Head Shot by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									Head Shot
24 Declassified

Author: David Jacobs

In less than twenty-four hours, in a palatial hideaway in the mountains of Colorado, a group of America's
most powerful industrialists will be gathering for their annual summit. The bizarre disappearance of all the
members of a local crackpot cult — and of two ATF agents assigned to keep an eye on them — may
have no connection whatsoever to the impending high-powered conference. But with so many corporate
titans grouped together in one location, CTU can't afford to take chances.Sent to investigate, Jack Bauer
is immediately plunged into a maelstrom of treachery, terror, and slaughter as he uncovers clues to a
devastating conspiracy that could leave America's most essential institutions in ruins. And now the rogue
CTU operative has only hours to prevent the unthinkable — before the relentlessly approaching storm of
blood and fire rocks his nation to its foundations.

The following takes place between the hours of 3 A.M. and 4 A.M. Mountain Daylight TimeRed Notch,
ColoradoThe Zealot compound's front gate was chained, padlocked, and wrapped with the police's yellow-
and-black Police: Do Not Enter tape.The Toyota pickup truck that had driven Jack Bauer here from
Denver stood idling about twenty feet from the gate, facing it with its headlights on. Jack said, "The police
didn't leave any guards behind?"Frank Neal said, "Why guard the henhouse when the chickens have
already flown the coop?"Jack countered one old saw with another. "Why not? They locked the barn door
after the horses were stolen."Neal made a sound that was half snort, half chuckle. Then he got serious.
"The forensics teams have already come and gone. Local law enforcement's already shorthanded on
account of Sky Mount and don't have any men to spare to station out here in hopes that Prewitt and his
strayed lambs will come straggling home. That goes for us, too." By "us" he meant CTU/DENV, the outfit
to which he was assigned.Jack pointed out, "You're here."Neal said, "Thanks to you." It was not an
expression of gratitude. "You're the one who wanted to see the compound as soon as possible. Besides,
I'm the in-house expert on Prewitt and his cult, if only by default. Lucky me. Who needs sleep?""Sorry to
pull you out of bed at this hour. Thanks."Neal made a dismissive gesture with his hand. "The boss says
cooperate, so I'm cooperating." His boss was Orlando Garcia, head of CTU's divisional headquarters in
Colorado covering the state's Rocky Mountain corridor. "I was up anyway. This whole business has got
everybody working overtime. Sure stirred up a hornet's nest."He reached into a side pocket of the red-
and-black-checked jacket he was wearing, fishing out a key ring. "I've got the keys from Taggart, one of
the state cops working the case." Neal cut a sidelong glance at Jack. "He thought it was a waste of time
to go poking around here in the dead of night, but he's cooperating, too."Jack said, "What do you
think?"Neal said, "I think I better go unlock the gate." He got out of the cab on the driver's side.Jack had
his own opinion on the subject. He was only recently arrived in the state and wanted to see the
compound for himself at the first possible opportunity and this was it. He wanted to get a feel for the site
and the terrain, and there was no substitute for firsthand knowledge. Call it the hunter's instinct, the need
to physically experience the stalking ground.Prewitt and his Zealot leadership cadre, an inner circle
numbering more than two dozen men and women, had pulled their disappearing act at approximately this
time last night. They hadn't gone alone. Two agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
who'd been keeping the site under surveillance had vanished at the same time.Either set of
disappearances, that of the cultists or of the ATF agents, would have set off alarms among officialdom,
especially in light of the heightened security attendant on the Sky Mount Round Table conference set to
convene later on Friday, this day. Not far from here, more than two hundred of the richest and most
powerful individuals in America, if not the world, were already gathering to meet in conclave from Friday
through Sunday.The vanishment of both the Zealots and the agents had thrown a shock wave into the
array of law enforcement and national security personnel assigned to protect the three-day
conference.Jack climbed out of the passenger side, glad for the chance to stretch his legs after the
Author Bio
David Jacobs
David Jacobs is the author of over three dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, including most recently, the
nonfiction titles The Mafia’s Greatest Hits and Snakes on a Plane: The Complete Quote Book. Other
nonfiction titles include Notes from The Barn, the companion volume to The Shield TV series; Best of
Court TV Volumes I-IV; and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the FBI. His fiction includes the military thriller
Return of the Dog Team and the western Big Iron. David is a longtime member of the Mystery Writers of

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