Today’s guest is thriller author and high school principal Joseph Lewis and if that combination doesn’t make you wonder about today’s high schools, nothing will.
I’d like everyone to stand up and give Joseph Lewis a big round of applause for taking part in our exciting adventure.
Joseph Lewis’ Bio
Joseph Lewis has been in education for forty-one years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and now as an administrator. He uses his psychology and counseling background and his knowledge and fondness for kids in crafting his characters and dialogue. He has taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lewis has been happily married for twenty-five years to his wife, Kim. Together they have three wonderful children: Wil (deceased July 2014), Hannah and Emily and they now reside in Virginia.
Lewis has published four books, all available on Amazon and each to excellent reviews: TAKING LIVES (the prequel to the Lives Trilogy); STOLEN LIVES Book One of the Lives Trilogy; SHATTERED LIVES Book Two of the Trilogy; and SPLINTERED LIVES Book Three of the Trilogy. His fifth novel, CAUGHT IN A WEB was published April 2018 from Black Rose Writing.
Joseph and I talked about large families, growing up in Wisconsin, being a teacher, the rise of heroin and fentanyl among both children and adults, the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, local law enforcement dealing with FBI and other government agencies, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, criminal investigations and forensics (this was a wonderful albeit chilling interview, folks), dabbling in politics as an author, social media, getting the word out, not having the James Patterson name, the power of being local, doing far less entertaining interviews,
You can find links to Joseph’s books on the right or at the bottom of this post (depending on your device). You’ll also find links to Joseph’s sites underneath the video.
Joseph publishes through Black Rose
An excerpt from Joseph Lewis’ CAUGHT IN A WEB
“You’ve gotten shots before, right?”
The young blond boy licked his lips and nodded. He wanted to back out, leave and go home, but he didn’t know how he could do that. He was only thirteen, and he was alone with three high school kids.
“You’ll be fine,” the high school kid with the tat on his forearm said. “I’ve done this tons of times.”
The blond boy lost it a little as the fat high school kid tied the rubber hose on his upper arm.
“I don’t want to do this. I want to go home.” The blond boy hated that he cried in front of the two older boys, but he couldn’t help it.
The two high school boys looked at each other, and then at the third boy standing in the corner, who shook his head once. He had longish hair and was in charge, but stayed in the shadows.
“It’s no big deal, Kid. You’ll be fine.” To reassure him, Tat Boy added, “Really.”
The boy struggled to get out of the chair, but the fat boy held him down and tightened the restraints on his arms.
“Don’t get all weird on us. We paid you fifty bucks and all you have to do is get this vitamin shot.”
The younger boy struggled against the restraints, but was too weak. He cried harder.
“You need to hold still because I don’t want to miss your vein,” Tat Boy said.
“No, please. Please don’t. I want to go home! Please!” he sobbed, his voice rising in pitch.
Ignoring him, Tat Boy held the syringe and said, “Okay, here we go. Hold still now.”
The needle punctured the young boy’s arm, found the big vein, and the syringe was depressed. The milky liquid flew through the small boy’s body. He sagged into the chair, his eyes blinked and rolled back into his head. His mouth opened and closed, and then stayed open. His head lolled from one side to the other before tilting backward.
Fat Boy released his grip on the small boy’s shoulders as Tat Boy pulled out the needle and loosened the rubber tube.
“The kid pissed in his pants,” Fat Boy said. “Jesus! Why do they always piss and shit their pants?”
Tat Boy watched the younger kid anxiously, hoping the mix was correct.
The younger boy began to shake and convulse. He puked onto his shirt and in his lap. His hands clenched and unclenched. Veins stuck out in his neck and his feet tapped the floor. His head fell to the side. He was gone.
The two boys looked over at the third boy for guidance, but didn’t receive any.
Fat Boy said, “Put his sweatshirt back on and let’s get him out of here.”
Tat Boy stared at the little kid feeling something like remorse, but he wasn’t sure. He was sad, maybe. At least he thought he was.
“Let’s go, let’s go! Before he shits his pants!” Fat Boy said. “I don’t want shit in my car. It’s bad enough he pissed on himself.”
Angrily, Tat Boy wiped down the needle and syringe so his fingerprints weren’t on it, and did the same with the rubber tube. He set them on the floor and helped the Fat Boy put the red sweatshirt back on the little kid. He didn’t understand why the kid needed the sweatshirt since he was dead, but he figured it was maybe the thing to do.
Together, Fat Boy and Tat Boy carried the kid out to the car and laid him down on the plastic tarp in the trunk. Fat Boy rolled him onto his side, snatched the fifty dollar bill out of the little kid’s pocket, and stuffed it into his own pocket. Fat Boy rolled him back over onto his back.
“It’s fucking cold! I want to get this over with,” Fat Boy said with a shiver.
“Where are we going to take him?”
“I know a place in an alley. It’s not far from here.”
Tat Boy ran back into the building. He used paper towel to pick up the syringe and tube, and put them in the trunk with the dead kid. Fat Boy slammed the trunk shut and jumped in the car on the driver’s side.
Before he got in the car on the passenger side, Tat Boy watched the third boy, the one with the longish hair, walk out to his car, get in and drive off without saying anything.
Hardly fair, Tat Boy thought.
He got in the car. He and Fat Boy drove off with yet another dead kid in the trunk.
Graff hated late night or early morning phone calls. They were almost always bad. Actually, no almost about it. They were all bad.
His wife, Kelly, was already sitting up in bed by the time Jamie answered his cell.
“What do you have?”
“Another body. A boy who looks like a middle school kid.”
“Cause of death?”
Patrol Sargent Todd Collins hesitated, not wanting to say anything, but he did anyway.
“The ME hasn’t confirmed it so it isn’t definite, but it looks like another OD.”
Graff shut his eyes, rubbed his face, and shook his head tiredly. So far, three high school
kids and now a middle school kid.
“Where are you?”
“Alley behind Causeway.” As if he needed to explain further said, “The hardware store on Sunset near the hair place. Empire.”
As soon as Collins told him they were behind Causeway, he knew where they were. He knew his city. He knew his county.
Graff looked at the alarm clock and saw that it was a couple of hours before he was going to get up. It was his day off. Rather, it was supposed to be his day off.
“Be there in thirty,” and he ended the call.
“Bad?” Kelly asked.
Graff didn’t like to bring his work home with him. His home, his life with Kelly and his son, Garrett, was his sanctuary, his island, and he didn’t want to poison it with his work. But
Kelly was his best and closest friend, besides Jeremy Evans and Jeff Limbach, and as hard as he tried not to, he ended up sharing bits and pieces with her. Just bits and pieces. Not the whole story because he felt the whole story was too much. Kelly had disagreed, arguing that bits and pieces were worse because it left the imagination to fill in the rest.
Like the summer a year ago and that mess with Brett and the boys in Chicago. Like what had happened to George and Jeremy in Arizona. CNN and the local news filled in some of it, but
Jamie had never told her what had taken place in that warehouse in Chicago. He never told her about the fire fight and how Gary Fitzpatrick ended up getting shot, or how little Mikey Erickson was so beaten up or how he started stuttering, or how Brett ended up in the hospital with a gunshot wound, or how George ended up with so many scars or why he was given both an open and a conceal carry for the large knife she often saw on George’s hip.
Jamie laid back down, his face buried in Kelly’s breasts.
“We don’t have time for this. You have to go catch bad guys.”
“The bad guys can wait.”
“Get going, Big Guy. You jump in the shower and brush your teeth. I’ll make you an egg sandwich and some coffee.”
“Friggin’ A,” Graff said. “I hate these calls.”
“You hate any calls that wake you up before you’re ready to get up.” She kissed the back of his head and said, “Get going, Big Guy.”
He sat up and said, “Crap,” but he crawled out of bed, both arms above his head as he stretched on his way to the bathroom.