Riley Covington is still reeling from his father’s brutal murder when he learns he’s been traded. Meanwhile, the counterterrorism division has detected a plot to detonate electromagnetic pulse bombs that could leave the U.S. without power, communications, and transportation—right down to dropping planes out of the sky. CTD scrambles to stop the attacks, but they run out of time. Amid the fallout, Riley, Scott, Skeeter, and CTD must regroup to make sure the second bomb doesn’t reach its destination.
Read an Excerpt
BLACKOUTA RILEY COVINGTON THRILLER
By JASON ELAM STEVE YOHN
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.Copyright © 2010 Jason Elam and Steve Yohn
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTUESDAY, JUNE 30
The impact was swift and sudden. Muhammed Zerin Khan cursed himself; he should have seen it coming. He had always prided himself on having a sixth sense-a special awareness of his surroundings. But this time, his gift had failed him, and now he would pay for it.
The initial concussion knocked the air from his lungs and left him stunned. A dizzying pain forced him to squeeze his eyes shut until the wave passed.
As he sucked for air, he spun and scrambled to all fours. He knew he had to get into fighting position or it was all over. But as he looked around, he knew he was done for. Where did they all come from?
Hands were all over him. Something sharp pressed into his lower back. He tried to squirm away, but the grips on his arms and legs were like iron manacles.
Less than a week ago, Zerin had walked into the Georgia State Prison and sat down in the tight cubicle. His father was waiting for him on the other side of the Plexiglas with the phone already in his hand. Zerin pressed his knuckles to the cool glass as he picked up the phone. His father leaned forward and completed the fist tap. "It's been a while, Son. You good?"
His father slowly leaned back in his chair, stretching the phone's cord taut. Zerin noticed how the man's age had begun to reveal itself. The wrinkles around his eyes and the gray streaked through his beard made him look much older than Zerin remembered. The look was a little surreal, a little discordant with what he knew of his father's past, because with the white kufi and the white prison-issue garb, his father actually looked like one of the wise imams Zerin had seen online.
"Me? I'm doing well. Allah has blessed me. Besides, it does my heart good to know what's on the horizon," his father stated with a definitive smirk.
"'What's on the horizon'? What do you mean?" Zerin asked him, puzzled.
The older man slowly shook his head. "I'd love to tell you, Son. I want you to know-to be ready for-what's coming down the pike. But I can only say so much. Let's just say it's gonna happen. It is gonna happen. And you'll know it when it does. And you'll also know that your old man knew about it before it did, because they came to me for help. They asked me to organize this. I am the only one in this whole facility to whom they have entrusted their plan.
"So when it all goes down, you'll know that your broken-down old pops was responsible for everything that takes place in this here facility. You'll know that I was involved in the biggest thing that's happened since ... well, just trust me, boy, you'll know. Meantime, we just have to be patient, and insha'Allah, we will make it count when the time is right."
Zerin said nothing. His father had taken these cryptic turns occasionally during recent visits. The first few rebuffs had taught Zerin not to try to dig for anything deeper than what his dad was ready to willingly offer up.
After a short pause, his father sat upright in his chair, releasing the tension from the phone cord. "Enough of that for now. I want to know how my son is. How's your training going? Tell me everything."
It was now less than one week later, and Zerin was glad he hadn't had this story to tell his father. The weight on his back was pressing the air out of his lungs. He fought and squirmed with every fiber of his existence, but there were simply too many of them. There was laughter all around, mocking and cruel, as those in the room started a mini celebration.
Zerin's rage boiled over, and he made a sudden effort to free himself. One arm got loose but was quickly clamped back down. Someone had his head pressed firmly into the short carpet and was rubbing it roughly back and forth, taking the skin off his right cheek directly under his eye.
Suddenly he was flipped onto his side, and he heard the unmistakable sound of someone ripping off pieces of duct tape. Through the bodies, Zerin could see the one with the tape moving toward him. He tried to tuck his legs a bit in order to drive his heels into this man. Maybe he could break his assailant's nose and in the frenzy free himself. It was a long shot, but at the very least Zerin could make them realize he wasn't simply going to let them have their way.
As the others made room for the taper, Zerin saw his chance. He lunged with all his might, kicking straight into what he hoped was the man's face. At the last second, the attacker saw it coming and dropped his head just enough to take the full force on his forehead. While the man stumbled backward, dazed, the pile on top of Zerin grew even larger. Fists were driven into his side, and threats were made against any further resistance.
Zerin had no hope now. His opponents held him firmly, and the tape began wrapping his legs. Once his ankles were secured, his wrists and arms were next. As his arms were pulled tighter behind his back, Zerin felt a piercing pain in his shoulder. He refused to cry out.
Duct tape went around and around his head and eyes, and then a strip went over his mouth, causing his first moment of real panic. He had been breathing deeply through his mouth, but now he had to draw rapidly through his nose.
Now he saw nothing but felt clothes being ripped off him. A chill told him when there was nothing left on his body.
Then he was on the move. The complete darkness was disorienting. He tried to picture in his mind the direction he was being taken but soon got lost. The carpet he was being dragged across was creating more rug burns on his already-reddened body. Zerin was trapped between rage and terror.
After a few more yards, he felt himself lifted off the ground and passed from hand to hand. There was laughing and shouting coming from all around him.
Then, as quickly as he was picked up, he fell back down. His body slammed headfirst into the floor-only now the abrasive carpet had been replaced by hard tile. A searing pain shot through Zerin's brain, and he immediately felt blood rolling across what little skin on his face wasn't covered with tape.
As he tried to collect his wits, hot breath made its way into his ear. "Khan, did you really think you could hide from us? Did you really think we wouldn't get you? We get everybody!"
The duct tape was ripped from his mouth. "You have any last words, Khan?"
Zerin spit, not knowing if he hit anybody. Another big cheer went through the crowd, as well as one loud curse.
Again he felt himself being lifted, and then there came another free fall. Zerin cringed and tried to brace himself. However, the impact was not what he expected. It felt like he had been dropped into liquid fire. The shock sucked all the air from his already-burning lungs.
Then he realized that it wasn't heat but cold-ice cold. He instinctively took a breath, and freezing water rushed through his sinuses. He began to choke. As quickly as he was in the water he was plucked out.
Amid the laughter and cheers, he was flopped on the cold tile, gagging and trying to rid the water from his lungs.
Suddenly the unmistakable voice of Roy Burton, head coach of the Colorado Mustangs, pierced the air. "What do you idiots think you're doing? Get away from him, now! Somebody get some scissors and cut this boy loose."
Zerin heard the mass exodus of people, and by the time the tape was removed from his eyes, the crowd had grown very small.
It was then that Coach Burton noticed the blood. "Get the trainers in here too. Quick!"
Burton leaned down. "Son, you okay? I'm sorry about this."
But Zerin said nothing. What was there to say? He had been hurt and humiliated. They had attacked his body and his dignity. Those were not things he could just brush off and forget. Zerin had heard about rookie hazing in the Professional Football League, but this incident had gone way too far.
Now the seeds of revenge had been sown. On that cold floor, he made a vow-a promise to himself that he would be patient. He would find his time. He would strike! Just as his father had said.
"It is gonna happen.... We just have to be patient, and insha'Allah, we will make it count when the time is right."
Excerpted from BLACKOUT by JASON ELAM STEVE YOHN Copyright © 2010 by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An interesting story about a star football player who is also a member of a Special Ops team in the Counter Terrorism Division working to stop an impending terrorist attack on the country with EMP bombs. Information has been smuggled out of North Korea that the devices have been built to use against the United States but the source does not know any other details. Riley Covington and his CTD team must determine when, where, and how the devices will be launched if they have any hope of stopping a major disaster that could affect the entire world. Dividing his time between professional football and a Special Ops team is quite a feat, made even more difficult by the fact that he is a well-known player. Just his life alone becomes a huge juggling act but the CTD team has its work cut out to uncover the many details and piece together a plan to stop the attack. The suspense is palpable as events start coming to a head. Riley and several of his closest friends on the football team are Christ-followers who live out their faith and seek to do the right thing even in difficult circumstances. The book is well worth reading. It was released several years ago as the third in a series. I hope I get an opportunity to read the first two books.
These are very well written books. Keeps your attention & makes you anxious for the next book in the series
I love Christian fiction, and I greatly respect authors who use characters to help spread the word of God through a medium that does not always respect Him. However, Blackout did not provide a message that I, as a Christian reader, can relate to. Blackout contains far too much political ideology to be considered an impartial read. Within the first several chapters I was greeted with political positions on torture of prisoners, the Huffington post, Muslims, and warfare that do not sit well with me. I can take politics, and a difference of opinion is needed in any democracy - however, I do not like partisan politics being presented under the guise of a Christian read. Speaking in a Christian book about praying for leaders, praying that leaders do the right thing, etc. is a far cry from pointing fingers and laying out thoughts on specific situations. The thriller aspect of Blackout was overshadowed by the bad feelings the aforementioned gave me, but there were parts I enjoyed. My favorite plot-line began in North Korea. I can't recommend this book heartily, but it is an okay read. If you enjoy partisan politics, you may even like it a lot! Disclosure: I received an ARC copy of this book from Tyndale.
Blackout is the third volume in the Riley Covington series. Footballer Riley Covington returns with a new adventure in the Secret Service. Before receiving this complimentary ARC from Tyndale, I was unaware of this series. The premise was interesting-a pro football player who's a bit of a James Bond on the side. It certainly isn't believable, but that wasn't the point. I believe the goal of the authors was to write a page-turning thriller that could appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike. For the most part, I believe this goal was achieved. Blackout presents a terrorist act that could feasibly happen one day. The narrative was interesting and seemed to be derived from a typical Hollywood thriller. There were moments of heroism, plenty of technology and a nail-biting ending. And while the book was testosterone heavy, this female reader appreciated the chaste romantic subplot that was included. I also enjoyed the interjection of the faiths of many of the characters. The Christians were portrayed as earnest, yet imperfect in their faith. They weren't overly preachy, but they occasionally shared how Christianity mattered in their crazy lives. It was interesting to see the Islamic terrorists' side as well. The only qualm I have with the book is the distracted nature of some of the writing. Elam and Yohn write well when they're focused on the suspense. However, they get caught up in trying to offer too much comic relief. Due to some of the inherent violence, parents might want to save this one for elder teen boys. However, the writers do keep it clean with no direct quoting of cursing and the limitation of certain graphic details. Football fans will also be entertained, getting plenty of behind the scenes moments. Overall, this novel was a fun ride. I anticipate reading the next book in the series and would like to read their previous editions as well. (My unabridged review: http://CalicoCritic.blogspot.com)
"Blackout" by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn is the newest Riley Covington Thriller from Tyndale House Publishing and is due to hit the shelves of bookstores in January 2010. If you know a guy who enjoys intrigue and action, then he will love this book! This book is packed with action and suspense that will keep him turning the pages until the end. Now, don't get me wrong; you ladies who love this type of book will enjoy this one too. This book is a great spy thriller. I really liked the hero, Riley Covington, and the way he stands true to his Christian convictions. Not only is this book packed full of drama and action, but it includes a great Christan message as well. And, the scenario in the book is believable and relevant in this day and age in our country. If you like intrigue, drama, action, and suspense then you'll enjoy this book. I don't like to give away too much about a book, especially one with this much suspense. So, I will give you their short book blurb:
Tyndale House Publishers was very kind to send me an advance copy of Black-Out by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn. Once again Tyndale has chose wisely by publishing this excellent thriller. This book is one in a series of books about Riley Covington, a Linebacker for a popular professional football team/Ex-Air Force Special Ops/Current Special Forces for FBI/All-American Good Guy..and did I mention Believer...?! Yep, he's all that and a bag of chips. This book is extremely well written and I am very impressed: The authors bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this book which give the story credibility. The characters are well described and each one is unique. In fact, I often found myself chuckling at the different personality traits and quirks. The story is complete in one book. Although Riley Covington may be in other books, you feel satisfied when you get to the end of this one. This is a story with a great beginning, middle, and end. You don't feel like you are left hanging for years to come while the author figures out what to write next. You enjoy the reading, look forward to the next installment, but are content at the end. The theology is right on! This is a Christian fiction book that you walk away from without feeling like you need a bath. The truth and love of Christ comes through. This particular Riley Covington Thriller deals with electromagnetic pulse bombs, Terrorism, Islam, and Christianity. This book is perfect for both women and men. The authors do an outstanding job of portraying human relationships as well as action and all of that other male testosterone packed stuff (that we really like!). Not that it needs it, but this book has my stamp of approval. I will be on the look out for any previous Riley Covington Thrillers I may have missed up until now.
I had the privilege this week of getting a chance to read and review the book Blackout: A Riley Covington Thriller by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn. Blackout is the third novel in the Riley Covington series, a series that I must confess I have not read until this book. The book follows football star Riley Covington, who was formerly involved in military special operations. During training camp, Riley is suddenly informed that he has been traded to an inferior team across the country, with really no satisfactory reason given until a friend involved in anti-terrorism for the government brings him to his office. As a deadly terrorist plot begins to unfold, Riley Covington is involuntarily recruited into a special anti-terrorist team that is desperately racing against the clock to stop the attack. The terrorists are planning to surgically strike the United States with EMP's(Electro-Magnetic Pulsegenerated by a nuclear weapon), a scenario which could leave millions of people without power for a considerable amount of time. The book presents the reality of an EMP detonation with a good deal of accuracy. Riley Covington, who did a thesis on the effects of an EMP attack at one point explains to the president the ramifications of such an attack on U.S. soil. In short, an EMP attack would not only leave millions of civilians without power, but an EMP attack would stop pacemakers, leave hospitals in the dark, cause planes to plummet out of the sky, and strand families miles apart. There is also a slight romantic element to the novel, but it doesn't distract from the plot even a little. Riley Covington is not just a football player who is sometimes involved in special ops, he's also a Christian. And the woman he is attracted to is a moderate-liberal Muslim. While Riley clearly has feelings for this woman, he is unable to start a relationship with her because of their religious differences. Riley is torn between his faith and his feelings for this woman, but also develops some feelings for a female reporter. This book is a fantastic read for the most part. Once you get started, you really don't want to put it down. The book contains some enigmatic elements at some points, which become more clear as the story develops. The plot is well done, and could probably make a great movie. Character development is probably somewhere around the middle ground, but I think that unless you've read the other two books in this series, you aren't going to get a good feel for the depth of the main characters, which is why I plan to go and purchase them. There are a couple of parts that seemed mildly repetitive, but that does not distract from the overall quality of the book. Blackout is a well-written book, centered around solid Christian principles, but is done without being preachy. I give this book four and a half stars. It is really an excellent read, that likely won't disappoint you. It has suspense without vulgar language, and romantic interest without compromising Biblical principles. It reads easily, and keeps you turning every page to find out what happens next. Blackout will become available January 1, 2010. I recommend pre-ordering this book either for yourself or as a late Christmas gift for a friend or family member who is interested in suspense thrillers. Note: I received a free copy of this book to review from Tyndale House Publishers. My thoughts and opinions on this book are my own, and I stand by them.