With a pure shot of Christian fiction testosterone, pro NFL kicker Elam and pastor turned full-time writer Yohn offer a second Riley Covington thriller. The pro football life of Riley is wrapped around a terrorist plot to kill him after he heroically thwarted a full-blown stadium attack months earlier, in Monday Night Jihad. For readers who enjoy a suspenseful near-super-hero versus underworld story, this thriller disappoints with its predictable arc and passages of dialogue that are downright mundane and off the plot path. More successfully, the authors use multiple points of view to get inside the minds and excruciating decisions of individual terrorists wrestling, along with the bombs in backpacks, with their own jagged emotions and faith. The novel mixes inside looks into pro football, the faith decisions of terrorists and an irresistible passion between hero and heroine. Christian thriller fans will find enough to keep them on the hook until the last page. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Blown Coverage (Riley Covington Series #2)by Jason Elam, Steve Yohn
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Linebacker Riley Covington returns to another season of mini-camp for the Colorado Mustangs just as a wave of terrorist attacks begin to occur across the country. Sleeper cells are being awakened—likely by the leader of the Cause, who has recently escaped from captivity and is coordinating attacks not only on America but also on Riley and his loved ones. As Jim Hicks, Scott Ross, and the rest of the Counterterrorism Division follow leads in Europe, Riley goes on the offensive to draw out his attackers. But can the Cause be stopped before they're able to reach their ultimate goal?
This follow-up to the authors' series debut, Monday Night Jihad, is a fast-paced spy thriller pumped up with adrenaline and a focus on the Middle East and Islam. NFL player Riley Covington lives for the football season, but this year is different. A dangerous terrorist has escaped and is planning a series of attacks on the United States and on Riley in particular. Riley is a member of the Counterterrorism Division, with Jim Hicks and Scott Ross, and together they race against time to prevent the terrorists from bringing devastation to America. With particular appeal for male readers, this title will keep its audience engaged in the hunt. Those who enjoy Joel C. Rosenberg's "Last Jihad" series will want this title, which may also have crossover appeal for fans of Daniel Silva or Vince Flynn.
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A Riley Covington Thriller
By Jason Elam Steve Yohn
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Jason Elam and Steve Yohn
All right reserved.
Chapter One TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 8:45 P.M. CEST BABROSTY, POLAND
Empty shell casings skittered across the cement floor, propelled by the underside of the mercenary's boots. As he strode down the hall, his eyes remained focused on the door at the end of the passageway-no need to look in the rooms to his right or left; his men were too good to have left any threat on his periphery.
The sooner I deal with this man, the sooner I'm out of this stinking cesspool, thought Lecha Abdalayev, trying hard not to breathe deep the smell of fresh blood and human waste.
Not that he was unfamiliar with those smells. As a veteran of both the First and Second Chechen Wars, he had seen his share of man's inhumanity against man. He himself had once been in a situation while a prisoner of the Russians when death would have seemed a much sweeter alternative to what he experienced in the daily interrogations. But it wasn't long before I turned the tables and became the one holding the knife, he gloated with a self-satisfied grunt.
When he reached the end of the hall, one of the two men walking with him slid a key into the lock on the solid metal cell door.
"Wait." Abdalayev took a moment to straighten the black beret that was sitting on his bald head. Then he ran a hand over his fatigues and smoothed his long, salt-and-pepper beard over his chest. "Okay."
The lock protested for just a moment; then the large door slid noisily to the left. Immediately, Abdalayev's senses were violently assaulted. The smell of human waste that had been strong in the hallway was overwhelming in this room. From somewhere in the room a blaring children's song came to an end, then just as quickly began again: "I love you; you love me ..."
Abdalayev waited a moment for his eyes to adjust to the brilliance of the four floodlights, then entered the room.
In the middle of the cell sat an ancient-looking man. He was FlexiCuffed by the wrists and ankles to a reversed metal chair, while a wide fabric belt held his chest tightly against the chair's back. Except for the restraints, he was completely naked.
The battle-scarred prisoner stared at Abdalayev with his one remaining eye. A crooked smile had spread across his mangled face. Hanging over his back were two I.V. bags-one attached to a line that went into the man's arm, the other positioned to slowly drip down his back. As Abdalayev watched, another drop released from the bag and fell onto a large red welt, causing the old man to wince and a tear to slide from his good eye. But he never lost his smile.
The Chechen renewed his determination to do this fast and get out. Drawing his pistol, he pointed it toward the prisoner. Abdalayev was gratified to see the sudden fear in the elder warrior's face-just a reminder of who was in charge of this operation. He pulled the trigger, shattering the portable CD player in the back of the room and finally putting an end to the music.
Looking to one of his men, he said, "Cover him." The soldier pulled a Mylar foil rescue blanket out of his pack and laid it over the old man's shoulders. Abdalayev settled his eyes upon the man in the chair. Reaching into his shirt, he pulled out a photograph. He examined the photo, then held it out so he could see both the picture and the prisoner's battered face at one time. Satisfied that they were one and the same, he tucked the picture away.
"My name is Lecha Abdalayev," the visitor said in accented Arabic. "I am the commander of the Chechen Freedom Militia. We have been asked by your friends to assist them in retrieving you. Are you able-"
"Where am I?" the prisoner interrupted.
"You are just outside of Babrosty, Poland, in a prison belonging to the American CIA. Now, I respectfully ask you not to interrupt me. All your questions will be answered in due course. As you can imagine, time now is of the essence."
The old man nodded his acquiescence.
"It is obvious that you will not be able to travel unassisted. Do I have your permission to immobilize you?" Abdalayev asked, knowing he was going to do it no matter the answer.
"Do what you must."
Abdalayev waved to another mercenary who was standing just outside the door. The captive's eyes grew wide as the soldier walked rapidly across the room and plunged a large hypodermic syringe into his neck. Immediately, the old man's head slumped.
"Bundle him up, and let's go," Abdalayev commanded, turning to walk away and wondering how much vodka it was going to take to get this visual out of his mind.
As he left the room, he was forced to step over the body of the man who had been guarding the cell-a quick glance wasn't enough to tell Abdalayev whether he had been American or Polish. Not that it matters-although there is something about killing Americans, he thought with a small smile. It's like the difference between shooting a common deer and hunting big game.
As he walked, Abdalayev took time to glance at the empty cells around him. Just inside one of these doors, the twisted bodies of two of his mercenaries and a guard were sprawled on top of each other in a spreading pool of blood that crossed the entire hall. Abdalayev didn't bother checking on his men. Dead or soon to be dead; not much difference today. He continued on, leaving a trail of bloody bootprints behind him.
When he reached the main courtyard, the four other Arabs who had been held prisoner at the facility were lined up on their knees.
"As-Salamu 'Alaykum," he said to them, conveying the traditional Muslim greeting of peace.
"Wa 'Alaykum As-Salam," they replied, a look of hope in their swollen eyes.
Abdalayev briefly studied their faces. It was obvious that these men had been exposed to the same treatment given to the old man. He said a silent prayer for them, then told the soldier guarding them, "Kill them."
Abdalayev watched as the men's souls departed for paradise. Insha'Allah, Abdalayev thought, it was obviously their time. If Allah has willed, who can change it? Allah wills some to live and some to die, some to serve and some to be served, some to be soldiers and some to be victims. Insha'Allah-it is as Allah wills.
One thing every young Muslim learned growing up in Chechnya was that Allah often called the few to sacrifice for the many. These men were too infirm to travel on their own, and he couldn't just leave them here. The very fact that they were in this secret prison meant that they had access to vital information. If they were recaptured and put to the same treatment again, they would break-everyone broke eventually. It was best just to send them to their eternal reward while there was still a possibility that they might arrive with their honor intact.
When the last of the prisoners had stopped moving, Abdalayev said into his comm, "Finish up. Proceed to the rendezvous point immediately." The agreed-upon spot was a large dying oak tree half a kilometer away and just off the road.
After their arrival, the twelve remaining members of Abdalayev's team would clean themselves up and put on casual business attire. They would also do their best to make the old man look presentable-I'm glad they mentioned the eye patch, he thought.
From there, the team would divide into groups of four and head northeast for the Belarusian border in three rented ekoda Roomsters. This would hopefully draw any pursuit that might follow. Abdalayev and the former prisoner, meanwhile, would drive a BMW southeast into Ukraine. The mercenary commander was confident that he could make it across the border with his fake passports. It would be difficult for the Americans to raise much of an alert. What could they say-"A man who doesn't officially exist anymore was stolen from a prison that never existed to begin with"?
If only things had been this easy when he was defending Grozny back in 1996. If that had been successful, then maybe he would be home right now with a wife and sons instead of here with mud on his hands and blood on his boots.
But, as every Chechen knew, you took Allah's will as it came. Some days it brought freedom, and another day it brought a bullet in the back of the head for being in the wrong prison at the wrong time. Insha'Allah. Allah knew what was best; blessed be his name.
Today Allah's will had brought freedom for al-'Aqran, leader of the Cause.
Excerpted from BLOWN COVERAGE by Jason Elam Steve Yohn Copyright © 2009 by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Professional Football League (PTL) Colorado Mustangs linebacker player Riley Covington looks forward to the NFL mini-camp season though he knows that the drills are much worse than boot camp. However, he also recognizes football is a game albeit even with billions of dollars involved after spending a military tour in Afghanistan and confronting terrorists in the United States (see MONDAY NIGHT JIHAD).
However, Riley has to put aside his football helmet and pads for the dangerous mission of the Counterterrorism Division when al-`Aqran the lethal brilliant leader of the Cause escapes incarceration and activates sleeper cells in America and Europe. As the threat goes red, Riley realizes he and his CD unit are part of the enemy¿s coordinated concerted effort to stop any defensive counter attack by targeting personnel and their family members with a keen fatwa as well as hitting key locations. The free world is under a severe blitz in which the deadly Jihadists look to exploit any BLOWN COVERAGE to sack the infidels; Riley prays for the safety of his loved ones, his teammates, and others while placing himself in God¿s care to counter the terrorists¿ assaults at a time he has doubts since a personal tragedy struck his soul.
As with the exciting first tale, readers see deep into the soul of the Cause leader who believes he and his team have God on their side just like the Americans; in fact the Muslims are even more certain as Riley in spite of his prayers has some major doubts. The story line is fast-paced never slowing down yet enables fans to better understand what motivates a Jihadist as the terrorists are humanized by Jason Elam & Steve Yohn, who score their second game winning touchdown with BLOWN COVERAGE.
What an awesome book!!! I loved the first book of this series (Monday Night Jihad) but would have to say that this second book of the Riley Covington series is even better. Jason Elam & Steve Yohn are an excellent pair. I am looking forward to reading book #3!!
Love Jason Elam's books. Hope there are more to come!
Jason Elam and Steve Yohn have done a great job with this series. My wife and I have enjoyed all of them and can only hope that they will keep writing. Since we read the next book in the series before we read this one, we knew the outcome of the final chapter on this series, however. We want more!!
This is a good book and very well written for a football player. (he was a kicker when we lived in Denver. Enjoyed his kicking for the Broncos, we still follow his career. That's part of the reason I read his two books.)
The plot was very well thought out. I love the Riley character, he is so down to earth. This one will hook you in the first chapter. You might want to read Monday Night Jihad first to make yourself familiar with the plot and some of the characters and why they are as they are. I only hope that Mr. Elam has a sequel in mind, I would hate to see this series end. Good job Jason.