Laws of Annihilation by Eriq La Salle – Book Review

Laws of Annihilation by Eriq La Salle – Book Review

Laws of Annihilation by Eriq La Salle

Laws of Annihilation
Martyr Maker Book Three

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A war is brewing in New York City, and no one can stop it.

With grit, relentless action, and twists you’ll never see coming, Laws of Annihilation is the third installment in the highly-acclaimed Martyr Maker series by Eriq La Salle.

It’s another blistering summer in New York City, and a sweltering heat wave stifles the area. Hostility between the Hasidic and Black communities has been steadily increasing since a tragic incident left a Black teenager dead. When two rabbis are killed in a gruesome attack on their synagogue, it has all the signs of retaliation.

The entire city is on edge.

Through it all, Agent Janet Maclin’s dreams of becoming the FBI’s first female director come crashing down when she receives some devastating news. In spite of it all, she’s determined to help NYPD detectives Quincy Cavanaugh and Phee Freeman find the rabbis’ killer as more hate crimes put the city on the brink of all-out war. As the body count climbs with the temperature and the tensions, time is running out for Maclin in more ways than one.

Review by Clive

Eriq La Salle is a talented and busy man. After a long and active career as an actor and director, he has now turned his experience of crime drama to write the Martyr Maker series of novels; the third of which, Laws of Annihilation, has just been published. The previous books in the series are Laws of Depravity (published 2012) and Laws of Wrath (published 2014) – both re-released in the last couple of years. I don’t know why there has been a delay but for one so active, it is understandable. There was also a prequel novella, Laws of Innocence.

I have yet to read the earlier books but any lack of background knowledge did not spoil my enjoyment of Laws of Annihilation.

La Salle has an easy to read writing style and makes this multi-stranded plot understandable to the reader. His action scenes are lively and exciting. I personally found some of the violence gruesome and of an unnecessarily sadistic nature. The book is told in the third person with a great deal of it told through the eyes and mind of the lead character, Janet Maclin. This helps to understand the other characters better but it also led to some long passages of introspection which I found tedious at times.

The investigating team of Janet from the FBI and the NYPD partnership of Quincy and Phee, work well together blending their varied characters and backgrounds. Their investigations are mainly procedural with some inspired hunches. As with all good fictional detectives, they manage to get involved in every part of the investigation.

The epilogue points to a further story to be published sometime in the future so if your appetite has been whetted, I hope that there will not be a further nine year gap between books.

As explained above, my enjoyment of Laws of Annihilation was tempered by the high level of violence and the long sections of inward contemplation by the lead character. This is measured in my moderate star rating of three and a half.

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Eriq La Salle

Eriq La Salle

Actor, director, producer, and masterful storyteller Eriq La Salle is best known to worldwide television audiences for his award-winning portrayal of Dr. Peter Benton on the medical drama ER. Educated at Juilliard and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, his credits range from Broadway to film roles, starring alongside Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, and Hugh Jackman in Logan.

La Salle has maintained a prolific acting career while also taking the helm as director for HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon Prime, ABC NBC, Fox and CBS productions. His craft as a crime writer was honed over his many seasons as a key member of the Dick Wolf Entertainment team, which include four years as executive producer and director on Chicago PD, in addition to directing episodes of Law & Order, Law and Order SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime. He is also executive producer, director, and one of the lead actors of Dick Wolf’s “On Call,” out in 2024 on Amazon Prime Video.

As a writer, La Salle is the author of several critically-acclaimed thrillers published by Sourcebooks—Laws of Depravity (2022), Laws of Wrath (2023), and Laws of Annihilation (2023). His episode of The Twilight Zone recently made WGA’s list of 101 Best Written TV Series. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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