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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I’m not sure how long I lay curled up on that beach before I hear someone huffing and puffing above me. J.C. I crack open my eyes. He’s doubled over, clutching at his sides and fight- ing for breath. Sweat streams from his wavy black hair down onto his face. “What…” he wheezes, struggling to breathe, “did… you… see?” I unravel myself and sit up, pulling my knees in and clutching my legs tightly. I don’t look at him, instead scanning the surrounding beach. It’s a weekday and there’s nobody around except the lifeguard in his station, and he isn’t very close. “Leo!” I look up as he collapses to the sand and gazes at me with wide, terrified eyes. Still, I can’t bring myself to say it. He grabs me by both shoulders. His grip feels like iron. His panting has lessened, but not the fear on his face. “Tell me. Please.” I lower my eyes again. “You’re…” I force myself to breathe. “You’re going to be…” I can’t say it. “What?” “Murdered!” I blurt, glancing at the stunned look on his face. His mouth opens, but nothing comes out for a long moment. “When?” His voice is a choked whisper. I don’t want to say it, but I have to. “A week from Friday.” He gags, like he’s gonna throw up all over me. I’ve never seen him so vulnerable, so small and afraid, and that scares me more than what I saw in his eyes. He collapses onto the sand and cries.
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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