Excerpt: The Veritas Deception by Lynne Constantine
Title: The Veritas Deception
Author: Lynne Constantine
Purchasing link: http://amzn.to/2b5k5kY
About the book:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Days after U.S. Senator Malcolm Phillips changes his vote on a bill he sponsored, he is murdered and his death disguised as an accident. He contacted one man before he died: investigative journalist, Jack Logan. He left Jack a single clue to help him uncover the truth and keep Phillip’s widow, Taylor, safe. But safe from whom?
Jack and Taylor’s desperate hunt leads them to a vast network of corrupt authority controlling everything from social media and television programming to law enforcement and US legislation. The key to unraveling a complex web of lies is a set of ancient relics, dating back to the time of Christ. But what do these relics have to do with a senator’s death?
Allies turn to foes when Jack and Taylor discover that those closest to them are part of the conspiracy, and that they too have been manipulated. How long has a puppet master been pulling their strings—and will Jack and Taylor trust the right people long enough to win what becomes a colossal battle for souls?
Jack Logan had ditched his Catholic upbringing but kept the guilt. He hadn’t planned on blowing his entire afternoon listening to the woman he was interviewing talk about her dead daughter, but he didn’t have the heart to tell the grieving mother that he already had enough for the story. So instead, he bought her lunch and dinner, listening as she painted a picture of the girl she had loved and had failed to save. Now he was behind schedule and would have to work all night. Man, he hated the pieces involving kids. The parents got to him every time, and his attempts at comforting them were as effective as a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.
His phone was ringing as he approached the door to his apartment, and he jammed the key in the lock. Pushing the door open, he rushed over and snatched it, upsetting the bottle of Bass Ale and spilling the dregs on the table.
“Great.” He clicked the green button. “Yes?”
“Could you sound any more annoyed?” It was his editor.
“Sorry, Max. What’s up?” He sunk into the worn leather sofa and ran a hand through his hair.
“Tried your cell. Went right to voice mail.”
“I was interviewing one of the mothers.”
The sound of papers rustling came over the phone. “You already did your piece on the decision. What’s the angle on the follow-up?”
“The fall out, the casualties left in the wake of the decision to let the show go on.”
A sharp intake of breath. “You’re not saying they should have censored it?”
“No, no. Of course not. But their voices deserve to be heard.” This had been a particularly difficult assignment for him. He wasn’t much of a television watcher, but when the class action suit involving the production company behind Teenage Wasted reached the Supreme Court, he’d tuned in. At first it looked just like another of the ubiquitous reality shows jamming the airwaves—an eclectic group of teenagers allowing the cameras behind the scenes into their world. Within the first five minutes of the show, Jack had sat open-mouthed while a young man retrieved paraphernalia from under his bed, pulled up a porn site on his computer, and began doing what your average adolescent boy did behind closed doors. Cheap shock value but not much in the way of entertainment. It wasn’t until he put the noose around his neck that Jack’s shock turned to horror. So that was what erotic asphyxiation looked like up close and personal.
The blogosphere went nuts the following day, and YouTube videos of other kids demonstrating their own secret hobbies began to appear. When kids started turning up dead, that’s when it hit the fan. A class action suit was filed against Omega Inc., the entertainment giant responsible for the new show. The Supreme Court decision had been handed down a few weeks ago, and the parents were still in shock that they’d lost. The show went on—more popular than ever. Omega won under freedom of speech protection, which Jack couldn’t argue with, but still, what they were doing was disgusting—perverting the first amendment for their own profit. He was happy to do his part to help tarnish their reputation.
“All right, email it when you’re finished. You still coming tonight?” Max asked.
Jack grimaced. Sally Goldman’s retirement party. He had forgotten.
“Wish I could, but I’m too jammed up with this.” Sally was a great gal. He was sorry he’d have to miss it. He’d send her some flowers tomorrow.
He’d better get to it. He opened up his laptop and began to organize his notes. He was starving; he’d barely touched his dinner earlier. He picked up the phone to order a pizza when the doorbell rang. He made no move to answer it. Maybe if he ignored it, they’d go away. It rang a second, third, and fourth time. He slammed the phone down, jumped up and strode to the door, ready to tell whoever it was to beat it. The words died on his lips when he opened the door. Probably best not to piss off a United States senator.
From the first time he’d met Senator Malcolm Phillips, something about him struck Jack as off. He couldn’t put his finger on it exactly: the guy’s manners were impeccable, his background impressive. Phillips was perfect. A little too perfect. Everything about him was so well rehearsed that Jack could almost believe there was an invisible teleprompter feeding him his lines. What surprised Jack most was how Phillips’s wife, Taylor, failed to see he was all wrong for her. Of course, he kept this to himself. His opinion didn’t mean anything to Taylor anymore.
He opened the door, and Phillips walked in.
Going no farther than the hallway, he began. “I won’t waste time with pleasantries. I need your help.” His voice shook, and his face was ashen.
“What is it?”
“I scuttled the vote. It was supposed to be a good thing. But he added a gateway. He has to be stopped.”
“Whoa, what’s going on?”
He handed Jack an envelope as he spoke in an uncharacteristically nervous rush. “Take this. You’ll need it to convince Taylor. I didn’t believe it. He told me he would do it. I didn’t believe him but…they’ll kill me.”
This was insane. He hadn’t seen Phillips in years—and now here he was, rambling like a crazy person.
“What are you talking about? Slow down and tell me what’s going on,” Jack said.
“No time. You’re the only one I trust. You’ve got to find Jeremy. Get Taylor to him. They won’t hurt her now, but later…I was so stupid…”
Phillips was pacing now, and sweat had broken out on his forehead.
“Who’s Jeremy? You’re not making any sense,” Jack said.
“Go to Taylor and show it to her.” He pointed to the envelope. “It’s a sealed letter, so she’ll know it’s real. Get Taylor and take her to the cabin.”
How did he know about the cabin?
“I’m the last person Taylor wants to see. She’s not going to go anywhere with me.”
Phillips grabbed his arm.
“They own me. And Brody Hamilton too. You’ll see when they kill me. Then you’ll know.”
“When who kills you?”
Phillips backed away.
“Promise me, you’ll get her to Jeremy.” He handed Jack a remote control. “This will get you into the garage. I’ve taped our address to the bottom.” He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. “Remember, Jack, no matter what it looks like, I’m not suicidal nor prone to accidents.”
He was gone before a flabbergasted Jack could respond.
Jack shut the door, began to walk away, then turned back and engaged the extra deadbolt. His eyes narrowed as he looked around, half expecting a phantom to appear.
What was Phillips talking about? Did someone really want him dead—someone powerful enough to own two senators? His head began to pound, and he leaned forward to massage his temples. What had Phillips done? Maybe he was nuts, early onset dementia. Jack could only hope. And now he expected Jack to play the hero to Taylor? He wouldn’t blame her if she slammed the door in his face.
He would do some digging. Try and make sense of what had just landed in his lap. He threw the envelope on the table, opened his laptop, and set a Google alert for Senator Malcolm Phillips.
About the Author:
Lynne is a twitter addicted fiction writer always working on her next book. She is the coauthor of Learn More About CIRCLE DANCE on Amazon, a family saga spanning three generations, that received an endorsement from Olympia Dukakis. She is also a social media consultant and speaker, working with authors to build their brand platforms. Lynne teaches at various workshops and has spoken at the Thrillerfest conference in New York. She is a monthly contributor to SUSPENSE MAGAZINE, and a contributing editor to THE BIG THRILL magazine.