SIN EATER by John Schembra

First, I would like to thank Marilyn for hosting me on her blog.  She has long been a friend and the type of writer I want to be when I grow up!

 I would like to use this opportunity to introduce my latest novel, Sin Eater, a paranormal thriller.  This is a bit different from my Vince Torelli series of mysteries, with new characters and settings, and an especially evil villain.  It was so much fun to write and I was honored that it won the Honorable Mention Award in the PSWA 2014 writing competition.

While talking to people at book signings they often ask how I came up with the title, as Sin Eater is an unusual and uncommon phrase.  Well, when I write, I usually have the television on in the office as background noise (low volume) and there happened to be a movie playing at the time.  I don’t know what the title was or what the plot was about, or even who was in it, though I believe it was one of Robin Williams’ movies.  As usual, I was not listening to the dialogue but I did hear something that caught my attention.  I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it then returned to working on my manuscript.  

A few weeks later when I had finished that manuscript and was thinking about my next project, I remembered what I had written down and since my curiosity was piqued, I began researching the phrase, sin eater, and was surprised to find out that Sin Eaters were real people who plied their trade in America in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  They would, through ritual means, absolve the dying of their sins by taking the burden of those sins from the person upon themselves, thereby clearing the dying person’s soul and allowing them to rest in peace.

I began thinking how it could be a great story if there was a psychotic Sin Eater operating in present time, and if I made him more crazy and threw in some paranormal aspects, it could be even more interesting.  Once I managed to sort out the details and began writing, the story came together smoothly and a book was born!

The first chapter is posted at my website,  and Sin Eater is available in paperback and e-book formats from:   and 
Should you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it, and remember, a review is sincerely welcomed and appreciated!

The shocking murder of a professor at San Donorio State College brings the city police in to investigate, with Camous Police Officer Sarah Ferris as the college PD Liason.

            Sarah’s friend  Nico Guardino, a history professor, gets drawn into the helping and while Nico and Sarah struggle to find the murderer, the killing continues.

            As Nico is inexorable drawn deeper and deeper into the investigation he begins getting flashes of visions and deep feelings of dread that he knows are somehow connected to the killer.  He feels the connection becoming stronger, but how and why remains unknown.  His visions and feelings are becoming more and more disturbing as the investigation progresses…

John Schembra spent a year with the 557th MP Company at Long Binh, South Vietnam in 1970.  His time as a combat M.P. provided the basis of his first book, M.P., A Novel of Vietnam, a work of fiction based in part on his personal experiences.  Upon completing his military service, John joined the Pleasant Hill Police Department, where he retired in 2001 as a Sergeant, after 30 years of service.  He then became the lead Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) instructor for the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and was certified by the State of California as a subject matter expert in Emergency Vehicle Operations.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice through California State University, Sacramento, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration through California State University, Hayward.                                       
In addition to M.P.,  John has had several articles published in law enforcement periodicals, including, Law and Order, Police Officer’s Quarterly, and The Backup.  He is also a contributing author in True Blue – Police Stories by Those Who Have Lived Them, a collection of short stories released by St. Martin’s Press.  His second novel Retribution, a fictional story of the hunt for a serial killer in San Francisco, was published in the spring of 2007, and his third novel Diplomatic Immunity was published in 2012. His fourth novel Sin Eater was released in 2016 and his fifth book is currently undergoing editing at the publisher. John lives in Concord, CA with Charlene, his wife of 45 years.


Dee Card said…
Good morning Marilyn and John!. Sounds like a very interesting premise for a great story. Adding it to my "read" list.
I've read it, and it is unusual and intriguing.
Thonie Hevron said…
I've read this book and its a winner!

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