Today I’m on the blog tour for Caught in a Web and am bringing you an extract……
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha 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. The three detectives come to realize that the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.
These three cops, Detectives Graff, O’Connor and Eiselmann have worked together in the past on several cases. O’Connor normally works drugs and gangs undercover, and Eiselmann is his control. Both are with the county Sheriff department, while Graff is city PD. They are eating lunch and going over what they “think” they know of the case so far . . .
The three cops sat in a booth near the front window in a George Webb. Graff had already finished off a greasy cheeseburger and was taking his time munching on French fries and sipping a Diet Dr. Pepper. O’Connor also had a cheeseburger, but hadn’t taken more than two bites. His fries were mostly untouched, but he did drink his Coke. Eiselmann was a power eater, but his meal only consisted of tomato soup and a toasted cheese sandwich with a mug of hot tea. He had explained that Sarah Bailey had invited him over for dinner.
After Graff ate a couple more French fries, he said, “Pat, you’re the expert. What do you think?”
O’Connor wiped his mouth off with a paper napkin, sipped his Coke and said, “I,” and he stopped. He had a habit of starting and stopping and both Graff and Eiselmann were used to it. “I haven’t seen the tox screens on these two kids yet. But what I saw on our kid and what I saw in the picture of your kid . . . the one from this morning, I think we’re dealing with heroin. Same as the other kids. Only this stuff is different. A mix of something. I think. Maybe.”
“Why wouldn’t it be just heroin?” Eiselmann asked.
“Because an OD on heroin doesn’t have the effect we saw on our kid or Graff ’s kid. Not quite, anyway. Different.”
“Where would it come from? Who would be running it?” Graff asked.
“Obvious answer would be MS-13. The Salvadorians own the drug business in and around Milwaukee, including Waukesha. They run shit up from Chicago, up I-43 into Kenosha and Racine, all the way up to Green Bay and Door County,” Eiselmann said.
O’Connor shook his head, “I don’t think so.”
“Why?” Graff said.
“We have three high school kids and two middle school kids. I don’t know much about the two kids today, but the others had nothing. No previous drug involvement. They didn’t hang around any of the shits I know. They didn’t have records of any kind. They don’t fit the profile. So, how did they get heroin? Why did they even think of using heroin? From what I know in the reports, these kids didn’t hang with one another. We don’t even know if they knew one another.”
The three men picked at their food, finished off their drinks and got refills.
“What do we have?” Graff asked looking out the cold wintery late afternoon.
“Shit if I know,” Eiselmann muttered. “If it’s not MS-13, we have another player or players. We’ll have a mess on our hands if the 13 finds out someone is working their territory.
O’Connor thought it over and asked, “The schools the kids were from. What were the high schools again?”
Graff wiped his hands off on a napkin, opened up the manila folder and leafed through the pages.
“Two of the high school kids were from South. A sophomore and a junior. They might have known one another, but South is a big school. I have a buddy who’s the athletic director there. Dan Domach. I can check with him. The other high school kid was a junior from West. My middle school kid was from Horning. Horning feeds South and it’s only about eight hundred kids. I’m meeting with the principal, Mark Wegner, later today. Your kid was a seventh grader at Central. Most of those kids feed West, but some feed North.”
“Would Mikey or Stephen know him . . . them? The one from Horning? I know they go to Butler now, but maybe they knew him from when they went to Horning. Maybe Brett or the twins or George knew the high school kids.”
“I can check with Mikey and Stephen and see what they know,” Eiselmann said. “I’m taking them to a movie tonight.”
“Are you and Stephen’s mom going to get married?” Graff asked.
O’Connor smiled knowingly.
“I haven’t asked Sarah . . . officially, that is. But we’ve talked about it. I have to make sure Stephen is okay with it.”
“It’s been, what, a year and a half?” Graff asked.
“Ever since the summer from hell.”
“A lot of shit that summer,” Graff said. “Bad stuff.”
“Well, at least now all the boys are safe,” Eiselmann said.
“I’ll ask the twins and George and Brett, but I doubt they knew the high school kids,” Graff said. “They boys roll with a tight group. Not a lot of outsiders.”
O’Connor shook his head and stared out the window.
“What?” Graff asked.
“Don’t know yet.” He shook his head, sipped his Coke and said, “Don’t know yet.”
Graff glanced at Eiselmann, who shrugged his shoulders and sipped his soup.
“If you can, have them keep their eyes and ears open. Not do or say anything, just listen and watch.”
Graff and Eiselmann exchanged a look, but O’Connor didn’t catch it. Deep in thought, he was staring out the window.
about the author
Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.
Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.
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Thanks to Rachel for inviting me to take part in the tour, and to the author and publisher for providing me with this extract to share with you.
As always, check out the other fabulous bloggers on this tour.
Have a wonderful day