About the Book
Title: Light Runner
Author: Philip Brown
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
When a powerful healing armband—the Jyotisha—falls into the hands of a teenage girl, she’s thrust into a dangerous search for her father, the reasons behind her mother’s mysterious death, and the truth about herself.
Sixteen-year-old Dara Adengard would rather read graphic novels than do her homework and prefers the freedom of skateboarding to the restrictions of life with her military father. Stung by the recent death of her mother, Dara conceals her mom’s picture under a square of grip tape on her skateboard. But no matter how much Dara tries to keep a foothold on the past, she can’t ride away from her own destiny.
One evening, she discovers a silver and gold armlet with mysterious powers in the shadowy water of the swimming pool. Forged from an ancient meteorite metal, it possesses the power to heal or wound. When Dara holds it, it emits a light that seems to have been ignited by a star’s ray. Moments later, she is stunned to find that someone’s broken into her apartment, her father has vanished, and a dead body lies sprawled in the courtyard.
Evading the police, Dara escapes on a perilous quest for her father, begins to uncover her mother’s hidden past, and starts to realize the shocking truth about herself. Accompanied by a stray dog, Dara soars to sudden fame on the wings of a YouTube video that shows her using the Jyotisha to heal the handsome Diego of a gunshot wound. When the video goes viral, a famous TV talk show personality connects with her, and Dara is propelled from homeless runaway to worldwide sensation.
Dara’s father slammed the windows to keep out the odor of smoke. “Looks like fire season’s started early,” he said, powering off the TV’s live coverage. “I’ll try to make it home for chow, but just in case there’s enchiladas in the fridge.” He slapped a yellow Post-it onto the microwave. “Heating directions right here.”
Her dad was good at leaving notes to guide her through meals, chores—things she was capable of doing without any reminder. Whenever she objected, he’d say, “If you showed a little more responsibility I wouldn’t have to tell you, right?”
“And keep the door locked,” he said. “Going outside?”
“I guess.” Her fingers toyed with a thin strand of streaked, lime-green hair.
“Then you better stay inside the apartment building perimeter.” He shot her the I-mean-it look.
“Gimme a roger?”
Her dad talked Navy Seabee. Rules were regs, Costco hot dogs were tube steaks, and boundaries were perimeters. Usually, that meant one square block, between Fir and Garden.
But that’s when she wasn’t grounded. Now it was: the courtyard—no street, no alley. Oh, yeah. Way more adventure than she could handle. She shot a quick glance at her skateboard, propped near the front door.
“Can you put down that comic book and unplug those while I’m talking to you?”
She tossed Naruto aside and tugged an ear bud cord. “I heard every word you said. Perimeters. Okay?”
After her father left for the night shift, Dara waited a few minutes, then grabbed her skateboard and headed for the street.
Heat waves rose from the scorched asphalt.
She knew her dad had enabled his own cell phone to track hers, but figured she wasn’t more than a few yards outside the stupid perimeter of the apartment building—not enough for him to notice.
Over the distant hills, black smoke clouds billowed into the sky.
She ollied off the sidewalk, and her board clattered onto the asphalt. She repeated this several times before she saw him across the street—a stranger wearing yellow knee-length Lakers shorts, flip-flops, wraparound sunglasses, and a black T-shirt with a chrome-colored Apple logo. Twenty-something. Ponytail and a beard. A large colored tat wound around his leg.
He was checking her out.
Dara pushed off on her board toward the curb and was in midair when the man took a step towards her, a slight smile on his face. Perv, she thought. But it threw her timing off, and she lost her balance in midair.
Her knee smacked the pavement.
Through gritted teeth she sucked in breath, pushed back her hoodie, and looked down at her knee. Shredded jeans. Ripped skin. Nice move, she thought, and winced at the pain.
Her eyes swept the street. No sign of the creep in the Lakers shorts—but she noticed a man near the end of the block to her left. He strode towards her, wearing a long dark sweatshirt.
Philip Brown is the author of the YA contemporary fantasy novel, Light Runner. He previously wrote two astrology books, Cosmic Trends (published by Llewellyn Worldwide Publications and a finalist for the Coalition of Visionary Resources Award) and On the Cusp: Astrological Reflections from the Threshold. He also wrote for Dell Horoscope and The Mountain Astrologer. Light Runner, published by Strange Fictions Press (an imprint of Vagabondage Press), is his first novel.
Philip studied to become a Shakespearean actor in London, but a love of books and writing led him to become a high school English teacher.
He received his Master of Arts degree in English from California State University Los Angeles and lives in Southern California. He is a member of the International Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
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1 Signed Print Copy