After lunch, we head to a nearby McDonald’s and buy bags of hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and fries to give out on the streets. I make momentary eye contact with each person I hand a bag to because I want them to know they’re human like me. But I can’t hold it for more than a second until, beneath the dim shade of the freeway overpass on Main Street, this one man grasps my arm as he takes his bag. He’s a regular named Hank, an older guy with a limp who always wears a dirty Dodgers cap and mismatched clothes I’m sure he found in a dumpster.
“Thank you, Leo.” Hank’s voice is strained, but sincere.
I force myself to look into his grateful eyes and our gazes lock. I can’t seem to look away. It’s like I’m being drawn into Hank’s very soul. Then I see it! Gasping, I lurch back and yank my arm away from him.
He recoils, looking stung by my action, and I want to apologize, but no words come. I’m paralyzed by what I just saw and can only offer him a silent nod.
Gripping the bag with gnarled fingers, Hank lurches down Main Street until he reaches the corner and turns out of sight.
J.C. steps around in front of me. “Hey, Leo, you okay? You look like you saw a ghost.”
“I know… when he’s… going to… die.” I barely get the words out.
J.C. stares at me. “Huh?”
I Know When You’re Going to Die
by Michael J. Bowler
Genre: YA Mystery, Thriller
Leonardo Cantrell is a painfully shy sixteen-year-old who cannot look people in the eye. One night while he’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, an old man forces eye contact and gives Leo the power to see Death.
His best, and only, friend—J.C. Rivera—thinks this new power is cool until Leo accidentally looks into J.C.’s eyes and “sees” his murder, a murder that will occur in less than two weeks. Stunned and shaken, the two boys sift through clues in Leo’s “vision” in a desperate effort to find the killer and stop him before he can strike.
Aided by feisty new-girl-at-school, Laura, the boys uncover evidence suggesting the identity of the murderer. However, their plan to trap the would-be killer goes horribly awry and reveals a truth that could kill them all.
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Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and a master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for many years, both in general education and students with disabilities. When Michael is not writing you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, volunteering within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles, or caring for his newly adopted son. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles.
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