Joseph Les Phillips was born in the
Bronx, NY. After graduating from high school, he served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Upon separation, he worked at
the NYS Maritime College aboard their training ship the Empire State IV. At night he attended the American Academy of Dramatic
Arts in Manhattan studying acting but abandoned that career when the NYPD called and he became a police officer. In 1975,
he appeared briefly in the film Three Days Of The Condor with Robert Redford. Later, he was also personal security for many
celebrities including Al Pacino, Robert DiNiro, Richard Gere, Richard Burton, David Bowie, Richard Harris, Jason Robards and
Farrah Fawcwett during her run in the controversial play Extremities. Finally giving in to a long held desire to write, he
published his first novel, the middle book of The Springfield Trilogy, Beyond This Place Of Sin And Tears in 1987. In 2000
his second novel, The Soldiers Of Summer was published. He has also written numerous short stories that have been published
in print and online magazines. His screenplay, Rum Key, was also a semifinalist in the Texas Film Institute's Screenplay
Competition a few years ago. Chronologically the final book of the Trilogy, This Side Of Forever, was published in July 2006.
The chronological beginning of the Trilogy, Drawn To Near Waters, is searching for a publisher. Phillips retired in 1989 from
the Midtown North Theater Detail of the NYPD to write full time.
According to an interview by Sandra
S. Sawyer, “Many of his story ideas are from episodes in his own life. Joseph told Sandra that "I had the fortune
during my youth to have been halfway around the world by the time I was nineteen years old, thanks to the U.S. Navy. I also
lived on the French Riviera for two years, which inspired me to write my first novel, Beyond This Place of Sin
and Tears. After that, I spent two years in the Merchant Marine and then twenty years with the New York Police
Department. If that background doesn't give you material to write about, nothing will." His other
novels are: The Soldiers of Summer and This Side of Forever.
According to the book description of
The Soldiers of Summer, “Set in 1978, Mr. Phillips novel deals with a group of New York City
police officers doing their annual two-week summer camp with the Army Reserve. What they believe will be a "vacation"
for them away from the mean streets of New York turns into a nightmare for them. They are made to undergo forced marches and
simulated battle conditions that keep them up most of the night, while still having to rise at the crack of dawn for their
scheduled work day. Unknown to them, their commanding officer, passed over for promotion during the Vietnam War, is desperate
now and will do anything that is necessary to achieve that promotion even if it is detrimental to his company's health.
To deal with these adverse conditions, they band together
in a show of unity and strength, even nicknaming their bivouac area "Whiskey Hill", as a sign of protest to send
the message that they are separate from the order and discipline their near psychotic Captain is trying to force upon them.
But along with those ordeals, each man must face bitter memories from the past failures of their personal lives and the nagging
ghosts that still haunt them from the recently concluded Vietnam War. In order to do this, they find a false solace in whiskey
that often leads to some comedic situations on and off the base.
But in the end, their expertise as
police officers is needed when their Captain's mind finally snaps and he holds a Division Colonel hostage at gunpoint.
With no one else readily available, they are asked to somehow free the Colonel, but adding to the pressure, a Special Forces
sniper sits on an adjoining rooftop with a rifle and a scope waiting to resolve the crisis his way if it becomes necessary.