I was reminded of this when I saw the title of SciFi / fantasy book from 80s about Jesus, present-day New York, time travel and the Dead Sea scrolls, but somewhere in the early 2000s, while I was working as a bank teller in Ashland, KY, one of my co-workers gave me a book they read, thinking I'd enjoy it as a religious programmer. It was in English and probably about 200 pages, paperback binding, but bigger than the usual paperback which fits in a cargo shorts pocket. It being almost two decades ago, my recall of it is slightly muddled, but the main character is, I think, a journalist.
Weirdly enough, I don't remember why he actually got involved in the plot, but I remember the main villain, who was clearly supposed to be a No Celebrities Were Harmed (TV Tropes term) version of Bill Gates, but with all of the names changed to avoid suggestions of libel. Said villain ran an OS company in Washington or Oregon that ran much of the world's computers. Publicly, his image was good, but there were a lot of odd stories of him randomly firing people, or employees dying mysteriously, and fragments of story from his perspective show that he's haunted by the death of a parent, I think his mother, and that some of the fired/disappeared employees had caught him in the midst of some sort of psychotic break, apologizing to no one about what he had done to his mother, or maybe had text files full of him typing that over and over again.
His plot involved a software patch that would let him take over much of the world's computers, maybe ushering in an apocalypse of some sort through either making the world's support systems crash or launching missiles. It's all a bit vague in my head, but I believe the villain was trying to destroy the world in expiation of his guilt.
The climax of the story winds up in Israel, Jerusalem specifically, I think. I remember there was a character who'd shown up a few times, a rabbi in Jerusalem who stood roadside on Saturdays at a main thoroughfare with a sign proclaiming that there was to be no driving on Shabbat (I want to say he was based off of a real-life case) who gets mowed down by the villain in his van when he enters Jerusalem. Somehow, the solution to this computer plot is tied into the Dead Sea Scrolls, with the protagonists locating a heretofore missing scroll and that somehow foiling the plan.
The only other fragments I remember:
- The villain carried a mobile phone with the capabilities of what we consider normal in a smartphone, including a situation where he demonstrated a "fun feature" where he took a statement from a security guard and had his phone play back a different message in the guard's voice by rearranging the voice pattern.
- The cover was a dark color, I think dark blue or black, with a golden floppy diskette on my copy.
- The journalist was accompanied by a female who was with him during the trip to Israel.
- One of the fired employees was a housekeeper or janitor who I think had been with the software company since it's start, which made the firing and subsequent suicide all the more strange.