A man I consider a true hero is
Father Gregory Boyle, S.J., founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.
Homeboy Industries provides jobs, educational and psychological services to
gang members who seek to move beyond the lifestyle. As assistant chaplain for
decades at one of the three juvenile halls in LA County, I worked closely with
Father Greg during his monthly visits to the hall. I’ve also been to Homeboy
Industries on numerous occasions and have read both of Father Greg’s books.
This man is the definition of “humble,” though like any truly humble person, he
would never use that word to describe himself. He’s dedicated his life to some
of the worst neighborhoods in the country and toward helping the most
marginalized people in Los Angeles.
He came to understand decades ago,
as I did working with him and the youth we both served, that kids don’t join
gangs because they’re filled with hope. They join because there’s a dearth of
hope in their lives. They shouldn’t be demonized like they’ve been by media and
law enforcement, but understood and encouraged and loved. Father Greg has
worked miracles with some of the so-called worst gang members ever to walk the
streets, just by listening to them, not judging them, and offering
opportunities no one else ever had – training, jobs, housing, a way out of the
lifestyle most never wanted in the first place. When I think of the word
“hero,” I think of Father Greg.
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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