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by Michael J Bowler

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.

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?”


~Follow the rest of the tour

This book’s premise grabbed my attention, and I’m very glad I chose to review it. This is a great read about friendship and the power of hatred. It also packs a mind-blowing mystery and just a hint of the supernatural. In short, it’s got bunches of things I love, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Leo and J.C.’s relationship is fantastic. Fiction needs more guy best friends. Girls can braid each other’s hair and all kinds of stuff, and no one blinks. Guys get close, and they must be gay. Or…maybe they are just friends who don’t have space issues? Or, maybe they are gay, but I honestly don’t care which is the case for Leo and J.C. Both were extremely well-developed characters, and I found myself pulling for them. Laura found a place in my heart, too, especially when Leo and J.C. were having relationship drama. And Laura was all like “guys, priorities. J.C.’s going to be murdered. Can you freak out about this later?” High-five, girl!

The mystery kept me fixated from beginning to end. I love reverse mysteries, where we know the crime but not how it will happen. This book brought up a big philosophical question: if you know something’s going to happen, do you take different actions that actually bring about those events? There’s no real answer to that, but for the purposes of the book, I don’t mind. I just sat back and watched. The ending wasn’t a complete surprise, but there were a lot of things I didn’t see coming. The few non-surprises didn’t ruin anything for me at all.

In short, I will repeat that I’m so glad I read this. I will also be checking out whatever else this author has out there. This is good stuff, and I highly recommend it.


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, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities. When Michael is not writing, you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and raising 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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Michael J. Bowler will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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