The Brightness Trilogy Book 1

A groundbreaking project. A chance to cure the criminal mind. A vivid hope that spirals into a nightmare of human frailty and murder.

When a test program to end criminal behavior goes horribly wrong, can a professor stop a madman’s rampage?

Rand Aroyan thrives on ambition. A rising star in academic circles, the thirty-five-year-old philosophy professor has already earned work as a medical ethics consultant for research into revolutionary gene therapy. And he anticipates further accolades as a study kicks off to turn a narcissistic no-good into a healthy member of society… until the subject turns violent and escapes.

Joining forces with a psychologist and an ex-pastor from the advisory council, Rand pursues his own investigation in a desperate need for answers. But even as his suspicions surrounding other committee members grow, the brilliant man finds everything he believed about humankind crumbling in the face of deadly stakes.

Can Rand put aside his own hubris long enough to stop the rising body count?

Bright Triad is the thought-provoking first book in the Brightness Christian science fiction series. If you like heroes who grow, attitude without the foul language and sleaze, and surprising twists, then you’ll love Daniel Zeigler’s insightful exploration of the intersection of reason and faith.


Excerpt from Bright Triad © Copyright 2024 Daniel Zeigler

Suddenly, Kip realized that he had a plan.

In a minute he would pass by the huge nursery and garden center, where a few months ago he’d picked up a tree to decorate his apartment for the holidays. For free—but that was another story. Then the parkway would narrow to an undivided four-lane road, servicing residential neighborhoods where doctors and lawyers and bank presidents were shut in for the night along with their spoiled brat kids. These were the rich men Kip saw weekend mornings on the course, puffing their cigars and shanking balls into the woods. The police chasing him would slow down driving through this stretch, but Kip didn’t have to. That would give him a little more of a lead.

The country club was just past the development. The road was hilly near the entrance. With luck, Kip thought he could turn in without being seen by the cops. Then he could ditch the car, maybe in the gated area where they kept some of the mowers and spare golfcarts. Kip had a key, unbeknownst to his boss. He could grab an electric cart and take it down to the back nine, where the cart path crossed another road. He could walk someplace, call an Uber, and head to a friend’s apartment where he could crash for the night. Then maybe in the morning he could talk some sense into Beaver Cleaver and return the car. It just might work.

Except for the girl, still sniveling in the passenger seat. She would narc on him to save herself. No question. He had to figure out how to deal with her. Maybe he could threaten to tell the cops the bag of coke was hers. It would have her fingerprints all over it. Maybe to save her precious nursing career, he could pressure her into being quiet. Maybe. If she didn’t play along, he’d think of something else.

Kip could hear sirens behind him. The cruisers hadn’t slowed down much. He might have a window of only a few seconds to make the country club entrance before they spotted him. He killed his headlights and streaked up the large hill that lay next to the creek running alongside the course. The car topped the hill, going airborne for an exhilarating moment, and landed on the downslope, still going seventy.

And then…he saw them. Two police cars were stopped at angles, blocking the road ahead. Kip threw on his brakes. The car lost traction. He turned in the direction of the skid, heard a tire blow as he hopped over the curb, and watched helplessly as the car plowed into a guardrail. Instantly, the airbags deployed. One drove into Kip’s chest like a giant boxing glove, temporarily knocking the breath out of him. He felt stunned but unhurt. When he could breathe again, he smelled gunpowder. Were the cops shooting? No. He remembered now that airbags are activated by small explosions. The girl. She was screaming hysterically again. He glanced at her. No blood. They were going to be OK. The squad cars trailing them pulled up on the shoulder of the road a few yards back.


Officer Todd Blakely remembered the mantra his trainer had drilled into him at the academy: “Your car is a coffin. Get out.” He jumped out of the cruiser, crouching behind its open door, gun drawn and aimed at the gleaming white Maserati that was pushed against the bent guardrail a few yards away. He heard other squad car doors open and knew he had coverage. “Hands on your head where I can see them. Then out of the car. Do it now!” he bellowed. Immediately the passenger door swung up. A young woman, hands covering her head like the sky was going to fall, stumbled out, dropped to her knees, and then collapsed face down on the grass beside the road. She was sobbing uncontrollably.

“You, driver!” Blakely shouted. “You get out, too, before we tase you and drag you out!” Slowly, the door unfurled. A lanky young man emerged, his hands held up alongside his shoulders, palms outward, like he was a character in an old Western movie. He took a few steps away from the car and turned to face the officer. Blakely saw that the man wasn’t looking at him, though. He was staring straight down, chin resting on his collarbone. Weird.

“Down on your knees! And if you so much as twitch your hands, I’m going to put a bullet in your chest!” Blakely yelled.

Motionless, his head still pointed down, the man raised only his eyes and peered out at the officer under hooded lids. A slow smile spread across the man’s face, as if he were a naughty little boy pulling a prank. The effect was incredibly creepy. “Please don’t shoot officer,” he crooned in a mellow voice. “It would be a real shame to mess up my new tats.”

Still smiling, the man slowly lowered himself to the ground, never breaking eye contact with the officer. Blakely stood transfixed as the other police moved in for the arrest.


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