Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Touch of Nerves by D.C. Hampton Blog Tour and Giveaway

Publisher: New Shelves Publishing Services
Format: Paperback | 248 pages
Publication date: 1 January 2013
ISBN 10: 0989150402
ISBN 13: 9780989150408

--New novel explores America’s role in the Middle East

For Giveaway go to the Rafflecopter Link at the bottom of the post.
--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of A Touch of Nerves by D.C. Hampton.
1 Winner will receive a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.


--New novel explores America’s role in the Middle East

When Army Captain Ben Hawkins discovers chemical weapons missing from a military research facility, he begins an investigation into preventing a possible terrorist attack. The suspects? Two rogue Iranian agents who blame the deaths of their family members on the United States. What Hawkins doesn’t expect is to find himself forced to decide whether to risk his career—and possible arrest—to stop the attack, even if it means working with a foreign agent.

D.C. Hampton’s debut novel, A Touch of Nerves, may be set on the battlefield of America’s “War on Terror,” but the book is a far cry from your typical action narrative. Inspired by his two sons who served in Iraq and the Persian Gulf during the Iraq War and his own time serving in the U.S. Army, Hampton brings depth and humanity to characters that might otherwise be painted in the two-dimensional “hero” or “villain” archetypes. With Hampton’s passion for history and global affairs, A Touch of Nerves brings a fresh perspective to the long history of tension between the United States and Iran.

“I wanted to write a story that was worth telling, realistic and suspenseful,” says Hampton. “I believe the book is entertaining, but it also sheds light on the complex relationship between Iran and the United States and explores the complex emotions and issues that drive some individuals to commit terrible acts.”

“The story includes a wealth of details as Hampton weaves a complex plot,” writes Kirkus Reviews. “A conceivable threat and suspense-filled plot keep readers engaged until the end. Hampton eschews the genre’s typical plot holes and vague facts and his handle on international relations gives the terrorists credible motivations.”


That same day
Dulles International Airport
25 miles west of Washington, D.C.

Elena Santana glanced around as she waited at Dulles Airport baggage carousel #5, more out of habit than any particular concern. This was her second entry into the U.S. as an exchange student from Seville, Spain, although she wasn’t returning as an exchange student and she wasn’t really from Seville.  She wasn’t even Elena Santana, but she often forgot that.  
This was the part of the operation that Mahmoud was most concerned about.  Customs and Immigration.  Passport Control.  Possibly a photograph and facial recognition scan, a check against the do-not-fly list, or worse.  But Elena wasn’t concerned and she wasn’t nervous.  It helped that she was looking forward to the operation.  It also helped that she and Mahmoud had rehearsed these few minutes a dozen times, with Mahmoud playing the part of the immigrations officer, sometimes questioning her, sometimes challenging her, sometimes just stamping her rehearsal passport and waving her through. 
At age 28, and with a rather vague look about her, Elena could easily pass as a younger, college-aged student, which was exactly what she was trying to do.  She actually was an exchange student from Seville—just not Jennifer McNair, as her passport said.  Her dark eyes and light olive-colored skin didn’t stand out in Spain, where she had spent a considerable amount of time lately.  She wouldn’t stand out in the United States, either, where people might come from anywhere in the world.

How convenient,” she thought.  Everyone looks as if they fit in here.”  That certainly wasn’t the case in her native Iran.
  No, not in her native Iran, where she was Saman Kashan, not Elena Santana, or even Eleni, as she told her friends it was spelled in her parents’ native Greek island of Rhodes.  Neither she nor her parents had ever been in Rhodes, or anyplace in Greece, for that matter.  And in the past few years Saman had spent more time in Spain than in Iran, thanks to Mahmoud Najidad.

Mahmoud had insisted that she make friends in Spain, especially American friends, and attend classes, even work part-time, although she didn’t need the money.  Saman had always spent time there, even as a child.  Her Spanish was flawless—better than her English, which she spoke with a Spanish accent.  And she had always loved the colors, the history, and the ancient sites in Spain that had been an important part of the Muslim world for centuries.  She loved to visit Toledo, where 12th century Muslim, Christian and Jewish scholars had rescued the Greek classics from obscurity, providing the foundation for the European Renaissance that followed. Now she lived and studied in Seville, the once Moorish city she had come to love.
The days when Muslims occupied Spain and ruled the Mediterranean were long gone, of course, and Saman wasn’t one of those crazy, out-of-touch zealots who actually believed they could re-create an empire, perhaps by blowing themselves up.  Her motives were much more personal and her goals were much more specific.
She thought back to that day when her world changed forever.  The day she would remember and re-live for the rest of her life.  July 3, 1988. The day she went to visit her Aunt Farideh and Uncle Parham, never to return to her own home again.
Saman was eight years old, too young, her father said, to fly with them to Dubai.  Both her parents and her older brother Hami were on Iran Air Flight 655, flying from Tehran to Dubai, travelling together to a conference her father was to attend.  They would be gone for almost a entire week.    

  She knew her parents and big brother would be away for a long time.  But the week turned into forever when Iran Flight 655 was hit by a guided missile fired by the USS Vincennes as the Iranian Airbus 300 flew directly at the US Navy cruiser.  Her parents, her brother, and 287 other passenger and crew members died that day.  Saman believed, as many of her countrymen did, that the missile attack was retaliation for the taking of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran nearly 10 years before.  And nobody had made the Americans pay for it—yet.      ­

For many years, Saman didn’t know anything about flights and missiles and the confusion leading up to that terrible event.  Her memories were of the noise, the crying, the strangers coming and going, and a house filled with more food than anyone wanted or could eat.  She remembered that she had gone to visit her aunt and uncle and never went home again.  After a while she had to concentrate even to remember what her parents and her brother Hami looked like.  But that day, twenty years ago, that day she would never forget.

The details came later, when she was older and could find out for herself, since nobody at her new home would talk about it.  She learned about the Iran Air flight that took off from Tehran and headed out into the Persian Gulf, flying directly at a United States Navy guided missile cruiser that was under attack by Iranian patrol boats.  Why hadn’t the American ship correctly identified the airliner?  Why did the Americans insist on claiming the airliner’s transponder didn’t identify it as a civilian aircraft?   

And if it was an accident, as the self-righteous Americans claimed, why had they never apologized?  Did they really think that the money they sent her new family—money her aunt and uncle used for Saman to travel in Spain and to study abroad—was that supposed to make up for it?
Yes, she had been looking forward to this trip to America for nearly two years.  In a way, she had been waiting for the past 20 years—ever since that day the Americans took her family away from her forever.  For most of those years she had nothing but her hatred, until the day a man named Mahmoud Najidad asked her if she would like something else—revenge.   It was an easy question.

Saman collected her bag from the carousel.  Getting through customs was easy—just another American student returning home.   She headed toward the “Nothing To Declare” lane.  No, she had nothing to declare.  Everything she needed was already here, including her trainer and handler, Mahmoud.          

The customs agent was nice and he even smiled as he waved her through, which Saman found amusing.  For reasons Saman could never understand, Americans were always so friendly, just as Jennifer, her fellow exchange student in Seville, had been.  At least, that is, until Mahmoud’s agents kidnapped her.

My Thoughts On A Touch of Nerves:

This is both a thrilling and interesting book.  The plot is something that might happen.  The characters fit the story line.  The writing is good.  It is hard to put down.  What caught my attention the most was everything the different government agencies used to track the missing chemical weapons and the people who stole them.  This is a work of fiction but I had to wonder how much of that was fact.  All in all an exciting read that may scare you about the kind of threats that are out there and what could kill a lot of people.


D.C. Hampton holds an MA and PhD in Audiology from Columbia University and has been published extensively in the field. He has done graduate work in history and has always been interested in international relations. Though he has been extensively published in medical and trade publications, A Touch of Nerves is his first foray into fiction.

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