Tuesday, August 21, 2012

8 Minutes to Digital Winter by Mark Hitchcock & Alton Gansky

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.***


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

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.



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


My review:

I have read about the dangers of an EMP and the possiblity of another country attacking us by knocking out all of our power. In this book, using a fictional account, the authors show what could happen. And it is a scary picture.

Although it does present a scary picture, the book was an enjoyable and interesting read. I learned a little more about how the military and government polices things like this, and even a little about computer related things and EMPs. I did enjoy the book and found it hard to put down. The plot and characters were great, and the authors know their "stuff." I did find the ending a bit disappointing, and felt they could have tied things up a bit better. It seems like there should be a sequel, or at least a few more chapters.

Thanks to Harvest House and FIRST for the review copy.

Stanley Elton

January 20, 2014
Shadow, shadow on my

Shadow, shadow on my left,

Shadow, shadow everywhere,

Shadow has all the might.
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
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
“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
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
“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
“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
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
“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
“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?”
“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…”
“I don’t know what word to use.
Unexpected.” She filled the cup and returned to the table. “She said Donny
“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
“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

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
“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
“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
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
Shadow, shadow on my

Shadow, shadow on my left,

Shadow, shadow everywhere,

Shadow has all the might.