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The Hoax

Bored accountant, Joey Duvaine, needed a career change. World domination seemed like a fun gig.

Allowing himself to become a puppet in his genius friend’s religious con, Joey plays his part in a fraudulent miracle devised by a private special effects team. As the media and the public are divided on whether he’s a modern prophet or a clever scam artist, an FBI agent becomes interested in Joey’s financial transactions, possible terrorist motives, and the overnight popularity of his new cult.

But the agent’s investigation leads him down a path he’s unprepared for, as Joey’s benefactors have barbarous motives beyond the smokescreen of the hoax, and for them, humanity is merely a disguise.

New Revised Edition!

Book 1 of the Hoax series

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Adrienne Jones

Adrienne Jones is author of the books Brine, Gypsies Stole my Tequila, The Hoax, and editor of the collection Grimm and Grimmer. She spent early life in the Boston area, where her parents fed her an endless menu of mystery novels to keep her quiet. Ultimately moving to Vermont, she ate cheese, tried to ski and fell down a lot, but remained in the Green Mountain State until earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. Thereafter she trekked back down to the flatlands where she worked various jobs as a journalist, film maker, office-grunt and copywriter. She now lives in Rhode Island and writes full time.

Reviews

Adrienne Jones isn’t just trying to get the story out, she wants us to be a part of this world. I’m in awe at the scope of this thing. This is the kind of book writers aspire to.

SFReader.com

The Hoax didn’t give me anything I expected, which, when you’re a jaded old nag like me, is refreshing. It’s definitely a worthwhile read.

Alpha Girl -- Pink Raygun


Jones sets the stage for what could possibly be a franchise, pitting humanity against alien-like divinities in a struggle for a handhold on the destiny of the human race. With unforgettable characters and a plot that refuses to let up until the very end, THE HOAX is a surefire winner from the talented Adrienne Jones.

Ron Malfi, Author of SNOW

Adrienne Jones is a woman without fear. Her choice not to be restrained by genre conventions -- or even by genres themselves, leaping from one to another as it fits her story -- has resulted in some of the most fascinating fiction being produced today...

The Hoax is that rarity -- a book for everyone. Mystery/thriller fans will be thrilled by the suspenseful plot and keep guessing at twists and turns; horror hounds will take to the more brutal scenes; lovers of fantasy and mythology will enjoy the stunning discoveries; and mainstream literary aficionados can delve deeply into the characters, their relationships, and their motivations.

epinions.com

Adrienne Jones is a gifted author. Her style is superb. I enjoyed this book and found it difficult to put down. The cover hints at what is inside. I recommend this book for science fiction lovers as well as fantasy. Interesting story Ms. Jones.

Debra Gaynor -- Reader Views


This novel excels on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. The story is well crafted, compelling, meaningful, and even inspiring. It will keep you guessing right up to the end. No matter what your taste in fiction, read this book. You will not be disappointed.

Gary K. Wolf, Creator of Roger Rabbit
Excerpt

The blue and white striped shirt made Patrick look like a sailor on steroids, so he took it off. He stood in front of the mirror trying to decide on an outfit, telling himself that a real man wouldn’t fret about what to wear on a date. He snatched up a black ribbed shirt from his dresser drawer and pulled it over his head. It accentuated his large shoulders, well-muscled chest, and smaller waist. It made his body look great. Perhaps too much so. He didn’t want Kelinda to think he was narcissistically showing off his physique. He frowned at his reflection and tore the black shirt off, tossing it onto the growing pile of clothes on the floor.

He was about to dump the entire drawer onto the bed when the telephone rang. He ran shirtless into the kitchen, his insecurities assuring him that it was Kelinda calling to cancel the date. It was not Kelinda on the phone, however. It was Shep, and he sounded hysterical.

“Patrick, it’s Shep. You’ve got to help me.”

Patrick stiffened. Shep and Joey always referred to him as ‘Obrien’. Only when something was horribly amiss did they use the name ‘Patrick’. For instance, ‘Patrick, Joey’s mother died,’ ‘Patrick, Joey’s brother died,’ ‘Patrick, Joey’s father died,’ and so on. His hand tightened on the phone as he wondered just who the hell could be dead now. There wasn’t anyone left. “Shepherd? What’s wrong?”

“It’s Joey. He took off. I wanted to stage the miracle, and he told me he didn’t want to do it anymore. I started screaming at him, Obrien. I said awful things, and now…” Shep paused, taking a long breath.

So Joey had kept his word. Patrick was relieved, and more than a little surprised. He knew how hard it was to say no to Shep. “Calm down, Shep. Just tell me what happened.”

“You were right, Patrick. Joey’s still too vulnerable for the shit I was laying on him. He flipped out. He said he was going to be with his family and not to bother looking for him.”

“Going to be with his family? His family’s dead, Shep.”

“I know his fucking family’s dead! I’m just telling you what he said!”

Patrick had to pull the phone away from his head to avoid an eardrum puncture from Shep’s voice. His heart thudded, prepping for panic. “Shep, you’re not saying he’s going to do something stupid, are you? You don’t think he meant suicide?”

He heard sniffing sounds, like Shep might be crying. “I’m not sure. I went to his apartment but he’s not there. I’m freaked, Obrien. I don’t know what to do.”

Patrick’s mind churned, then an idea surfaced. “Wait a minute. Going to see his family? Maybe he meant he was going down to the cemetery.”

Shep sniffed. “I never thought of that. Do you think that’s where he went?”

“I’ll tell you what,” Patrick said. “I’m closer to the Lady of Grace cemetery, so I’ll take a ride down there. You don’t sound too calm right now, so you stay put. I’ll take my phone with me. Call me if you hear from him first.”

“Okay. Thanks, Obrien.”

After pulling on a dingy gray tee shirt, he called Kelinda and explained the situation to her. He was thankful that Kelinda knew Joey. Any other girl wouldn’t have bought the old ‘My friend is really upset and I have to go save him’ excuse. He promised to call her later with an update on the ongoing saga of Joey losing his mind.

The sun had set, but the sky maintained a dampened twilight. Patrick tugged on the cemetery gates and found them locked. Determining that the semi-darkness was on his side, he glanced around, then hoisted himself up over the gate, landing with a thud on the gravel path inside. There was an instant where he pondered the spookiness of being in a graveyard after dark, but he brushed the thought away. It was corpses he was afraid of, not tombstones. As long as the bodies were covered with six feet of dirt and a big rock, he was okay.

He walked blindly through the rows of stones, letting his eyes adjust to the falling night. He was disoriented and having trouble locating the Duvaine grave, which was pathetic since he’d been to it three times in under a year. Using Saint Mary’s church next door as a landmark, he faced the road and got his bearings, then headed down an aisle that felt familiar.

Cursing himself for not bringing a flashlight, he dropped to one knee and used a lighter to read one of the headstones. It was not the Duvaine grave, and the lighter’s flame started to burn his thumb. Then something caught his eye in the next row over, a splash of red at the base of a stone. He scrambled over and picked up Joey’s red windbreaker, left lying at the head of the Duvaine grave. Decaying flowers littered the grass, and the scent of freshly dug earth lingered in the cool air.

Patrick unzipped the front pocket and found Joey’s keys and his wallet. He’d been there. He had to still be there somewhere. “Joey!” he called out, but only crickets answered. He replaced the wallet and keys, and ran down the aisle of stones with Joey’s red jacket in hand.

“Joey! This isn’t funny. Call out if you hear me!”

He took the jacket and headed for the gate, intending to search the nearby road for Joey’s car. As he swung his body over the top of the gate, he caught sight of something on top of Saint Mary’s church next door. It was Joey. He was sitting on the edge of the roof with his legs dangling over. Patrick gasped and landed off balance on the other side of the fence. “Holy shit!”

He broke into a sprint. The new moon cast a soft glow on Joey’s silhouette. As he reached the church lawn, he saw a small huddle of spectators. They craned their necks upward at the madman on the roof. “Is he going to jump?” he heard one of them say. The words sent Patrick into an adrenaline-driven frenzy, and he raced for the front doors.

“Don’t move, Joey!” he screamed. “I’m coming to get you!”

Joey didn’t seem to hear him. His head hung limp on his neck. Only his feet moved, dangling gently in the open air. Patrick tried the front doors and found them locked. He ran to check the other doors, guessing that Joey had gotten up there from somewhere inside the church. The side doors were locked as well, so he moved around to the rear of the building. He tugged on the locked back door, growling in frustration. Behind him was a tiny house connected to the church by an awning, but its windows were dark and lifeless. Patrick ran back and pounded on the little door anyway. “Help me!” he yelled. “I need to get inside the church!”

Getting no response, he ran back around front to make sure Joey hadn’t gone plummeting to his death. Joey hadn’t moved, but the crowd on the lawn was gaining in size. Patrick examined the front of the building, where statues of angels and saints and olive leaves interrupted the thick gray stones. The decorative architecture stretched upward to the roof, where a band of cherubs blew horns across the front ledge. Patrick grabbed onto an olive branch and began to climb.

He stepped on the cherubs’ heads, clung to their horns, pulling himself upward toward the waiting rooftop. He said a prayer that the flimsy architecture would be good enough to hold his weight. The voices of the crowd below escalated, thrilled anew by Patrick’s daring climb. He was barely aware of them. His only focus was on saving Joey. He felt no fear, which was odd since he was usually terrified of heights.

Finally reaching the top, he rolled himself onto the roof, thankful that it wasn’t a slant. Joey sat on the ledge a few yards away, gazing trance-like at the ground below. “Joey?” he said softly, wary of startling him. Joey didn’t move. Patrick hunched down on all fours and crawled toward him, figuring he could sneak up behind and pull him to safety. He’d worry about Joey’s mental state later. It was his physical state that was in danger at the moment.

A flash of white light exploded onto the roof, momentarily blinding him. Patrick’s first thought was that it must be a spotlight from a police helicopter. But no sound accompanied the brightness. He shielded his eyes and tried to focus. When his vision cleared, he saw Joey standing safely inside the ledge, one arm thrown somewhat dramatically over his eyes. The light was concentrated in a beam at the corner of the ledge, and there was something visible within the beam. To his horror, Patrick realized what he was seeing.

There was a woman in that beam of light, three-dimensional yet transparent. Light shot out of her as if she’d swallowed the sun. The flowing gown and veil disappeared into a shimmering haze at her waist. And her face. Her sweet face was Kelinda’s. It was Shep’s miracle, projected onto the rooftop somehow. “Son of a bitch!” Patrick gaped at the luminous being. Then the apparition was gone, disappeared, as though it had never been. He heard a unified “ooh!” from the crowd below. Joey collapsed onto the rooftop.