Years ago, I experienced a terrifying hell ride when the gas pedal on my Ford Explorer stuck wide-open while I drove Rte. 125 during rush hour traffic. Two days later, I received a recall notice in the mail. Little good it did me then. The experience remains as fresh as if it happened yesterday. I’d just left Khols parking lot and stopped at a red light. When the light turned green my foot shifted to the gas pedal, and the SUV took off like a bullet fired from an automatic pistol. Here’s the strange thing. When something like this happens, you try to reason it away. Never do you think anything dangerous could be happening. Our self-protection mode kicks in, and we waver in and out of denial.
Until we can’t any longer.
Until we need to face the truth…this day, could be our last. And it’s terrifying!
So, the SUV kept gaining more and more momentum till the speedometer read 40 mph, 50 mph, 60 mph, and climbing. Mind you, Rte. 125 was a main drag. Traffic lights stood every mile or so, and most of them turned red. But I couldn’t stop. With both feet on the brake, I screamed out the window for someone to help me.
No one did.
Instead, other drivers honked their horns. They didn’t know what was happening inside my Explorer. All they saw was me swerving in and out of traffic, barely missing numerous vehicles, black smoke trailing behind me from the brake pads tearing clean off. Next, smoke poured out the back. Not sure why. If I had to guess, I’d say it was the rotors or something brake-related. All I knew was I couldn’t stop the damn SUV.
A gazillion things raced through my mind in the span of a few seconds, including how to crash the vehicle without killing myself or others. After five sets of lights and miles and miles of the most harrowing journey I’d ever had the displeasure of experiencing, I came to a stretch of road with a field on the right. My plan was to veer into the field and crash into a tree, where hopefully I could jump out the driver’s door. Obviously, I wasn’t thinking clearly. My complete focus was on avoiding obstacle after obstacle so I didn’t kill anyone.
If it weren’t for two college students who pulled alongside me, I might not be alive today.
They hollered at me to throw the SUV into neutral, which I did. But the car kept accelerating. Then they told me to turn the key in the ignition. Finally, I rolled to a stop. When they darted to my door, I could barely speak, my nerves zinging through my system. Tears stained my twitching cheeks.
Horrible memories make great fodder for books.
Fast forward to this year. As I mentioned before, I was invited to write in Susan Stoker’s Kindle World, and the book had to be completed and polished by July 1st for a July 7th release date. In May, my neighbor asked to borrow my vehicle because his wouldn’t turn over. Thing is, it’s a fairly new vehicle. Turns out, he missed a loan payment. Remotely, the lender blocked access to the car by using what’s called a starter interrupter device. Basically, it makes the vehicle un-driveable till the customer brings their payments up-to-date.
That got me thinking. If they could prevent him from starting his SUV, could someone hack in and take control? What I discovered chilled me to the bone, and breathed life into HACKED. The opening chapter is a retelling of my experience, with a few “enhancements.”
What’s HACKED about?
Shawnee Daniels wrongly assumes she’s being punished for innocently hacking the Police Chief’s photos. Okay, maybe not-so-innocently, but someone had to expose him for the dog that he is. When she arrives at the mandatory computer seminar, the FBI enlists her help in stopping a serial killer who’s remotely hacking vehicles while the owners are behind the wheel.
Why he’s targeted these people remains a mystery. None of the victims frequent the same places, some don’t even live in the same state. The only commonality is they all drive Fords.
When Detective Levaughn Samuels is taken hostage—his life teetering on the edge of a high-speed chase—there’s nothing Shawnee won’t do to save him, no line she won’t cross. And when her BFF shows up unannounced with problems of her own, she only complicates matters.
Can Shawnee stop the killer before she loses the only man she’s ever loved? Or will the ride of his life end in death?
Last night, HACKED hit #1 in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, and it remains there today. Yay!!! All Kindle World books are only $1.99 on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sUHgo6
If you live outside the US, these directions will show you how to download your copy.
My husband is taking me for a celebratory dinner to keep the excitement going. Woohoo!!!