Monday, June 23, 2014

Michael J. Bowler - Running Through a Dark Place - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

King Arthur and his extraordinary young Knights used ‘might’ for ‘right’ to create a new Camelot in the City of Angels. They rallied the populace around their cause, while simultaneously putting the detached politicians in check. But now they must move forward to even greater heights, despite what appears to be an insurmountable tragedy.

Their new goal is lofty: give equality to kids fourteen and older who are presently considered adults only when they break the law. Arthur’s crusade seeks to give them real rights such as voting, driving, trading high school for work, and sitting as jurors for their peers charged with criminal behavior.

Understanding that the adults of California will likely be against them, Arthur and his Knights must determine how best to win them over.

However, before the king can even contemplate these matters, he finds himself face to face with an ally from the past, one who proves that everything isn’t always what it seems – even life and death.

The Knight Cycle Continues…

My Review

Lance takes center stage in the second installment of this King Arthur based fantasy series. The large ensemble cast of teenaged knights (and the adults who are for and against them) holds pretty much a supporting role this time around. Why? Because *spoiler alert* Lance comes back from the dead, grabbing the attention of the entire world.

Taking on the Harry Potter-like title of "The Boy Who Came Back," Lance is one confused fifteen year old. He thinks he shouldn't have been resurrected, and he slips into a depressive funk, turning to alcohol and girls to numb the throbbing guilt in his heart.

However, ultimately the story pivots around Lance's quest to explore his sexuality. He's still not sure if he's gay, all he knows is that he doesn't want to be. Yet being what he dubs a "real boy" isn't easy. The abuse he suffered at the hands of his foster father at the tender age of six rears its ugly head. He's still not over it, no matter how much he tries to convince himself that he is.

That's where the narrative's two new characters come into play. Ricky and Michael are polar opposites. Ricky could be Lance's long lost twin. They look alike, sound alike, dress alike, you get the idea. Arthur knights the homeless teen, allowing him to join the group as Lance's bodyguard. Later, he officially becomes Lance's brother when Arthur legally adopts them both, and that's where things start to get murky because despite how much Lance tries to hide it, he's attracted to Ricky and he feels like he shouldn't be.

Michael, on the other hand, has a body builder physique that Lance can't help swooning over. He's forceful and aggressive, seducing a drunken Lance at one of his parties, only to have their transgression recorded and leaked on the internet. To Lance, Michael isn't all bad, somehow he feels a connection to him, believing that beneath his tough guy exterior lies a decent human being.

But Ricky doesn't trust him. He thinks Michael is just out to hurt Lance, and he's not going to sit back and watch it happen because he loves Lance with a pure, devoted kind of love that Lance has a hard time acknowledging. Lance doesn't want to be drawn to either boy, but nevertheless he finds himself caught in a tug of war between them.

The love triangle remains for the most part unresolved at the book's conclusion. Secrets are revealed. Lance is framed. The new Camelot that Arthur had hoped to create seems on the brink of collapse, yet again, with one big difference - Lance wants to live. He's not running through that dark place of despair anymore. He's ready to fight the good fight again, even if he has to dig himself out a major hole in order to do it. He'll always be the destined champion of children's rights and he intends to battle to the end, honoring the memory of the friends he's lost and making sure what happened to him as a child doesn't happen to anyone else.


Running Through a Dark Place can be purchased at:

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Pages: 388
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: May 12, 2014
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9780990306306
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of three novels - A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time, and Children of the Knight - who grew up in San Rafael, California.

He majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University and earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to seven different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state. He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He has already written the four continuations of Children of the Knight that complete The Knight Cycle and all will be released in 2014.

He is currently at work on a new novel.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. Connie, thanks for the great review of Michael's continuing series! :)