It’s 2021, a time when personal drones serve people in every aspect of life, but at the same time the U.S. has become a near-military state. Assassinations of prominent Americans are common, interstate travel is ruthlessly restricted, explosions rock the cities daily, and worst of all, food is increasingly controlled by a corrupt syndicate of rival militias.
When 19-year-old Matt Carney receives a cryptic message from his father urging him to evacuate his girlfriend, Raine, who is in mortal danger, Matt embarks on a cross-country road trip. Between a series of attempted hits by UMC thugs, the local police, and homeland security Predator drones raining down missiles on private citizens, Matt faces more deadly obstacles than he ever imagined possible.
Excerpt from Saving Raine (The Drone Wars: Book 1)
“So how does the Bible Party fit in when the world has gone completely mad?” Pastor Peaches said. “What is our role? What is our mission? Do we even have one? Are we still relevant?
“Friends, I think you know what I’m going to say. The Bible Party isn’t just relevant today, it’s never been more relevant. Our message is the essence of what’s missing in this country. Peace.” She looked all around as dozens of people nodded in anticipation. “And love. You knew I was going to say it. Peace and love. Peace and love. It’s so simple, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” confirmed a man somewhere in the middle of the crowd, a lone voice swept up in the feeling. A few people laughed as tension was released. Pastor Peaches hugged herself.
“And it feels…so…good, peace and love, it feels so good to me, when I say that message. I want to say to each and every person I meet, peace be with you, sir. I love you, ma’am. That’s right, because it’s personal. It starts with looking someone in the eye, and giving a sign of peace. Let’s do it right now. How about it, everybody? Give a neighbor your hand. Give them a hug. They won’t bite. Go on. You have my blessing. Right now!”
A kind of controlled pandemonium broke out as people rose from their chairs and started pumping each other’s hands. Matt read one man’s lips: “Peace be with you.” He saw them shaking hands, some timidly, some with gushing enthusiasm. A young woman threw her arms around the woman leaning on a cane beside her. The old woman looked like she hadn’t smiled in ten years.
Pastor Peaches walked over to him and stuck out her hand. “Peace be with you, Matt.” Luckily, the slingshot was in his left hand. She pulled him closer and placed her arms around his neck. As she hugged him, Matt saw the drone cam come from behind a potted palm and swoop in close. The little red light on the front lit up. It hovered six feet from his face as he hugged Pastor Peaches.
She didn’t say a word, and when she pulled away, she was already gazing at Nasreen. She hugged Nasreen, too, and Matt felt his whole body trembling.
He missed Raine. Suddenly, shuddering where he stood, with the crowd still in an uproar, he wished he could hug Raine tonight. He wished he were already in California. Why did the roads have to be so dangerous? What had they done to deserve choppers shooting missiles at trucks? He wished he could hold Raine and talk to her, free her from this pessimistic hole she’d fallen into, thinking he’d never come. He wished he could explain why he’d left school. If only he could explain it in person, she would understand.
He found himself sitting on the floor, his back pressed against the hard tent canvas. Denver was halfway to California, but they still had so far to go. What if he got there and she told him she wanted to stay with that moron she’d slept with? How long was this Bible Party caravan going to take to get to California?
“Are you okay, Matt?” Nasreen offered her hand, and he struggled to his feet. “Peace be with you,” Nasreen said, and embraced him. With a smile, Nasreen went back to her position three steps away. Pastor Peaches had returned to the lectern, looking out over the crowd.
“Was I right about that feeling good? I was right, wasn’t I? I want you to practice that every day. I want you to give a sign of peace to all the people in your life, starting tonight, when you get home, or when you go back to work. I want you to have love in your heart for people you don’t know, people who suffer from misfortune, pain and sickness. I want you to open your heart to the people you hate, people who’ve wronged you, people who’ve spit on you. Jesus did it. It feels good, people. It does them good. It does you good. And finally, I want you to share your love with Jesus.”
Matt scanned the crowd, trying to ignore the constantly moving cameras. No assassins in this crowd, just a bunch of giddy Christians. They settled back in their seats and waited for whatever Pastor Peaches would think of next.
He had to give up assuming Raine would be happy to see him. She didn’t want him to come. He was going there in spite of her wishes, against her wishes. His only sign of peace was to refuse to let her die there. He’d bring her north, or someplace safe. Then she could break up if she still felt like it.
It was easier said than done, all this peace and love stuff.
Meet Frederick Lee Brooke
Frederick Lee Brooke launched the Annie Ogden Mystery Series in 2011 with Doing Max Vinyl and following with Zombie Candy in 2012, a book that is neither about zombies nor sweets. The third mystery in the series, Collateral Damage, appeared in 2013. Saving Raine, the first book in Fred’s entirely new series, The Drone Wars, appeared in December, 2013.
A resident of Switzerland, Fred has worked as a teacher, language school manager and school owner. He has three boys and two cats and recently had to learn how to operate both washing machine and dryer. He makes frequent trips back to his native Chicago.
When not writing or doing the washing, Fred can be found walking along the banks of the Rhine River, sitting in a local cafe, or visiting all the local pubs in search of his lost umbrella.