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Alex Hollick: Origins By Andrew Downs
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Genre/Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
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Alex Hollick: Origins By Andrew Downs
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Synopsis

A Federal Conspiracy. A Volatile Jar of Secrets. A Minefield of Consequences.

In 1985, a young field agent enters a dark underworld of the FBI, where he must participate in the cover-up of a fellow agent’s corruption while protecting the woman of his dreams from the consequences.

The Bloodbath Ritual begins a thriller series like nothing else in its genre!

Blood washes the streets of San Diego, phones are ringing in Washington D.C. and consequences await a young field agent. Alex Hollick prepares for the worst-case scenario, but nothing can prepare him for his future, which rides unsteadily on the outcome of the largest cover up in FBI history. Hollick walks a crooked line between two cases. One, a federally sponsored conspiracy, the other, a satanic double murder, and human life is the lowest common denominator. For Hollick, everything is on the line, life, love of country and the love of a beautiful woman. In a gritty tale, that twists murder-mystery, suspense and romance into one, The Bloodbath Ritual brings something new to the thriller genre!


Excerpt:

Escondido, CA

Friday May 24th, 1985 11:32 a.m.

Seventy-five degrees had never felt so hot to Hollick. Crouching in a sun-baked van with three FBI agents certainly didn’t help. Hollick wiped a continuous stream of perspiration from his forehead. He was trying to conceal his obvious anxiety from the rest of his robbery division team, Agents Joseph Velasquez, Travis Carnahan and Jennifer Fletcher. They were already on to him. Velasquez had been staring at him for nearly three minutes.

Hollick looked at Fletcher, his communications specialist. He had fallen in love with her and Carnahan already knew. Golden brown hair, tan skin and green eyes had served her well, but Hollick had hired her to help the team so that was that. He glanced at Carnahan, the alpha male Aryan, blue eyes, blonde hair and muscles. He and Hollick were once best friends and now they barely talked to each other.

He looked back at Velasquez. While the staring had initially irritated an already irritable Hollick, it was the best place to look given the choices. His team had been falling apart for half a year. Whether it was the unspoken attraction between Hollick and Fletcher, Carnahan’s dive into alcoholism or Joe’s frantic concern about the direction of the team, the end was coming. Someone was on their way out. Change was imminent.

There had already been many days that had changed Hollick’s life in the last two years; the day he recruited Fletcher, the day he had been shot, the day his division became number one in the entire bureau and the day they fell back to second best. His team had never reclaimed their glory. They fell from second to third and then third to fourth, before resting in the fifth slot behind St. Louis. Hollick had an opportunity to change that today.

Today would be the final chance to close an investigation, a case that Carnahan had wanted off for months. He had requested the day off. He was growing weary of an investigation plagued with problems. Conversely, Hollick had become obsessed with the case, further straining their friendship. Carnahan watched the street from the back window. He set down his binoculars, looked at his watch and said, “F**k! I have to be back in L.A. in three hours!”

“Is Cathy shortening your leash again?” asked Velasquez.

“She’s got a showing in Glendale. She’s a wannabe real estate agent.”

Fletcher took her headphones off and chimed in, “What’s the matter, Carnie, you scared of a little competition?”

“Har har har, you’re her best friend, why don’t you talk some sense into her?” “Why don’t you try supporting your wife?” asked Fletcher.

“Why don’t you blow me, Fletch?”

“You know, I’ll think about it, Carnie, but you’re gonna have to give me those binoculars so I can find it first.”

“Children, this is an FBI sting operation,” said Hollick, intervening with a tone of irritation.

“Yeah and when San Diego finds out we’re down here, it’s gonna be your ass, Al. Why don’t we just go home? These guys aren’t gonna show,” said Carnahan.

“You’re a real f***ing optimist, aren’t you? We had a deal. If you want the lead on Pomona, we do this first. Now watch the f***ing street, Agent Carnahan,” replied Hollick.

Fletcher and Carnahan stared at Hollick. Fletcher’s jaw had dropped, “What’s with the attitude, Hollick? Don’t talk to him like that,” she said.

“I apologize, Carnie, but you’re my eyes and she’s my ears,” said Hollick, “Now get back to work, pretty please with sugar on top,” he added.

Fletcher nodded and put her headphones back on. Carnahan faced the window and put his binoculars back to his eyes. He started humming and singing, “867-5309/Jenny,” by Tommy Tutone. He was teasing Fletcher, just as he had done six months ago at the FBI L.A. Christmas Party. Fletcher looked up at Carnahan, removed her headphones and took a deep breath, “Carnie, could you please stop? You’re distracting me, Honey,” she said.

“Sorry, Fletch,” said Carnahan, as he continued to stare out the window.

“It’s okay,” she replied smiling. She put her headphones back on and continued to listen to the scanner. Then Carnie began to hum and sing the same song again. Fletcher looked at Hollick and then at Carnahan,

“Carnie, please, I’m trying to focus,” she said in a polite but assertive voice. He ignored her, but Hollick had had enough.

“Damn it, Carnie. You’re f***ing up our operation. If you want to act like an asshole, do it on your own time, not ours!”

“Whatever you say, Al,” said Carnahan, without turning around. Fletcher looked down. She could sense the divide for months and it bothered her. She put her headphones back on and listened intently to the scanner. Velasquez turned to Hollick.

“What’s the matter, you don’t seem like yourself?” “It’s nothing, I’m fine,” replied Hollick.

“This is our last chance, isn’t it?” he asked, without taking his eyes off Hollick. He nodded as Fletcher looked to him for confirmation.

“I’m sorry. I lied to you guys yesterday,” said Hollick looking down. “Wait, Novak doesn’t even know we’re down here?” asked Velasquez.

“No, he knows we’re down here, but San Diego doesn’t have a clue and we don’t have official authorization. Technically, we’re breaking the rules.”

“You told us that yesterday, but you didn’t tell us we only had one day,” said Fletcher.

“Well now you know. Everything’s riding on today. If we don’t catch these guys here and now, John hands the ball to San Diego FBI and the locals and on Monday, we’re going to be put on this new thing developing in Pomona.”

“That’s bullshit. This is all we’ve done for the last six months and we’re just going to give it away?” asked Fletcher.

“Yeah, Fletch, because that’s what you do according to John. You just hand all of your hard work over to the locals when your case crawls a few miles out of jurisdiction, it’s a real strategy for success,” said Hollick with sarcasm and bitterness in his voice.

“Speaking of locals, there’s a black and white outside. Are they here to pick up the case files, Al?” asked Carnahan. He was smirking, still sporting his pair of binoculars. Hollick quickly jumped up, grabbing the binoculars from Carnahan’s neck and almost choking him in the process. A black and white had rolled up in front of the target, the target that Hollick believed would be the next in a string of armored car robberies