The Fall and Rise of Tyler Johnson: Based on the Journals of a Young Man Turned Fugitive

Written by Patrice Johnson

This newly-named, first-place winner of the 2018 National Indie Excellence Award for new non-fiction weaves a powerful account of Tyler Johnson’s life as a fugitive of the US government. The 496-page book, based on the recovered journals of Patrice Johnson’s deceased son, raises a warning flag to youth who may feel tempted to commit impulsive acts that could trigger irreversible consequences. It reveals the degradations of homelessness, the resilience of the human spirit—and it is a love story.

Tyler Johnson has a bright future ahead of him. Major scientific journals have published his research in quantum physics and in artificial intelligence, and he has recently graduated from Caltech. He has a position in a doctoral program at the University of New Mexico waiting for him, but before he can arrive at the school, everything changes.

Tyler and his friend, Danny Blair, plan to affix bumper stickers in protest of gas guzzling vehicles at SUV dealerships in California. The evening of binge drinking spins out of control, and a Hummer catches on fire.

Suddenly, Tyler, a brilliant presidential merit scholar, is labeled an environmental extremist, a domestic terrorist. He has two choices: Come forward and risk spending the rest of his years in prison or run for his life with the woman he loves.

Tyler runs. His goal: to find a remedy and come home.

The story that follows shows the fallout of one impulsive mistake. In attempting to evade the FBI and live free, Tyler and his beloved Yuki struggle to survive off the grid in the desert and mountain wilds of a remote French island and on the streets of Marseilles and Paris. They manage to stave off starvation and thirst, mountain storms and frigid cold, attacks from hoodlums and desert boars—all while isolation and fear chip away at their relationship.

Royalties will be donated to the Longmont Community Justice Partnership program for youth.

The book is full of vivid people and places. The conflicts are intense and compelling and heartbreaking. This is a rich book—emotionally, psychologically, intellectually. It’s the best kind of creative nonfiction. It’s both topical and poignant.
—Mark Spencer, author of Ghost Walking and A Haunted Love Story


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