We’re so pleased to have author Jeff Adams dropping in today on the tour for his latest release, Audio Assault, book three in the Code Name: Winger series from Harmony Ink Press. He’s chatting a bit about the series’ hero, Theo Reese, as well as give us a peek at an excerpt and some things he has coming up in the near future, so enjoy and don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the end too.
It’s release day for Audio Assault: Codename Winger #3 and I’m thrilled to be on The Novel Approach to celebrate. Many thanks to Lisa for hosting me to talk about teenage secret agent Theo Reese’s new mission.
For those who haven’t met Theo yet, he’s a high school hockey player, computer genius who has a boyfriend and just happens to be a secret agent. (You can hear from Theo himself in this video). After his first two field missions during in his junior year of high school, he’s ready for summer vacation. Once he’s back from a couple of weeks at Tactical Operational Support training, that’s what he’s expecting.
His parents have something else in mind though.
They need him to come with them to NYC because a family friend needs help. What seems like one family’s problem, however, turns out to be a worldwide threat.
A couple of inspirations mashed up in creating what Theo has to battle in Audio Assault. I loved the short-lived CSI: Cyber series. The cases the FBI’s cyber crime division dealt with were intriguing, especially the ones that dealt with major threats to everyday people. Ever since an episode where a number of people’s phones were hacked because unsuspecting people plugged into a USB charging station at an airport has ensured I’ll never use one of those and always opt for a standard electrical outlet.
The idea of an audio signal driving people into a rage, as depicted most recently in the first Kingsmen movie fascinated me too.
For Audio Assault, I took something everyone takes for granted–music–as the vehicle for the mayhem. Many of us listen to music several times a day–whether it’s personal digital libraries or streaming on a service like Spotify. What if that music was encoded to not only steal the data off your device by could also emit a signal that could make you and/or those around you into a violent lunatic?
That’s what Theo’s dealing with rather than enjoying summer with his boyfriend, Eddie, and working on projects for both TOS and his MIT adviser.
Blending all this together provided a lot of fun as I considered the ways the music could be used to cause chaos. One of the elements in dealing with cybercrime is the way it can sneak up on users since the problem can be hard to realize until it’s too late. Of course, Theo is a fierce defender against this sort of thing so he’s right in his element here working to stop it before it can spread.
A new element in this mission for Theo is that he’s working closely with both parents. While his mom and dad have worked for TOS for many years and Theo’s been their colleague since he was eleven, this is the first time a field mission has allowed the three of them to collaborate. His Mom was with him in Tracker Hacker and his Dad become point person in Schooled. This time it’s the three of them and that brings some cool dynamics to the story that hasn’t been seen before in these books.
In the excerpt below you’ll see the family in action as bad things go down at a charity dinner.
What’s still to come…
Within the next few days two more things happen in the Codename: Winger universe.
Tracker Hacker, book one of the series, comes out in audio. I’m beyond excited the series is making its audio debut and I can’t wait to hear Theo’s first adventure. The book is scheduled to hit Audible later this week or sometime next.
Theo is also having a Christmas adventure. The free short story, A Very Winger Christmas, debuts at the last tour stop, Harmony Ink Press, on November 30. Ever since I created this series, I’ve wanted Theo to have his own “holiday special” and I’m delighted with the mission I sent him on. Within the Winger series, the story falls between Tracker Hacker (book 1) and Schooled (book 2), but it can be read standalone as it doesn’t offer any spoilers.
Next up will be the fourth and final book, Netminder. Theo’s got his biggest challenge yet as everything in the first three books culminates in this one. It’ll be out May 29, 2019.
About the Book
Theo Reese is just like any other seventeen-year-old—with one small exception.
This summer all he wants is to spend time with his boyfriend, Eddie, and work on his MIT research project. His parents have other plans.
An old friend needs the help of Theo’s family. Oliver Glenwood is an ’80s music star who runs his own label. His wife and his daughter, Sofia, now a chart topper herself, are the targets of kidnappers. Oliver hopes they can eliminate whoever is behind the threat.
When Theo uncovers an even more insidious plot, the covert agency the Reeses work for, Tactical Operational Support, swoops into action.
Song files have been modified to steal personal data from devices and emit a tone that drives listeners into a homicidal rage. Theo and his parents race against the clock to stop this mysterious enemy from releasing the music on an unsuspecting populace and causing worldwide chaos.
Just when Theo thinks the mission couldn’t be more complicated, Eddie shows up in New York looking to hang out with his boyfriend.
No one ever said being a teenage secret agent would be easy.
This excerpt comes from chapter seven and it takes place at a charity dinner. Oliver Glenwood is a former music star who now owns his own music company. He and his daughter, Sofia, a star in her own right, are finishing a performance for the honoree. You’re about to see the Reese family in action!
The audience got to their feet, cheering. Oliver came forward and put his arm around Sofia’s shoulders, and they both bowed.
Oliver stepped close to the mic and held up his hand to get the audience’s attention. “We’ll release that song tomorrow for purchase. All proceeds will go directly to AFC to continue to help those who need it the most.” The audience cheered louder. “All of you here tonight can get an early copy. We have them available for purchase at a special price that will also get you an autograph from Sofia and myself. Those are available at the tables in the back. Thank you for your support.”
The lights went out.
For a moment it seemed like a glitch—the wrong button pushed to bring up the lighting on the audience perhaps. When it continued more than a couple seconds the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
I blinked four times rapidly to bring up the contact lenses’ menu. I activated on the night vision.
Everything went green and it took me a minute to adjust because I wasn’t used to working in this mode. Four men moved confidently and quickly around the tables, and they had night-vision goggles on. Oliver’s security blindly felt their way along the walls, trying to get to the stage.
While the lenses were supposed to be a secret, even from my parents, I had to say something because Dad was getting up and had no idea what the threats were.
“Dad!” I yelled to be heard over the crowd who talked louder the longer the lights were out. “Four men with night vision. Mom, keep hold of Marcella. Dad,” I said as I got up, “I’m coming around for you and we’re going to the stage.”
“Theo, can you see my purse?” Mom asked. “Can you put it in my hand.”
I loved my family–no one even asked why I could see. “Yeah. Right here.” As I passed her, on my way to Dad, I put her hand on it.
I grabbed Dad’s shoulder and told him to stay close. “Sofia and Oliver haven’t moved.”
“New gadget, huh?” Dad asked quietly.
“Yeah. Glad I decided to use this as a field test.” I looked behind us. “The four guys are spreading out. I don’t see guns, but I assume they’re armed.”
We got to the stage, and I guided us to step up.
“It’s Theo and Victor.” It was weird using Dad’s first name. “We’re right here. Katherine’s got Marcella.”
I reached out and grabbed Sofia just below the elbow. Then I guided Dad’s hand to Oliver’s arm.
“What’s happening?” Oliver sounded panicked, a surprise given how calm he’d been so far in discussing the past abduction attempts.
“Four men in the room. They’ve got goggles. Theo?”
“They’re having a hard time getting up here. People keep getting in their way. Having the tables so close together is making it difficult, especially as panic grows.”
“We should get you out of here,” Dad said. “Theo, I can keep these two. Can you get your mom and Marcella out?”
Light illuminated our table. It looked like Mom activated her flashlight app. The night vision blotted out in that area leaving me with just a peripheral. It would do the same for the bad guys.
More phones lit up, making it increasingly hard for me to see. I blinked and brought up the menu for the lenses and chose to keep one eye on night vision and one normal.
“Mom’s got Marcella safe,” I said. “Let’s get these two into a more secure area.”
Oliver’s security had one of the guys. Another was about to be apprehended as he struggled to get his goggles off. Mom indicated an exit just off the stage to our left. Dad and I nodded acknowledgment.
Despite the phone lighting, people scrambled to get to the exits causing general chaos. I’d lost track of the other two guys. With the night vision activated I wasn’t able to accurately see details, so I didn’t have any idea what they looked like. If they ditched their goggles they could blend in.
We moved to the exit door staying close together. Marcella and Mom were going there too when they were tackled to the floor by a woman in a ball gown.
That wasn’t an accident—the woman was not someone trying to get away.
Oliver broke away from Dad and went to help.
“Get her out of here,” Dad called to me as he went after Oliver.
My grip on Sofia’s arm tightened. “Come on.”
“No way, man. I’m not leaving my family.”
I moved us toward the exit despite her resistance. I leaned into her—not as forcefully as I would a defenseman but enough to get us moving. “No. We’re leaving here now.”
She jerked against my hold but couldn’t break it.
“Let me go!” She was furious.
“My parents got this.” I pulled her with me. “We’re going out that door.”
About the Author
Jeff Adams has written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published. Since then he’s continued to create, often with a hockey player at the center of the story.
Jeff lives in northern California with his husband of more than twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show],the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. He also loves to read, but there isn’t enough space to list out his favorite books.
Jeff is the co-host of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, a weekly show devoted to gay romance as well as pop culture. New episodes come out every Monday at BigGayFictionPodcast.com. You can learn more about Jeff at JeffAdamsWrites.com.