Thomas Rhett has a song that has been out awhile. “Sixteen” tells us of teens eager to grow up. Each chorus changes beginning with sixteen, then eighteen, then twenty-one, until the last chorus or verse is:
Now that I’m twenty-five, and I’m drinking wine with my wife at home
Got a couple dogs and a couple songs on the radio
And we sit around, and we laugh at how we used to be
When all we cared about was turning sixteen.
I have to admit, patience is not one of my strong suits. Not at all.
Having been around kids for forty-six years now, I recognize their impatience in myself at their age:
Can’t wait to drive.
Can’t wait for Homecoming and Prom.
Can’t wait to graduate.
Can’t wait to go to college or get a job.
Yet, we do wait. And sometimes we wait so long we forget what it was we were waiting for in the first place.
Little kids are the best. When I was a long-term sub last fall for a third grade class, there was this boy who “couldn’t wait” for his first baseball game. I taught them virtually using a Google Meet, and Jackson asked me if I wanted to see his baseball shirt. Of course, I said I did, so he ran off, changed shirts, and proudly showed me and the class his game shirt, the shirt he was going to wear that evening. Of course, at 8:00 AM, the evening seemed like such a long time away. He had to wait.
The weekend. Who doesn’t look forward to the last bell on Friday afternoon signaling the beginning of the weekend? It seems like a long time on Monday morning when the alarm goes off at 5:15 AM, and we stab at the snooze button, trying to prolong when we have to roll out of bed, doesn’t it?
Our daughter, Hannah, and her fiancé, Alex, had to postpone their wedding a full year because of Covid-19. All the planning and preparation put on hold. There were others who had similar plans that had to be delayed.
This coming summer, Hannah and Emily are bound and determined to have a family trip to Hawaii. We vacation together during the same week in July, around our anniversary and Wil’s death, one day apart. Summer seems like a long time to wait when we just started September. A long time.
All the waiting seems painful to an extent. And as I said, patience is not one of my strong suits. I want to get it done. Bring it on! Let’s get going! Get it over with! Now!
But . . .
There is much to be learned in waiting. Time and nature has its own metronome to follow. The older we get, the faster the metronome beats. The younger we are, the slower. When young, time slogs by. As we get older, time flies so fast. We try to hold on to it, grasp it, hold it close to our heart. Never letting go. Never, ever. Yet, we do because we must.
And while we wait, in patience, we enjoy the time we have at present, the here and the now, fully knowing that time ticks, it goes, only to be followed by other moments, some big, some small, to be appreciated and loved for what they bring us, what they do to us. Precious moments. All of time to be enjoyed, not sped through like a NASCAR driver at Daytona. Each unique. Each special. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
In one day, I received four bits of great news I’d like to share with you! First, I received two 5 Star Reviews from Diane Donovan, a Senior Reviewer for the Midwest Book Review, and Editor of California Bookwatch. One was for Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy, and the other was for my newest book, Blaze In, Blaze Out. They are:
Stolen Lives represents an exciting probe of abduction and unusual connections between fourteen-year-old victims, and is recommended reading for thriller and intrigue fans who enjoy stories that focus as much on rescuers and victims as it does on the perps.
Kelliher and his team of FBI agents face multiple challenges in a series of events that have remained unresolved for years. Witnesses tend to be murdered before they can provide further clues, and the four young victims' lives themselves prove mercurial and hard to trace or fathom.
At this point, it should be mentioned that this book is first in a projected trilogy. Readers who look for complex stories of murder, kidnapping, and ongoing investigations will be satisfied by a tale that introduces the setting, but holds the power to attract and remain unresolved over multiple scenarios and books.
Navajo boy George Tokay may hold the clue that has eluded Kelliher and his people for years. The only problem is—George has no idea what this special knowledge is. All he knows is that he's witnessed a puzzling execution. And he feels compelled to join forces with the investigators to resolve this case: "The Navajo boy of fourteen, who stood facing the death scene, was afraid of the dead boy’s chindi. But George reasoned that if he were to help find the dead boy’s killers and bring them to justice, the chindi would be satisfied and leave his family’s land. The worldly boy of fourteen, who wanted to join the tribal police like his cousin, was simply curious. He saw this as an opportunity to win respect and admiration from his family, and his grandfather, in particular."
From family relationships and Navajo ways to Jamie Graff, a policeman working with the FBI who makes new inroads to discovery, only to unearth more puzzles surrounding the kidnappings and police relationships, Joseph Lewis builds a compelling tale filled with satisfying twists and turns.
As the boys struggle to survive and the police attempt to find answers and hope in a seemingly impossible situation, readers are treated to a scenario firmly rooted in the author's research into child abduction and real-world events that translate well to thought-provoking fictional milieus.
Human trafficking and murder are difficult issues to tackle, yet Lewis does so with astute social, psychological, and investigative insights that keep his story realistic, involving, and unpredictable.
Even though Stolen Lives is part of a trilogy, it ends on a satisfyingly complete note, which makes it highly recommended as a stand-alone story for readers who typically eschew series titles.
Collections strong in social issues, mystery and intrigue, and novels of survival tactics will find Stolen Lives a fine addition.
Blaze In, Blaze Out is a detective story that takes place in the aftermath of the conviction of a Ukrainian crime ring, where Detectives Pat O'Connor and Paul Eiselmann have finally brought the perps to court and justice has been served.
You'd think this would be the end of the story; but in fact it's the prologue to a new conundrum which opens with an intriguing image: "He sat his boney ass on the unyielding wooden bench in nearly the same spot, sometimes for up to six or seven marathon hours give or take, minus a lunch break or whenever the judge decided to give the jury a break. It wasn’t often, but it was enough."
Neither detective expected head honcho Dmitry Andruko to organize a vendetta against them from jail—but this is what takes place, and the quiet repose each officer seeks after their challenging case takes an ominous turn as elusive contract killers enter their lives to threaten everything they love.
Joseph Lewis specializes in a fast-paced action story that takes the time to build compelling atmosphere around its events. There are also subtle moments of comic relief injected into the story of multiple killers and attacks from all sides: "Being up in a tree helped O’Connor’s cell reception. So much so, his cell had vibrated almost nonstop."
He also presents the point of view of the contract killer challenged to do his job. This nicely rounds out the dilemma and viewpoint of the detectives as they face their pursuers and struggle to survive long enough to capture them.
It should be noted that some of the violent encounters, as when Indian boy Two is attacked, are graphically described. Mystery and detective readers will be used to this kind of description, and it's entirely in keeping with the plot.
There are also many surprises, as when the killer proves to have a heart, saving a potential victim even as he plots to complete his assignment.
It only goes to show that proving guilt is sometimes the beginning of the journey—not the end.
Blaze In, Blaze Out is highly recommended for detective story readers and libraries catering to them. Mystery readers seeking a compelling saga will find this story of detectives and four teen adopted brothers who face a clever killer to be fast-paced, involving, and filled with satisfyingly unpredictable moments, tempered by fine tension that builds up to a thought-provoking conclusion leaving the door ajar for more.
The other information I received was that Stolen Lives received the Literary Titan Gold Book Award, and Betrayed won Honorable Mention for Fiction-Crime-Mystery in the Reader’s Favorite Book Award contest. That marks the fourth award Betrayed has won. All of this leaves me both honored and humbled.
have an author’s website, besides my Facebook Author’s
Page. On it, I talk about writing. I introduce characters from my books,
and I introduce readers to other authors. I also release snippets from those
books. Mostly, it is my way of reaching out to you so that you get to know my
author side of life. You can find it at: https://jrlewisauthor.blog/
Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /
My new book, Blaze In, Blaze Out, is now available for preorder. Use the promo code: PREORDER2021 and order it at the publisher’s website at: https://www.blackrosewriting.com/mystery/blazeinblazeout
Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko meant the end. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. A target is a target, and in the end, the target will die.
Betrayed: A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!
Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx
Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent, and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com
Caught in a Web is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka
found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of
heroin and fentanyl. MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador,
controls the drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo
Fuentes to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach
them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old
boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives
Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the
drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else,
especially George or members of his family. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
The Lives Trilogy and Prequel are now available in both paperback, kindle and nook through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble! The links are below! I appreciate all the texts, requests, and messages I have been receiving. Thanks for your support and interest. I edited and revised each book. I am pleased with the results. I am thankful to BRW for their continued belief in me and in my writing. I hope you will rediscover or perhaps discover the Lives Trilogy and Prequel.
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they live in separate parts of the country, the lives of Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner!
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and possible death? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives
Photo courtesy of Marco Lopez and Unsplash