It’s one thing to write a crime thriller for the first time, but the next level is when none other than James Patterson praises the book in a preview.

That is the catbird seat where acclaimed actor and producer Eriq La Salle now sits.

The Emmy-nominated actor has released the first of a three-book deal with Lavette Books/The Poisoned Pen Books, imprints related to the Ebony Publishing family.

Laws of Depravity, the first offering in the series, dropped on November 1.

La Salle will then release Laws of Wrath and then Laws of Annihilation. Finally, a prequel follows the last offering.

The series takes place in New York in 2011 when authorities find a priest murdered.

“Detectives must track down a serial killer who continues to escalate his crimes, LaSalle explained during a recent appearance on the National Newspaper Publisher’s Association’s live morning news show, Let It Be Known.

He notes that the “Martyr Maker” character has struck for 30 years, leaving behind a legacy of torture and fear.

“The detectives [Quincy Cavanaugh and Phee Freeman], and FBI agent Janet Maclin, know that they have very little time to catch the killer because they know he’ll disappear forever,” La Salle stated.

According to a preview of the series, the investigation takes a more challenging turn when authorities discover that the seemingly unrelated clergymen are “anything but the symbols of godliness they would have their community believe.”

“All thriller, no filter,” Patterson exclaimed about La Salle’s series.

“A white-knuckled treat,” he remarked.

Traditional reviewers were just as excited.

“A delightfully twisting roller-coaster ride through light, dark, and the shades between,” Kirkus Reviews touted.

“A heart-pounding ride of vengeance, murder, and atonement,” opined Neal Baer, a former executive producer of Law and Order SVU.

Publishers Weekly called the series a “gritty crime thriller, spiritual quest, and love story all woven into one compelling tale.”

“Unfortunately, there has historically been a blatant underrepresentation of authors of color in the thriller/suspense genre,” remarked La Salle, who played Dr. Peter Benton on the hit television drama ER.

That role earned La Salle seven NAACP Image Award nominations and three wins, seven Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations and four wins, three Primetime Emmy nominations, and a Golden Globe nod.

La Salle also starred in “Coming to America,” “One Hour Photo” and “Logan,” among other films and television shows.

“I am both honored and elated to have my thriller series selected to help launch this incredible endeavor of showcasing universally compelling stories that exist beyond race and gender,” La Salle stated.

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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