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The Fraud It was a mystery, even for a group of interns who work for a mystery writer.

There it was, national release day for THE FRAUD, the sixth Carter Ross thriller—an all-hands-on-deck affair at the officers of And Zach, the silly intern, was nowhere to be found.

"Did you try his cell?" asked Sarah, the smart intern.

"Three times," said Maggie, the clueless intern.

"Maybe he's purposefully oversleeping," said Peter, the slothful intern. Then, under his breath, he added, "Not that I'd know anything about that."

"I don't think he'd—"

Just then Zach burst through the front door, his clothes disheveled, his eyes deeply sunken.

"I've finally figured it out!" Zach exclaimed. "The launch party!"

"What about it?" Sarah asked, not needing to be told that Brad is launching THE FRAUD along with fellow former Star-Ledger colleague Wallace Stroby's THE DEVIL'S SHARE, at Moonstone Mystery Books in Flemington, N.J. on Wednesday night.

"Fate," Zach said earnestly. "It is fated to be absolutely, positively the most hugest thing ever. It's been sewn into the fabric of the universe!"

"What are you—"

"I can't believe it took me so long to figure it out," Zach said, pacing manically back and forth. "I mean, it was there in front of me, all along, just begging to be discovered. The patterns! The implications!"

"Zach, are you going to start making sense anytime soon?" Sarah asked.

Zach walked over to the dry erase board and picked up a Sharpie. "Check it out. This is Brad's sixth book, am I right?"

Zach scrawled the number 6 on the board.

"And it's being released today, the seventh day of the seventh month," he continued. "Expressed numerically, that's..."

He wrote 77.

"Are you seeing it yet?"

No one answered.

"Okay, extend the pattern with me. What comes next?"

He wrote 888.

"Zach, how much caffeine have you been drinking?" Peter asked.

"Oh, I had six Five-Hour Energy drinks four hours ago, so I'm good for at least another"—he paused to count on his fingers—"three years! Anyhow, where was I? Ah, yes."

He wrote 9999.

"Now, this is where it starts to get interesting," Zach lectured. "As we all know, 9999 is the last possible line number in the computer programming language BASIC. And, of course, BASIC was developed by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz at, wait for it... Dartmouth College."

"Yeah? So?" asked Sarah.

"Isn't it obvious? Brad went to Dartmouth! It's a sign from the universe! Now it gets even better."

He wrote 1010101010.

"From here, it's pretty simple. The binary 1010101010 expressed in decimal form is the number 682. A straightforward exercising of the Google algorithm reveals that Cracker Barrel Store Number 682 is in Hartselle, Alabama. A trip advisor user named Debbie S states she eats there with her husband on a weekly basis, but don't be distracted by that. That's just a red herring. The real takeaway is that Hartselle is the second largest city in Morgan County, which is named after Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan."

Zach doubled over in laughter for a moment and came up clutching his hair. "Do I even have to say the rest? Daniel Morgan was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. And what is the seat of Hunterdon County? It's Flemington! The home of Moonstone Mystery Books. Ipso facto, Brad's launch party is going to be bigger than the Beatles."

Then he ran out of the office, screaming.

That left the rest of the interns to remind you that, yes, THE FRAUD is now available wherever books are sold. The reviews have been typically stellar. And Brad is all packed and ready for the Fifty Shades of Khaki Tour, which includes stops from sea to shining sea (quite literally: there are appearances from New Hampshire to California).

For anyone who really needs some Brad Time, he will be Guest of Honor at the Deadly Ink Mystery Conference in New Brunswick, N.J. from August 7-9—which means you could spend a whole weekend palling around with a Shamus, Nero and Lefty Award winning author. (Which would surely make you the envy of the office water cooler crowd come Monday morning).

As always, Brad is looking forward to seeing his friends on the road. And he hopes you enjoy reading THE FRAUD as much as he enjoyed writing it.

In the meantime, if anyone sees Zach, please send him back to the offices of The interns have a nice, cozy white jacket for him.

To Infinity and Beyond,
The Interns

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