Friday, August 17, 2012

Digital Winter by Mark Hitchcock and Alton Gansky

Tour Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Mark Hitchcock is the author of nearly 20 books related to end-time Bible prophecy, including the bestselling 2012, the Bible, and the End of the World. He earned a ThM and PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary and is the senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. He has worked as an adjunct professor at DTS, and he and his wife, Cheryl, have two sons.


Alton Gansky is the author of 30 books—24 of them novels, including the Angel Award winner Terminal Justice and Christy Award finalist A Ship Possessed. A frequent speaker at writing conferences, he holds BA and MA degrees in biblical studies. Alton and his wife reside in Southern California.

www.altongansky.com



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock and novelist Alton Gansky provide a suspenseful and fast-moving story of life after a massive cyber attack. Surgeons find themselves operating without electricity. The military can’t use its computers… This gripping story of darkness and heroism highlights prophetic themes and the danger of a cyber attack.


Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736949127
ISBN-13: 978-0736949125



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Stanley Elton

January 20, 2014
Shadow, shadow on my right,
Shadow, shadow on my left,
Shadow, shadow everywhere,
Shadow has all the might.
Stanley Elton emerged from the bedroom at precisely 7:10 a.m., his favorite mug in his hand containing his favorite African blend of coffee. Truth was, he had seven favorite mugs, one for each day of the week. He had seven favorite blends of coffee as well, seven favorite dress shirts, seven chosen suits of varying shades of gray, and seven power ties.
T he morning sunlight had already pushed back some of the thick clouds that covered the parts of San Diego closest to the Pacific. His part of San Diego was called Coronado Island, although it wasn’t a true island. Situated on a stretch of land called the Strand, the small community rested on a jut of property that looked from the air like an arthritic thumb sticking into the blue waters.
Founded in 1860, the city of Coronado was home to the elite. North Island Naval Air Station took much of the prime real estate, but there was still plenty of room for retired admirals, CEOs, and entrepreneurs who made sudden wealth in the digital age. A stroll through the city streets sometimes allowed tourists a glimpse of a celebrity.
Stanley Elton was no celebrity or entrepreneur; he wasn’t a retired admiral or a man of old money. He was, however, the CEO of San Diego’s largest CPA firm, a company whose client list included scores of the top companies in the country. He was on a first-name basis with people often mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. For thirty years he worked for OPM Accounting. Most people assumed OPM stood for the founders of the firm, people who died a generation ago. It didn’t. Insiders knew OPM stood for Other People’s Money. A bit tongue in cheek, but it drew hearty laughs for the few who knew the joke.
“Nice day.” Stanley moved to the open kitchen and kissed his wife on the top of the ear.
“You know that gives me the shivers.” Royce Elton pulled away and tried to rub her ear on her shoulder, her hands busy flipping eggs and turning bacon. A pot next to the frying pan cooked down some oatmeal. Instant oatmeal wasn’t good enough for her son, Donny. At least he ate something close to healthy.
“My presence has always made you shiver.” Elton slurped his coffee.
“Shudder is more like it.” Her tone was playful.
“Shiver, shudder; potato, patahto.” He moved from the kitchen and took his usual spot at the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the rolling Pacific. T he $3.5 million condo was on the top floor of one of the fifteen ten-story structures on the Strand. Built in the 1960s, the luxury buildings caused such a stir that a city ordinance was passed forbidding similar towering structures in Coronado. Too late and too little.
From the wide living room, Stanley could look to the left and see the Pacific Ocean or look right and see the calm waters of Glorietta Bay. “Water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”
“Good thing we have plumbing and coffee.” Royce dropped two pieces of bacon (well done) and two eggs (over hard) onto a scalloped-edged green plate. A moment later, she added two pieces of rye toast.
He stepped to the dining table. “Dining room” would be inaccurate. T he only real rooms in the open floor plan were the bathrooms and bedrooms. Royce set the plate on the glass top. She sat next to him, sipping a chocolate diet shake.
“Eating real food while watching you suck on that stuff fills me with guilt.” He stuck a piece of bacon in his mouth.
“You’re a man. You’re supposed to feel guilty. It goes with the Y chromosome.”
“T his is what I get for marrying a geneticist.”
“Brains are sexy.”
“Really? I hadn’t heard.”
Royce raised an eyebrow. “You know, I can poison your breakfast.”
“T hat’s why we have Rosa cook our other meals. Cuts down on your opportunity to cash in on the life insurance.” He cut one egg in half and scooped it into his mouth. Stanley didn’t like wasting time on trivial things like breakfast. “Busy day?”
“Usual classes at the university, and then I have about four hours in the lab. I’ll be late. I have to grade test papers after that. Rosa has something planned for you and Donny.”
“She’s as good a cook as she is a nurse.” Down went the second half of the egg.
“She’s a jewel. We should pay her more.”
It was Stanley’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “Really? She makes good money now.”
“I’m not sure it covers all she does. Dealing with Donny isn’t easy.”
Stanley contemplated the comment while gnawing on the bacon. “What do you mean? He sits in his room and doesn’t cause any trouble. He’s as passive as someone with his condition can be.”
Royce frowned. She hated it when Stanley referred to Donny’s challenges as his condition.
“Sorry,” he said. “You know what I mean. Other people like him can be high maintenance.”
Another frown. “He requires a lot of care, Stan. You know that.”
“Of course. I do my share.”
She touched his arm. “I know, dear. I didn’t mean that. You do more than any other father would. You provide an income that allows us to get all the help we need. My professor’s salary wouldn’t pay for one room in this place. I’m just saying we should reward Rosa. She’s been with us since Donny was ten. T hat’s twelve years.”
“She’s a trooper. Did you have something in mind?”
“I thought of a paid vacation, but I don’t think she’d leave Donny for more than a few days. She’s so devoted to him. I know that her car is getting a little long in the tooth. She had to take it into the shop. Cost her a pretty bundle to get the transmission fixed.”
“You want to pay for the repairs?”
“No, I want to buy her a car.”
Stanley lowered his fork. “You’re kidding, right?” He could see she wasn’t. “You mean like a Porsche or Ferrari or—”
“Of course not. I was thinking of a Prius or some other hybrid. It would save her some gas money.”
Stanley furrowed his brow, narrowed his eyes, and clinched his jaw, but he couldn’t maintain the pretense. He had never been angry at his wife and couldn’t imagine starting now. T he forced frown gave way to the upward pressure of a smile.
“You’re working me, aren’t you?”
“Yep.”
“Okay, but it’s going to cost you another cup of coffee. I’ll let you make the arrangements. Take the money from the house account.” He paused. “We are talking just one car, right?”
“For now.” She rose, kissed him on the forehead, and took his cup to refill it. “Speaking of Rosa, she said something yesterday that seemed…”
“What?”
“I don’t know what word to use. Unexpected.” She filled the cup and returned to the table. “She said Donny spoke.”
“Spoke? You mean more than one word?”
“She meant sentences.”
“You’re kidding. I’ve never heard him link words together. I thought it was beyond his ability.”
“We don’t know that.” Royce the geneticist was talking now. “His condition is a mystery. T here are only a handful of savants in the world. We don’t know what goes on in his brain.”
“What did he say?”
“She told me she couldn’t make out all the words. He stopped when she entered the room. Something about shadows.”
“Maybe she was hearing something from one of his computers.”
“Maybe, but she didn’t think so.”
Stanley checked his watch. “Why didn’t you tell me this last night?”
“Um, because you didn’t come home until nearly midnight and you were half asleep.”
“Oh, yeah.” He rose. “T hanks for breakfast. Good as Rosa is, food cooked by my wife always tastes better.”
“I manipulate the alleles in the eggs.”
“T hat’s more science talk, isn’t it?”
“You going to say goodbye to him?”
“Just like every day for twenty-two years.”
“T hanks.”
Stanley started the most difficult task of his day. He loved his son, but he would rather face off against a bunch of IRS attorneys than turn the doorknob to his boy’s bedroom.
As his hand touched the brass knob, he heard a voice from the other side of the door:
Shadow, shadow on my right,
Shadow, shadow on my left,
Shadow, shadow everywhere,
Shadow has all the might.
....
Donny Elton sat in his chair as he did every hour he wasn’t sleeping. T he chair was an expensive, well-padded iBOT designed by inventor Dean Kamen. It was powered and could raise Donny to the eye level of any adult not playing in the NBA. A series of gyros and a robust computer program enabled it to climb stairs without tipping. T he invention had been a boon to wheelchair-bound consumers.
But Donny wasn’t bound to the wheelchair. He could walk if he wanted, jump if he desired, and even sprint if he had a mind to, but he never did. At least that was what the doctors said. Under heavy sedation, Donny had endured MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays, muscle conductivity studies, and other medical tests. All came back negative.
“T he problem isn’t with this body,” the doctors said. “T he problem is in his mind. He doesn’t want to walk.” T hat had been the end of their assessment. No one could offer any ideas of how to make a healthy twenty-two-year-old who was monosyllabic on his best day and mute on his worst and who possessed an IQ above 200 do what he didn’t want to do. “You simply cannot make a man walk if he doesn’t want to.” T hey had been united in that assessment.
Stanley, in the few quiet moments he allowed himself, wondered why his son refused to walk or engage with humanity. Yes, his savant condition was probably due to autism, but research had yet to come to a consensus on that.
Stanley stood in the open door with a bowl of hot oatmeal in one hand and wondered if he had heard what he thought he heard.
“Hey, buddy. Mom whipped up some oatmeal for you.” He moved to the long desk that took up all of one wall in the place they called Stanley’s bedroom. It looked more like a NASA control center than a place to sleep. A series of four 27-inch monitors lined the table, and two computer towers sat nearby. T hey were never turned off. More than once, Stanley had awakened in the night to hear Donny’s fingers tapping on the keyboard.
“Oatmeal. Food. Oatmeal. Good.”
Stanley set the bowl and spoon on an unoccupied spot of the table. “Whatcha working on, pal?”
“Oatmeal. Good.”
Stanley was thankful Donny could feed himself. He needed help dressing and using the bathroom, but at least he could manage to put a spoon in his mouth or hold a sandwich. Small blessings.
T he large window of the bedroom overlooked the Pacific side of the Strand. T he thinning cloud cover allowed the morning sun to paint sparkles on the gentle swells and surf. A short distance from the shore, surfers waited for the ocean to offer more waves. Although Stanley couldn’t see them from this window, he knew that new Navy SEALs were training there. Such was Coronado: home to the wealthy, a mecca for sun worshippers, a training ground for the Navy, and a magnet for tourists.
Donny knew none of this. Stanley doubted his son had ever noticed the beauty outside his window, the kind of view that made the 1700-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath condo worth $3.5 million. T he only things Donny seemed to notice were on the computer monitors. Stanley doubted the young man even knew him. T he last thought brought pain, as it did a dozen times every day.
Line upon line of code filled the monitors. For a few moments, Stanley considered having a programmer look at it, but he dismissed the idea. What difference would it make?
“I’m headed to work, son. I’ll be home late again, but I’ll look in on you. Mom will be here until Rosa arrives.”
“Rosa. Oatmeal. Good.” Donny took a bite of the pasty meal.
Stanley ran his fingers through his son’s hair. He loved the boy even if he had never caught a baseball or watched a football game. “Take it easy, champ.”
“Bye. Later. Oatmeal.”
Stanley turned when something appeared in the corner of his eye—something dark, indistinct. He snapped his head around but saw nothing.
Closing the door, Stanley paused and tried to push back the gloom that draped his mind. T hen he heard Donny’s voice again.
Shadow, shadow on my right,
Shadow, shadow on my left,
Shadow, shadow everywhere,
Shadow has all the might.


8 comments:

MJ @ Creative Madness Mama said...

preview only scheduled http://creativemadnessmama.com/blog/2012/08/21/digital-winter-preview/

Christian Fiction Addiction (Jeremy) said...

Scheduled for posting, along with my review of this entertaining read, at http://christianfictionaddiction.blogspot.com

Jeremy

chili pepper said...

Scheduled with review.

Charity said...

Scheduled to post tomorrow morning. Interesting book!

http://giveawaygal.blogspot.com

Vic said...

All posted at 1:43am Another winner from Alton Gansky

tweezle said...

Posted with review:
http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/2012/08/digital-winter-by-mark-hitchcock-and.html

Adam Blumer said...

Posted with review. http://adamblumer.blogspot.com/2012/08/it-is-time-for-first-wild-card-tour.html
Enjoyable read!

Nancy said...

published with review

http://sunnyislandbreezes.com/?p=5363