Monday, April 14, 2014

Reap the Whirlwind by Robert Sells: Review and Excerpt


Whitman Emerson had everything a man could want: a beautiful girlfriend, a growing recognition in literary circles, the respect of his peers, and more than enough money. Until he discovers his bank account has been depleted. A few days later he loses his job. Old friends who may have been able to help him either die, disappear or disown him. Everywhere he goes, he is watched by security cameras. Then he is arrested for child pornography.
Bourbon bottle in hand, he trudged to the door and opened it to red blinking lights of half a dozen police cars. He was pushed aside as black-suited officers forced themselves past him. Roughly grabbed by one of the officers, Whit listened as a detective recited his Miranda rights. Within moments he was handcuffed and led outside.
On the run from the law, Whit joins up a stuttering computer nerd, Rick, and his younger sister, Mary. The trio gradually put the puzzle pieces together and realize their lives and the lives of all humans have been subtly manipulated by a computer, a computer which controls all data… anywhere, from banks to hospitals to online games.


From Chapter 4
Detective Jimmy Northup looked through the two-way mirror at “Tom Smith”. Head up, hands folded, the short, young bank robber looked around trying to find something of interest in the barren interrogation room. Where the pimp or the drug dealer might be yelling for a lawyer, this man seemed quite content in letting the unemotional bull-dozer of the law roll over him.

“Doesn’t seem too concerned about doing ten years in prison.” Al Morelli commented. Jimmy turned toward his friend who had just removed a piece of white lint from his suit coat.

“You’re right, Al, but why?”

After they returned to the car, Jimmy gripped the steering wheel and stared at the consol. Al looked at his friend, rolled his eyes, and watched two cops escort a scruffy, T-shirted man into the basement doors. Then he turned to his partner.

“Uh, this is when the key goes into the ignition, Einstein.”

Jimmy started the car and slowly drove away.

 “Hey, you wanna grab a beer before we get back to the station, buddy?” Jimmy looked over to his partner for a moment and shook his head no.

“Jimmy, forget this nutcase. You think too damn much.” They had been partners for over twelve years, back far enough that Al knew June, Jimmy’s wife. Back far enough that Al had been a guest in the log cabin the couple had built together. Then one spring day June had cut herself gardening and a week later died of an infection. Jimmy lost his mind. The night after she died, the cabin burned down. When the fire department came, Jimmy was wrapped in a blanket in the front yard watching it disappear in smoke. The report simply cited faulty wiring, but everyone in the fire and police departments knew what really happened and why.

“Then, let’s you and me grab dinner at the new Italian restaurant downtown.”

Jimmy again shook his head, fingers tightly squeezing the steering wheel. “Why doesn’t he care?”

“Whatever.” replied Al rolling his eyes.


From its high octane start to the final showdown, this imaginative novel about a man-made artificial intelligence becoming the most influential mover and shaker of human society was terrifying.  Whit’s life spins quickly out of control when he becomes the target of a devious plan aimed at discrediting him. He barely escapes his legal problems, but those actions make him a wanted fugitive with every law enforcement agency in the country aggressively seeking to apprehend him. 
As Whit attempts to make sense of the chaos surrounding him, his plans go awry as friends and colleagues sympathetic to his plight are killed off or mysteriously disappear.  Finally, far off the grid, Whit tracks down a college buddy and his shy sister, Mary.  Constantly on guard, the trio of friends tries to devise a plan of attack against the pervasive monitoring and active involvement of a self-aware and cunning computer. How can they pull the plug and release mankind from the shackles that that are clenching ever tighter into an inescapable chokehold?
A science fiction thriller that pushes the boundaries of believability to the extreme, but with enough pizzazz and flair to make even the fantastical seem plausible, this well-written story kept me intensely engaged and literally glued to my kindle. 

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Reviewed by Laurie-j

I attended college at Ohio Wesleyan where I struggled with physics. Having made so many mistakes in college with physics, there weren’t too many left to make and I did quite well at graduate school at Purdue.
I worked for twenty years at Choate Rosemary Hall, an exclusive boarding school in the heart of Connecticut. More often than not, students arrived in limousines. There was a wooded area by the upper athletic fields where I would take my children for a walk. There, under a large oak tree, stories about the elves would be weaved into the surrounding forest.
Returning to my home town to help with a father struggling with Alzheimer’s, the only job open was at a prison. There I taught an entirely different clientele whose only interaction with limousines was stealing them. A year later Alfred State College hired me to teach physics. I happily taught there for over ten years. A rural, low income high school needed a physics teacher and the superintendent, a friend, begged me to help out. So, I am finishing my teaching career in a most fulfilling way… helping kids who would otherwise not have access to a qualified physics (and math) teacher.
My wife pestered me about putting to “pen” some of the stories which I had created for my children and kids. I started thinking about a young boy and a white deer, connected, yet apart. Ideas were shuffled together, characters created and the result was the Return of the White Deer. This book was published by the Martin Sisters.
Years ago I gave a lecture on evolution. What, I wondered, would be the next step? Right away I realized that silicon ‘life’ had considerable advantages over mortal man. Later this idea emerged as the exciting and disturbing story called Reap the Whirlwind, my most recent novel.
I have many other stories inside my mind, fermenting, patiently waiting for the pen to give them breath. Perhaps someday I will even write about those elves which still inhabit the woods in the heart of Connecticut.

Robert Sells has taught physics for over forty years, but he has been a storyteller for over half a century, entertaining children, grandchildren, and students. He has written the award-winning novel, Return of the White Deer, historical fiction, and he has written Reap the Whirlwind, a thriller. His third book, The Runner and the Robbery, a young adult book, was published in December, 2013.
He lives with his wife, Dale, in the idyllic village of Geneseo, New York with two attentive dogs who are uncritical sounding boards for his new stories. He is intrigued by poker and history, in love with Disney and writing, and amused by religion and politics.
Facebook  Amazon US Author Page

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