Chocolate and Peanut Butter by Scott A. Lerner

Welcoming author Scott A. Lerner to the blog today as part of his virtual tour in support of his debut novel, Cocaine Zombies. I’ll also be reviewing the book tomorrow, but for now the floor belongs to Scott.

Scott A. LernerI was asked if Cocaine Zombies is more about cocaine or zombies, as if the title was a list of ingredients. This is not like being asked if a peanut butter cup is more about the chocolate or the peanut butter. The essence of Cocaine Zombies is not cocaine or zombies; it is human nature.

Chloe, the antagonist, holds that at its core mankind is essentially evil. Just as the essential nature of a toaster pastry is flakey goodness. She believes we can no more change that nature than we can change the nature of the pastry. Her position is well supported by our history of torture, slavery and genocide. The present is not a whole lot better. If humans are essentially evil, she reasons, we are undeserving of freewill.

Chloe would further argue that even if we are not evil we are certainly no better than animals. That humanity is ruled by instinct and greed. That people are willing to put their values aside as well as the values of society for personal benefit. This is also a compelling argument. If humanity is indifferent to the plight of others and focused solely on our own needs and desires, we are undeserving of freewill.

Certainly government to some degree has embraced her argument. Cameras are everywhere. The government is more than willing to allow our telephones to be tapped and our homes to be searched. The Fourth Amendment of the United States’ Constitution has been weakened because we are not trusted with freedom. The excuse is the war on drugs or the war or terrorism but the result is a war on freedom.

Sam the reluctant hero believes in the essential goodness of humanity. He sees the evil within society but still believes in the potential for human greatness. He believes on occasion mankind can put aside its animal nature and rise to the greater good. Sam does not just talk the talk. He rejects personal wealth and power for the good of society as a whole. He risks his life to preserve freedom.

To a lesser degree and more subtly written between the lines is the idea that the deities of the more popular religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all male. Chloe, who practices voodoo, believes a woman could do a better job. Many of the ancient Polytheistic religions included female deities as well. Most of the evil characters in human history have been male. Certainly Stalin and Hitler would top my hit parade of evil folks, and both are men. I could add a few women to my list but they would be much further down. I suspect that as women gain more power in society we will see more of them on the list, but that is a whole other matter.

Ultimately, the reader need not worry about my philosophical ramblings. You can certainly read it without having to wrestle with the essential nature of humanity or if women would do a better job of ruling the world. If you like reading about things blowing up, fast cars, drugs and magic you will dig this book. If you prefer a good treatise comparing the philosophies of John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant and delving into the essential nature of mankind, you might not like it as much. Yet, why not give it a try? Make an author happy.

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. Cocaine Zombies is his first published novel. Coming soon, the sequel: Ruler of Demons. To learn more about Lerner, visit his website.

1 Comment

  • L.J. Sellers

    November 12, 2012 - 12:56 pm

    Interesting post. I’m intrigued by Chloe and her voodoo practice and how it fits in with drugs, fast cars, and things blowing up. I’m downloading a free sample now.