"Gritty" - THE HALO CONSPIRACY by Michael Murphy - Excerpt

"The Halo Conspiracy is a captivating and a fast-paced futuristic Sci-Fi adventure murder mystery read with twists and turns that kept me intrigued and guessing." —Nursebookie

The Halo Conspiracy by Michael Murphy

The Halo Conspiracy

In mid-twenty-first century, solving murders hasn’t become any easier. Cutting edge science has created more opportunities for crime than offered solutions.

A ruthless technology company threatens to reveal Project Halo, a scientific breakthrough that will change humanity forever. Layers of secrecy conceal cutting-edge robotics, artificial intelligence and even rumors of synthetic humans. Before scientists can correct flaws that threaten the program, someone or something murders the brains behind the project.

Michael Murphy’s witty fast-paced sci-fi mystery introduces Lucas Nash, a gritty, by the book homicide detective thrust into a world he always avoids, high tech. He sifts through a maze of suspects; Rachel, a spirited intern, a brute of a security chief, a treacherous woman, the murdered man’s partner, and two ambitious Army officers, one found dead in the arms of a married schoolteacher, and a Colonel who can’t be found.

A media starved religious leader warns the world against the evils of technology with his beautiful assistant, Lucas’s one-time flame. Before uncovering the killer’s identity, an unlikely romance threatens to derail the investigation and end Lucas’s career. With pressure mounting from his superiors and the government, Lucas must set aside his feelings and solve the murder before technology makes him and humanity the next victims.

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The Halo Conspiracy

Lucas wasn’t the best person to analyze artificial humans and prime directives. Still, technology wasn’t his greatest impediment to this case. He might have spent too much time with Rachel.

Maybe he grew too close to her in the short time they’d been together. It was more than a possibility he’d become emotionally attached. He could evaluate others, not himself. Was it possible he’d overlooked her involvement in Beltran’s death? He couldn’t wait for Freddy’s take.

As the elevation dropped, the trees turned into bushes and the mountains into hills. He made it to the top of a hill and skidded to a stop in the middle of the road.

A helicopter hovered four feet off the ground. This was different from the one earlier in the day, more modern and less noise. Through the windshield, he recognized Calvin Hawk sitting next to the pilot and a couple of others in the seat behind them.

They’d come after Rachel and thought she was in the SUV. They had no idea Freddy was at the cabin. His roadster had been parked inside the barn when the first chopper arrived.

Hawk grabbed a microphone and spoke through a loudspeaker. “By now, you probably realize Rachel is the proprietary property of Dakota Industries.” He held up a piece of paper. “This is a court order from a judge granting us sole custody. Let her go, and you can be on your way.”

How kind of him, Lucas thought. He doubted the validity of the document. Freddy and Rachel were perhaps thirty minutes outside of Green River. He needed to stall and buy them more time. “Beau, get down.”

The dog jumped off the back seat and laid behind Lucas. Rows of trees appeared on his right.

To his left, he spotted a rolling field of bushes and boulders behind a wire fence. He had to chance it. “Hold on, boy.”

Lucas hit the accelerator. He turned and crossed over the oncoming lane and bounced over the shoulder. He smashed through the wire and made it onto the grassy field. He reached back to make sure Beau was alright and weaved his way through the obstructions.

The helicopter rose and began to pursue.

Lucas didn’t intend to outrun a modern chopper, but he wanted to allow Freddy and Rachel time to reach the station. “Activate text messaging.”

As they made their way, he gripped the steering wheel as a question mark appeared on the screen. “To Lieutenant Clark. Being pursued by a Dakota Industries helicopter. Calvin Hawk is inside and claims they obtained a court order to release Rachel to their custody. She and Freddy are on their way to the station. End message. Send.”

He glanced back at Beau as the helicopter hovered overhead. The dog remained surprisingly calm.

Lucas headed for a patch of trees and stopped between two of them, the canopy hiding him from view, though they knew exactly where he was.

The chopper flew to the other side, and two thugs, Tom and Jerry, climbed out with semiautomatic rifles. He checked the time on the dashboard. The helicopter would never stop Freddy from reaching the city.

He shut off the motor and waited. He grabbed a bottle of water and took a long swallow.

The two men stood in front of the SUV, their rifles at their side. The weapons were something Lucas had never seen before.

Hawk spoke through the loudspeaker again. “Step out with your hands up.”

He reached back and patted Beau. “You stay here. I’ve got this.”

Lucas got out and closed the door. He approached the two men. When Hawk ordered him to stop, he halted. He cupped the back of his ear like he couldn’t hear over the din of the whirring chopper blades.

The helicopter landed, and the rotors began to slow. Hawk climbed from the front seat and held out his hand to someone in the back.

The woman took off her headphone and hat. Her gray hair billowed from the chopper’s downdraft.

Melody and Hawk approached Lucas. She defiantly showed him the piece of paper.

The judge’s order commanded the City of Green River to turn over any property belonging to Dakota Industries.

Lucas handed back the paper. “I can’t do that.” She cocked her head.

“Why not?” “Rachel’s not here.”

She signaled to Hawk, who hurried to Lucas’s SUV. When he looked inside, Beau began to bark. He turned to Melody and smiled.

She began to wheeze. When her face reddened, she grabbed an inhaler from her pocket and sucked in a deep breath. “Where’s Rachel?”

End of Excerpt

Excerpt Copyright © Michael Murphy

Meet the Author

Author Michael Murphy

When he is not writing genre bending novels, Arizona author Michael Murphy is busy raising their four adopted children, five rescue dogs, and a feral cat.

Follow Michael on Twitter and Amazon.


Genre: Sci-Fi

Type: Novel

Publication Date: April 15, 2021

Content Rating: Unknown

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