Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Michael J. Bowler - There Is No Fear - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

The most famous boy in the world is a prisoner. He’s been charged with a crime he didn’t commit, a crime that could send him to prison for the rest of his life. Languishing within The Compound, the most secure juvenile facility in California, while the district attorney vows to make an example of him because of his celebrity status, Lance must endure the daily indignities of the incarcerated.

New Camelot is fractured without him. Ricky and Chris are bereft, living for the weekly phone call that becomes their only lifeline to the brother they so desperately love, while Arthur and Jenny feel the loss of their son with a sadness that can’t be quelled. And what about Michael, the highly volatile teen who helped write the proposition that will change California forever? Could he really be the monster he says he is? His hatred of Ricky is palpable, and his instability may well threaten the lives of everyone at New Camelot.

As the election looms closer, Proposition 51 takes on an even greater significance in light of the pending trial of the century. The more harshly fifteen-year-old Lance is treated within the broken justice system, the more he contemplates the wisdom of his idea that children need more adult rights. If The Child Voter Act becomes law, won’t it simply allow adults to throw more kids into prison with impunity?

Whichever way the voters decide, his greatest fear remains the same: will he ever again be with the people he loves?

The Knight Cycle Continues…

My Review

There's no setting bleaker than a prison, especially when the inmates are children. The Compound, the high security detention center for juvenile offenders, is the place where the city of Los Angeles hides its dirtiest of secrets, housing the kids no one cares a lick about. The ones that rot behind bars for twenty-five years or more because nobody speaks up, nobody cares.

But Michael J. Bowler does. He's not going to sit idly by and remain silent. He's going to reveal the corruption of justice for all to see. The picture he paints is so vivid that no one can walk away after reading it and not have a change of heart when it comes to prosecuting those under eighteen. These lives are too young to be lost, so wholly and completely, buried under years and years of departmental incompetence and public indifference. Their plight needs to be addressed, and Bowler is brave enough to champion their cause.

The choice to place his novel in a juvenile prison is a bold one. It broaches difficult subject matter, taking readers where they might not venture to go. Bowler is taking a risk, but then he's never shied away from addressing controversial topics before. If he feels strongly about an issue, he's going to write about it, and that's to his credit. He doesn't follow trends in attempt to pander to a mass audience. He's about telling stories that are important to him and having that enthusiasm trickle down to his readers.

And it's not to say that prisons haven't been used effectively in popular culture before. From ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK to THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, looking at how a person reacts to the loss of freedom is always captivating, but no one examines the youth angle quite like Bowler. Not many differences exist between adult convicts and their juvenile counterparts and that's shocking in and of itself. Child inmates may have to attend school, but as far as insufficient meals, lack of privacy and guard brutality, it's pretty much the same. These kids are treated like adults and society willingly turns a blind eye, for the most part, locking the door and throwing away the key.

Bowler, in the third of the five books of his magnum opus, THE CHILDREN OF THE KNIGHT, writes about a place that no child ever wants to end up, much less visit. That's why THERE IS NO FEAR provides a kind of voyeuristic journey. Bowler does the heavy lifting, committing it to the page, all readers have to do is let his words work their magic, as he transports them in and out of what is for many, hell on earth.


There Is No Fear can be purchased at:

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Pages: 284
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: July 17, 2014
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9780990306337
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of five novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place, and There Is No Fear––who grew up in San Rafael, California. His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

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 two remaining books that complete The Children of the Knight Cycle and both will be released in 2014.

He is currently at work on a horror/suspense novel based on his screenplay, “Healer.”

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. I love your comparison to OITNB and Shawshank is such a classic. I like how Michael looked at it from a teenager's perspective. I don't think I've read about prison from that angle since Oliver Twist.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful review. I love how you focus on the fact that treating children the same as adults is wrong. Hope lots of people see your review. :)