Since a young age Michael Brooks has been told he was best at making things up. If it wasn’t concocting a lie to get out of trouble, it was creating wild tales about aliens abducting cows from the barn, or stories of ghosts haunting the woods that surrounded their farmhouse in Missouri. Now he’s all grown up, earned a degree in creative writing, and has turned his passion for “making things up” into a profession..
He lives in Utah with his beautiful wife, their five amazing kiddos, four crazy chicken, too many fish to count, an impressive wand collection, and one or two invisible dragons. He also writes and illustrates stories for younger readers under the name Mikey Brooks. You can find more about him and his other books at www.mikeybrooks.com.
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MURDER MADE HIM A PRISONER. TRUTH CAN SET HIM FREE.
In a distant future, all criminals of violent crimes are sentenced to life in the Arena where they must battle against both man and beast in a fight to the death.
When sixteen-year-old Calvin Sawyer is wrongly convicted of his father’s murder, his charmed life as the son of a senator is changed forever. He’s stripped of his rights, his humanity, even his name. Now as the property of the Arena, offender CS4521 must learn to fight in the colosseum. It’s kill or be killed.
See what people are saying about the book
“Murder, friendship, and forbidden romance in a tech-heavy futuristic world. Offender is everything we love about dystopian literature.”
—Rebecca Rode, USA Today bestselling author of the Numbers Game Trilogy.
“Offender gripped me on the first page and didn’t let go until the last line. Sharp and emotional writing combined with a hero you can’t help but cheer on. It will keep you turning pages with anticipation. Can’t wait for the next installment!”
— Ilima Todd, bestselling author of the Remake series
“I didn’t kill my father,” I say. “I didn’t kill him, and I want out.”
Her lips curve up in that strange smile she gave me when we first met. “I thought you understood the way things work around here, CS4521. You are an offender. You do not have the right to want anything.”
“Didn’t you hear me? I said I didn’t kill my father. Someone else did. You need to let me out so I can figure out who did it and stop them before they kill someone else.”
“CS4521, you do not—”
“Calvin! My name is Calvin!”
“No. You do not have a name, you have an identification code. You are an offender. You have no allegiance. No rights. No hope. You lost that the second you arrived here. You want out? Offenders have only one way out of the Arena.”
She motions to the guards, and they all raise their batons, ready to strike. My hands shake, but I stand tall, just the way my father stood when facing the people of Primus. Why won’t she listen? Why won’t anyone listen? I know behind each mask is a human—someone with emotions, with life. Why can’t they see me the same way? “You can kill me, but know you’ll be killing an innocent man.”
Katherine’s smirk turns into a full-blown smile. Her teeth are flawlessly white against her blood-red lips. “Don’t you think I already know that?”
Time seems to stop for a moment as her words seep into my mind. Then my vision is blackened by the guards’ blows. I see a flash of the director’s smile, like a Cheshire cat floating in the dark, before I sink to the ground. Sparks of light fire behind my eyes, and I feel myself shutting down, turning numb. But one thought surfaces before I go to sleep … I am innocent.
“I’m sorry. I should’ve told you before, but you asked me out, and I really wanted to be with you.” She pauses and the orange sky glints in her moist eyes. “I don’t want you to get into trouble.”
I take her hand and hold it tightly in mine. “You think I care about that? Screw the edict.”
“Cal, you could get in trouble. Your father—”
“My father doesn’t care what I do. I hardly ever see him to begin with. What I do care about is you.” I cup her jaw with my free hand and pull her in close. This time she doesn’t pull away. Our lips connect, and a flood of emotions barrels through me.
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