The Nutcracker Conspiracy

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin. Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.
Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.
“She was number twelve,” Dean says. “Twelve?” Murphy asks.
“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”
Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy: “13”