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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Excerpt: YOUNG MAN'S WAR

From Rod Walker's new bestselling novel, YOUNG MAN'S WAR:

Dad had come into the living room. He was a big man, and he looked like the sort of cop who would kick down doors and come in with his carbine blazing. He kept his head shaved, even though it kind of made him look like a Nazi, but I think the comparison pleased him. Right now, he had a massive scowl on his face, and I cringed a little. If that whining sound ticked him off and he thought it was coming from the game console…

“Yeah, Dad?” I said.

“Mute that,” he said. “I need to listen.”

I nodded and hit the mute button on the remote. The game’s chipper music went quiet, and I could hear that whining sound. It was now louder than the noise coming from the console’s fans.

“It must be the air conditioner,” pronounced Maggie. She tended to be a bit of a know-it-all. “That sounds like an air conditioner motor.”

“Maybe one of the neighbors is fixing something,” I said. “Or their car won’t start.”

“No, it must be the air conditioning,” said Maggie. “A broken car doesn’t make that noise.”

I looked up at Dad to see what he thought, and I blinked in surprise. There was something on his face that I had never seen before.

Dad looked…

He was frightened.

“Dad?” I said.

He didn’t say anything. I don’t think I can describe how shocking this was. Dad never showed fear about anything, ever. Chicago at that time wasn’t exactly a safe place, and people had tried to break into our house a couple of times. Dad had beaten the would-be burglars within an inch of their lives, his scowl never wavering. For him to show fear was as shocking as if the sun had gone dark in the middle of the day or had risen in the west.

“Dad?” said Maggie, concern in her voice.

“Oh, no,” he said in a quiet voice. “No, no, no. Not now. Not now.” He looked at Maggie and me. “I had really hoped you two would be spared this.”

“What’s wrong?” said Maggie.

Dad seemed to pull himself together, his face drawing into its usual hard mask. “Get your grab bags and go. We leave in five minutes.”

I pushed to my feet, puzzled, but I knew better than to disobey. “What’s going on?”

“And get your guns,” said Dad. I blinked at that. As you might guess, Dad was a gun nut, but he was equally fanatical about gun safety, and he had drilled into us that we were never to pick up a gun in a crisis unless we needed to use it, and never to point the weapon at anything unless we intended to kill it. “Guns, grab bags, kitchen in the five minutes. Go!”

He all but shouted the last word, which kicked us into motion. Dad didn’t shout. We scrambled up the stairs, and Maggie vanished into her bedroom, and I went into mine. My grab bag was the closet. Dad was ever careful, and the grab bag had been loaded with clothes, food, tools, weapons, supplies—everything you needed to survive in a disaster or a crisis. Part of our chores included packing and repacking the grab bags, making sure that everything worked and that nothing had expired.

I pried up one of the floorboards in my room and took my gun from its hiding place.

I say “my” gun, but it was technically Dad’s, and I was forbidden from touching it save at his express word or during a life-threatening emergency. It was a Glock 17 pistol, and while I would never win any shooting competitions, I was a decent shot with the thing. I checked that it was unloaded, and then pulled out the clips from the hiding place and tucked them into my grab bag.

Handling the heavy handgun seemed to send a shock through my brain. Before, the pure habit of obedience had taken over, but now I was beginning to wonder. Why were we doing this? All we had heard was an odd whining noise. Maybe it really was just the air conditioner acting up. The central air unit for our house was older than I was.

Then again, I had never seen Dad that freaked out by something. Angry, yes. He got angry and cold a lot. But frightened?

I shrugged, checked the grab bag one last time, and headed for the stairs. Maybe Dad was freaking out over nothing. If so, it was no big deal. Better to go along with what he had in mind that risk a punishment.

Maggie had beaten me downstairs, but she was always better organized than I was. Her eyes were wide in her face, though she seemed otherwise calm. I guess Dad’s alarm must have gotten to her. The whining noise had gotten louder, so loud that it was starting to get annoying.

“I guess,” said Maggie,” that’s not really the air conditioner.”

“No,” I said. I started to point out that I had told her so, but I stopped. The noise had gotten louder, and it also sounded…strange. I had thought it sounded like a broken machine, but now it didn’t sound like anything I had ever heard before, and it made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

“It sounds like something screaming,” said Maggie.

“Yeah,” I said.

Then I saw the light.

It was nine o’clock at night, and the lights were off in the kitchen, the kitchen door closed. But around the edges of the door I saw a flickering, colorless light, almost like the fluorescent lights in a hospital emergency room. The light kept flickering, and I realized that it was flickering in time to the undulations of the whining noise.

“Roland,” said Maggie. “I think that’s coming from the alley.”

I started to answer, and Dad came hurrying down the stairs. He was dressed in something that looked like riot gear—body armor and cargo pants and a harness for weapons. He was carrying a lot of weapons, two pistols, several grenades, a pair of heavy tactical knives, and he was holding an AR-15 with a lot of custom modifications.

“Dad,” said Maggie. “If you go outside like that, you’re going to get arrested.”

“I’m not,” said Dad. “The force is about to have bigger problems. In a couple of hours there might not even be a police force. Are you both ready?”

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33 Comments:

Blogger SirHamster August 02, 2017 9:18 PM  

It was a Glock 17 pistol, and while I would never win any shooting competitions, I was a decent shot with the thing. I checked that it was unloaded, and then pulled out the clips from the hiding place and tucked them into my grab bag.


Clips?

Anonymous VFM #6306 August 02, 2017 9:43 PM  

It's a kid.

Anonymous grayman August 02, 2017 9:50 PM  

#1. Need to read this RIGHT NOW!

#2. CLIPS???? a kid with training and that father 2 oils never call them clips he's proper terms i.e magazine

Anonymous grayman August 02, 2017 9:52 PM  

The wonders of the intetnet.... got the book, off to read it :)

Blogger Bill Quick August 02, 2017 10:00 PM  

The character may be a kid, but "clips" is a needless distraction. As soon as you read it, you assume the author knows as much about firearms as does Barack Obama.

Anonymous Sharrukin August 02, 2017 10:07 PM  

1. SirHamster

Clips?

Who cares?

Unless you are serving in an army, and that army still uses the Garand, it really doesn't much matter.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( more Natural Born Kekistani than if my mother was a native of Moorhead MN and my father came from Cockram Mill VA ... so to speak ) August 02, 2017 10:35 PM  

Better to go along with what he had in mind that risk a punishment.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( more Natural Born Kekistani than if my mother was a native of Moorhead MN and my father came from Cockram Mill VA ... so to speak ) August 02, 2017 10:36 PM  

5. Bill Quick August 02, 2017 10:00 PM
The character may be a kid, but "clips" is a needless distraction.


if done properly, it will be an opportunity for Maggie to demonstrate that she's a know-it-all later in the book.

Blogger Cederq August 02, 2017 11:25 PM  

VD, will it come out in paperback or hardcover soon? Don't have a kindle or tablet to read, and I like the feel of a book in my hand. I will order this if it does.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab August 02, 2017 11:28 PM  

This was a great story. Walker is a worthy man to carry on Heinlein's legacy. The end was perfect.

Anonymous Ezekiel Cassandros August 02, 2017 11:59 PM  

Cederq wrote:VD, will it come out in paperback or hardcover soon? Don't have a kindle or tablet to read, and I like the feel of a book in my hand. I will order this if it does.

If you're willing to forgo the feel of a book in the hand, Amazon has a Kindle for PC app, and also a Cloud Reader feature that lets you read Amazon purchases from anywhere you can log in to your Amazon account.

Blogger David The Good August 03, 2017 12:14 AM  

I bought it earlier today. Thank you.

Blogger David The Good August 03, 2017 12:16 AM  

Cederq wrote:VD, will it come out in paperback or hardcover soon? Don't have a kindle or tablet to read, and I like the feel of a book in my hand. I will order this if it does.

Do you have a smart phone? I put the kindle app on my Galaxy and it works great.

Blogger Unknown August 03, 2017 1:19 AM  

I am about half way through it. Has some grammar errors in it, but it is a great story.

Anonymous CoolHand August 03, 2017 1:35 AM  

Just finished it an hour or so ago.

Good story, several typos and grammatical errors scattered around in it, but otherwise a solid book.

Very much in the strain of Heinlein's YA adventures (like Have Spacesuit, Will Travel or Farmer in the Sky, etc). The comparison is definitely apt, IMO anyway.

I enjoyed it and will be reading the next in the series over the weekend.

Blogger Abdul August 03, 2017 1:45 AM  

Is this what was making all that noise?

Anonymous Ignaz Semmelweis August 03, 2017 1:53 AM  

That preview just added another sale for Castalia House.
Gonna start reading it now.
Thanks.

Blogger Cederq August 03, 2017 2:14 AM  

Gentlemen, I do not support amazon and will not have a smart (idiot) phone to save my life... My choices are limited and I alone will suffer iffn' the story does not come out in print. Thank you for your advice.

Blogger Harambe August 03, 2017 3:13 AM  

Cederq wrote:Gentlemen, I do not support amazon and will not have a smart (idiot) phone to save my life... My choices are limited and I alone will suffer iffn' the story does not come out in print. Thank you for your advice.

Get you a secondhand Kindle (no money to amazon that way) and keep it in offline mode. You can transfer epub files to it via your computer. You won't feel dirty that way.

Anonymous TS August 03, 2017 3:38 AM  

Vox,

For some reason your parents are listed backwards on the Bing search results page?

Blogger FrankNorman August 03, 2017 4:20 AM  

Vox, can one buy these books directly from Castalia House without having to go through Amazon?

Blogger John Williams August 03, 2017 4:41 AM  

@Frank, yes. Castilia House will email you the file. Buying from Amazon does let you post a review as a certified purchaser, though.

Blogger VD August 03, 2017 5:01 AM  

Vox, can one buy these books directly from Castalia House without having to go through Amazon?

No, not while it is Kindle Select. We sell considerably more books through Kindle Unlimited than we do from our store and all other retailers.

Anonymous Ignaz Semmelweiss August 03, 2017 6:50 AM  

That was a fun read ~ a pleasant page-turner with a flow and rhythm that kept me smiling all the way through. Thanks!

Anonymous Random #57 August 03, 2017 9:06 AM  

The use of 'clips' and outfitting his son with a pistol instead of a long gun does prompt us to "assume the author knows as much about firearms as does Barack Obama", as well as the people who edited the novel.

Blogger The Aardvark August 03, 2017 10:10 AM  

Yes. "Clips".
However can I read the book, now?

sarc/off

Blogger Matthew August 03, 2017 10:21 AM  

Cederq wrote:VD, will it come out in paperback or hardcover soon? Don't have a kindle or tablet to read, and I like the feel of a book in my hand. I will order this if it does.

We plan to publish all three Rod Walker novels in paperback. There are several other books in queue in front of them, however.

Anonymous Random #57 August 03, 2017 10:22 AM  

"However can I read the book, now?"

For those who aren't on Kindle Unlimited and contemplating buying the book, we're pointing out two bad mistakes about guns in two adjacent sentences. In a story where guns are very important. Just consider it fair warning.

Anonymous c matt August 03, 2017 11:30 AM  

Aside from the clip error, the son may have only had a pistol, but we are not (yet) informed what other firearms may be in tow. A gun nut would not have only a pistol, but a pistol would certainly be part of the arsenal. A solid argument could be made for, at a minimum, a rifle (long range), a shot gun (closer range and wider spread for the aim-challenged) and a pistol (close range, tight spots, concealable and as a last resort). I'll grant you the "clip" mistake (made by the son, not the "gun nut" father, btw). Perhaps the son's apparent ignorance of firearm terminology is part of the plot/character?

Anonymous Random #57 August 03, 2017 12:18 PM  

@29 c matt: If you're allowed to own pistols or "assault rifles", shotguns have very limited self-defense uses, the spread increases slowly so doesn't help at close range and is a danger to innocents at longer ranges. An AR-15 is a lot better in every way if legal, and a lot more flexible.

Handguns are much harder to handle safely than long guns, and since you have to be at least 18 to legally carry one, a father who is supposed to be competent in things like this would have much more likely supplied his children with AR-15s, unless handguns were a big thing to him and they were unusually mature.

As for the clip error, who did he learn the terminology from? Wouldn't his father correct him if he was getting it wrong from the media or movies and TV? Ignorance of firearms terminology doesn't suggest the general maturity needed to entrust a kid with a handgun.

While I'm at it, can anyone tell us what type of grenades the father had?

Anonymous c matt August 03, 2017 6:31 PM  

An AR-15 is a lot better in every way if legal, and a lot more flexible.

In a short range, interior setting, I would agree if said AR-15 is short barrel (registration and extra tax making it more difficult to own). Of course, given the "doomsday" scenario of the book, f**k registration. Handguns still remain cheaper and more concealable/portable. Shotguns have less penetration than rifles or pistols, so "danger to innocents" really depends upon the conditions (e.g., multi-room interior). I prefer not hijack this into a gun thread, so am happy to concede their are valid contrary points.

Blogger Rough Carrigan August 03, 2017 6:35 PM  

That was a very intriguing excerpt. Like Cederq, I enjoy the feel of an actual book in my hands.

Anonymous Eskyman August 04, 2017 6:20 PM  

"I checked that it was unloaded, and then pulled out the clips... and tucked them into my grab bag."

An unloaded gun sure makes me feel safe... oh, wait: no it doesn't. Actually it's less use for self-defense than a pocket knife. Oh well, I'm sure the bad guy will stop & wait while he unpacks his bag, until finally he finds his gun & then loads it up!

Even with that little lapse in gun-handling, that excerpt reads very well; and I just got Calibre to organize my e-book library, which got me reading bits & pieces of RAH... so I'm getting this book to see how Walker stacks up against The Master. So far, he's looking good, and reports are favorable!

Calibre, BTW- is absolutely fantastic, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's free, but don't let that put you off! Now my only problem is, a lot of my Heinlein stuff is fragmented. E.g. I have Waldo, and I have Magic, Inc, but not in one volume; they're separate. I also have the cover illustration, which has both together, so I'd like to combine them. If anyone knows how, I'd appreciate a link!

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