Fan Mail


A barrage of threatening letters, a car bomb, and a heart attack rip apart what was once a close-knit family of adopted brothers. Randy and Bobby, along with fellow band member and best friend, Danny, receive fan mail that turns menacing. They ignore it, but to their detriment. The sender turns up the heat. Violence upends their world. It rocks the relationship between the boys and ripples through their family, nearly killing their dad. As these boys turn on each other, adopted brother Brian flashes back to that event in Arizona where he nearly lost his life saving his brothers. The scars on his face and arms healed, but not his heart. Would he once again have to put himself in harm's way to save them? And if faced with that choice, will he?


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When I wrote this book, like any author, I had a story idea and I wrote it. It wasn’t until after it was completed, with all the edits finished, did I realize just how much each chapter or paragraph or sentence impacted the whole and led to the climax.

 In this short segment, Jeremy, the father of the family, had a heart attack because of the stress of the threatening letters two of his boys and their friend are receiving. It is the combination of the heart attack and the strain of the letters that threaten to tear apart an otherwise close-knit family of adopted brothers.

The passage below takes place in the Evans kitchen. Billy, a twin of Randy, works on a landscaping project for his class with a friend, Tony. Randy has an issue with his brothers, but takes it out on Tony. Brett, Bobby, Brian and Billy come to Tony’s aid and it almost comes to blows:


“We can add some Knockout Roses spaced out between the green bushes if you like,” Tony said. “That would make things pop, without distracting from the house.”

“You sound like the guy from Queer Eye,” Randy muttered.

“Why? Because he’s an artist? What the hell is wrong with you?” Bobby asked.

“It was meant as a joke,” Randy said, turning his head away from everyone.

“The hell it was! It wasn’t funny. It was disrespectful and rude. You could have said Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, or even Maine Cabin Masters. But you went with Queer Eye. That’s offensive,” Bobby said.

Billy was fuming. “Last night at the restaurant, you were all over Tony’s ass, butting in when it had nothing to do with you.”

Tony’s face was beat red. He put an elbow on the table and his hand over his eyes. “Look, I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I’m sorry.” He turned to Billy and said, “Maybe you can do this presentation without me.” He looked up at Brian and said, “Maybe I should go home.”

“No, Tony! Please don’t,” Vicky said as she came around the table to hug him from behind. “I know Brian would be disappointed if you did, and I think the others would be, too.” To Randy, she said, “You owe him an apology and I don’t want to hear anything else coming out of your mouth! Is that understood?”

Randy shrugged and said, “I’m sorry.”

“That was dripping in sincerity,” Brett said. “I’m sure Tony feels welcome now.”

“Randy, leave the room,” Jeremy said. “You will not treat a guest in our house like that. He’s not only Brian’s friend, he’s everyone’s friend.”

Brian and Billy were seething. Both stood with their hands clenched into fists.

“Randy, I’ve been thinking for a while now. Remember, a couple of years ago when the guys and I were in the hospital in Chicago after we were freed from that shit hole? You would go from room to room and talk to us, listen to us, and encourage us?” Brett asked. “I miss that Randy. I don’t know where he went, but he’s been AWOL for a while.”

“Screw you!”


“Oh? What? What are you going to do?” Randy spat.

Brett slammed Randy into the wall with a forearm and grabbed the scruff of his shirt around his neck. A picture fell to the floor. In a small, but menacing voice, he said, “Dad told you to leave the room. If you don’t, I’ll help you leave, but you might not be in one piece. Tony is our friend. All of ours. You will not treat him disrespectfully or rudely. You will treat him as you treat Bobby or Danny.”

“Or what?”

“You really want to go there? Because I’m ready if you are.”

George and Jeremy quickly pulled them apart. Bobby, Danny, and Two stood in front of Brian, who was more than ready to come to Brett’s and Tony’s aid.

Jeremy grabbed Randy by the arm and pulled him outside. George held Brett only as long as Jeremy needed to get Randy out the door.

            Randy has been one character in my books that is a peacemaker, is conciliatory, and compassionate, as evidenced by Brett’s comment about the “old Randy.” There are other reasons within the chapters why Randy has an issue with Tony, and why Brett, Billy, and Brian quickly come to his defense. This is one example of the strain the letters and Jeremy’s heart attack has on the family, especially the seven brothers, and all of it leads to a dramatic confrontation at the finish.

Author Bio –

After having been in education for forty-six years as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator, Joseph Lewis has semi-retired and now works part-time as an online learning facilitator. He uses his psychology and counseling background to craft thriller/crime/detective mysteries, and has taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC.

Lewis has published eight books, all available on Amazon and each to excellent reviews: Taking Lives (May 2021) the prequel to the Lives Trilogy; Stolen Lives (May 2021) Book One of the Lives Trilogy is a BestThrillers 1st Place Award Winner for Crime Fiction, and a Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner; Shattered Lives (May 2021) Book Two of the Trilogy; and Splintered Lives (May 2021) Book Three of the Trilogy (May 2021); Caught in a Web (April 2018), which was a PenCraft Literary Award Winner for Crime Fiction and named “One of the Best Crime Fiction Thrillers of 2018!” by Best Thrillers; Spiral Into Darkness (January 2019), which was named a Recommended Read by Author’s Favorites; Betrayed November 2020 is a Top Shelf Award 1st Place Fiction-Mystery; Top Shelf Award Runner-Up Fiction-Crime; PenCraft Award 1st Place Winner, Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery-Suspense, a Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner, and a Reader’s Favorite 5 Star Rating Winner; Blaze In, Blaze Out January 2022 has already won a Literary Titan Gold Book Award, A Reader’s Favorite Recommended Read, and was an Editor’s Pick by . Lewis has another thriller-crime-mystery, Fan Mail hitting the market March 30, 2023.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lewis has been happily married to his wife, Kim. Together they have three wonderful children: Wil (deceased July 2014), Hannah, and Emily. He and his wife now reside in Virginia.


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