Richie O’Malley and Juan Carlos Felipe-friends from boyhood to the grave. At times portraying the role of innocent bystanders find themselves pulled deep into a world of drug smuggling and organized crime. By the stories end their journey has taken them from deep in the South American drug cartels to the American CIA, and to the highest offices in the United States. It is a story about the corruption of money and power and at the end an examination of friendship lost and friendship rediscovered. Juan is dying in a hospital and Richie realizes his life of anonymity and relative safety is fast imploding around him. Juan, knowing his end is fast approaching, feels a deep need for acknowlegment and atonement for their crimes.
Dark, gritty, and riddled with back alley characters, The Third Step is one man's journey into the black recesses of his own soul... Meet Frankie, a young, disaffected amateur boxer, really more of a punching bag, a drunk and a drug addict. He is a loser at love, except for his relationship with his grandma, who, rumor has it, is a white witch. She, along with a handful of others, serve as his moral compass. Frankie fights a lifelong struggle to find an understanding of the creator of the universe, not the poisoned caricature painted by the church and the "holy" people who seem to torment him. His journey takes him from the East Coast down to New Orleans to face confrontations with his demons, both real and imagined. Along the way, the story is littered with tales of drug smuggling, murder, an affair with a woman who may be the devil herself, and an ultimate quest for revenge. Frankie comes to terms with his addictions, but his search for a deeper understanding of this God entity and his need to connect with his soul could be his ultimate addiction, one that may follow him beyond the grave...
This character, Artie, has become a model for my third book I am forever fascinated by these depression era guys. Even lost in their criminality they have a proud stoic nature. Artie is too good to let go yet...
This is a pretty accurate portrayal of my last day as an active drug addict. if I have learned one thing from the recovery process it is this: Be honest with yourself about who you are and where you come from.
I want the details. There are so many formula based books out there that according to some publishers and reviewers, must be a certain amount of pages based on genre. Real literature, as is the case with this work and with this author, William Lobb, is written from the heart and soul, follows no formula, and can be measured by it's impact on the reader. I put "The Third Step", by William Lobb easily in the class of "On the Road", by Jack Kerouac, with the brutal blunt power of "Painted Bird", by Jerzy Kosinski.
I liked Juan's character so much I carried him over to the second book. Not a series or a sequel at all, more a a continuation so I could keep this character alive. A good friend of mine, now past, was the model for Juan. I guess I miss him. Writing about Juan kept my friend alive for me.
Frankie, now sober, encounters a prostitute deep and active in her addiction. He craves her, craves her addiction. Realizing his addiction is his home...
Frankie was confounded and confused by Cora and her boundless faith. Cora and Alexandrine had a faith Frankie would never comprehend. From the old man, his grandfather, he took his rage, his anger, from the old man he found his darkness
I loved writing this chapter. It made me homesick and nostalgic. Middletown was a factory town and full of decent hardworking factory people. Betty was modeled after a girl I knew as a kid there. Betty was better than an of us corner boys deserved. I hope she found a good life
Maybe this chapter was a little too fun to write. John Quarry was modeled off a gangster i knew years ago. The real John lived. I tried to inject a bit of humor and humanity into a very dark chapter, I hope I was successful!
But not the end of his story. I spent a lot of time pondering what Frankie must have been feeling as Juan Carlos lit him up. What will run through your mind as you face your deepest and possibly final and last fear?
If you were facing your end, and you had a moment to contemplate, would you would stick by your beliefs and ride them out, or frantically start praying... I think even the most devout have some doubts. Some of us are full of nagging doubt. I guess this chapter asks the question, "are there any atheists in foxholes..."
I liked writing this chapter. It is a major turning point in the book. After and onto the ending this is about revenge and the inevitable. His life in New Orleans over, Frankie heads home to finally get the answers he seeks. His sobriety, new found and fragile, is tested. The chapter is a good segue to the ending
I love New Orleans. it's my favorite city on earth. It is a great setting for this part of the book. NOLA is such an perfect mix of people and cultures and myth and legends. I'm trying to figure out a way for my next book to end up there too.
This chapter is the end of the life of chemicals and booze for Frankie. In this chapter he shoot heroin in his vein - an act he always saw as too desperate for even him to resort to - This act brings about an ugly and brutal end to this life and a face in the mirror that may be terror itself.
Frankie - Tripping on acid - comes to terms with some of his largest fears and even a bit of foreshadowing to his future and his ending. Unknown to him at the time. Drying out from the booze and pills the LSD gave him a different and terrifying perspective. Alone in the Woods was fun to write. .
This was a strange chapter to write. John Quarry was modeled after a guy I knew and know. Never quite sure if we were friends or enemies. I guess I liked that about Jamier, there was a tension between us that always kept it real.
Tough chapter - a radical change for Frankie, an ending and a beginning... violent, ugly, dirty... fitting. A long way from the end, but an ending
During my first year of sobriety I took The Third Step literally. I got involved with some seriously shady "born again," folks. A couple of them were quite evil. This chapter is based on those guys and those days. It explores Frankie's confusion between the "good people" who seemed to be using him and filling his head full of guilt and his friends, some of the people society tended to look at down a very long nose.
Pam, possibly the love of Frankie's life or his greatest distraction and his twisted love for her led to the events of this chapter. The events of this night begin and end at The Lovely, Turf's Tavern. On this night a major change Frankie's life took place and it sets up the path he follows till the end of the story.
This chapter dives into Frankie's personal war with the church, his confusion with, perhaps jealousy of, the "holy" people. He realizes Pam is simply Pam, not the image he's created. I think reading this chapter paints a pretty clear picture of Frankie's struggle with the creator of the universe. Frankie asks for no sympathy. He simply wants you to watch the dance.
A rough chapter to write. Frankie loses his moral compass and maybe the only person who ever really loved and understood him. In typical Frankie style he makes a huge scene and finds himself isolated and angry
A face to face review with a literary agent revealed that he liked the book, but the introduction was weak. It didn't grab the reader "by the balls." I went back to my hotel room and pouted, read the first three paragraphs of The Grapes of Wrath. realized Steinbeck could write about fricken dirt and make it compelling. I stopped pouting and rewrote the intro as a prologue.
This is the story of Frankie's Grandfather, Artie. Artie was a dreamer and a drunk and a poet. He lost his oldest son in the second world war. That changed Artie forever. His life turned dark and meaningless. Frankie inadvertently followed in his grandfathers path. All the way to the end...
In this chapter Frankie, after witnessing the death of a friend, contemplates the growing weight he carries with him. A young man with an old man's heart.
I had to re-write the prologue and first chapter after it had been released. An agent really liked the book, but he said it "didn't grab me by the balls...' So, I rewrote it, hopefully this time a little more and powerful...
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