjoyable read.

Author Eriq La Salle draws on his years of experience in storytelling on the stage, television, and movies, this novel is highly visual and visceral. This is a “modern day parable cleverly masquerading as a crime novel:” a study of atonement, confession, revenge, and evil. Its characters are multi-layered bringing depth and vivid reality to this police procedure. Each must confront not only the depravity of a twisted mind, but also the defeated or suppressed depravities that have shaped their own lives and families. The reader is in for a page-turning experience that leaves supper dishes undone and creates bleary-eyed days at the office.

Debra Gaynor

"Laws of Depravity" begins with the murder of Everett Deggler. His hands were tightly bound behind his back and he was blindfolded as his assailants led him to the place they had prepared for him. They dipped him in boiling water long enough to blister him but not to kill him; then he was doused with ammonia. When his blindfold was removed he recognized his assailants. The year was 1981 and Deggler was the twelfth clergy to be murdered. Thirty years later once again a serial killer was on the loose. That time he had chosen New York City as his gruesome playground. Every ten years the killer murdered twelve clergy. Thirty six had died over the last thirty years and the killer has once again made his presence known. The Martyr Maker leaves behind his calling card in the form of a biblical scripture. His victims are murdered in manners similar to those of Jesus’ disciples. The killer does not discriminate against a particular denomination; his victims were well respected members of a variety of denominations. Each ten year period he selects a different city to terrorize. Thirty years ago the first victim was crucified. Detectives Quincy Cavanaugh, Phee Freeman and FBI Agent Janet Maclin have been working on the case together. Quincy challenges the profile of the victims. In the past it was assumed the victims were persecuted for their beliefs but he speculates that it could have been for their sins.

Author Eriq La Salle offers readers a plot that could have been ripped from the headlines. I repeatedly reminded myself that "Laws of Depravity" is a work of fiction. La Salle plays on our fears in this engrossing thriller. The characterization is exquisite and the twists and turns will keep the reader eagerly turning the pages to a well crafted ending. As danger and threat of death came closer and closer to Quincy, Phee and Maclin, I found myself unable to put the book down until I’d read every last word. I look forward to more La Salle's work.