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Tournament - Alex Cross vs. Azazel


JohnnyChany
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Alex Cross sat at a booth in his favorite diner in Washington DC with a mixture of intrigue and uneasiness in his heart. He was approached by a waitress.

“Is there anything I can get you, sweetie?” she asked.

“No, not right now, thank you. I am meeting someone.”

“Ok then, I’ll check on you later.”

Alex was scheduled to meet with a NYPD detective by the name of Amelia Donaghy. She had told him it was an urgent matter over the phone, but would not elaborate. Cross wondered how a police officer from New York had obtained his number, and why she was willing to travel all the way to DC just to talk to him. She had an exemplary record, and Cross had no reason to distrust her motives. Yet, life experiences had taught him to be wary of everyone, even cops.

Alex Cross’s internal pondering was interrupted by the arrival of Detective Donaghy. She was a pretty woman with short, dark hair. She wore a polite smile, but there was fatigue in her eyes.

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“It’s so nice to finally meet you, Dr. Cross,” she said.

“I am flattered, if a little perplexed you felt the need to track me down,” Alex admitted.

“I’ve read up on a lot of your cases. The Casanova case, in particular, is really fascinating and Lincoln always had great things to say about you. It’s nice to put a face to the name,” said Amelia.

“Lincoln?”

“Lincoln Rhyme,” Amelia answered.

Things started to click in Alex’s head. “So that’s how you got my number.”

“I met Lincoln a few years ago when I was still just a  regular officer, and we have grown quite close,” Amelia explained.

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Alex chuckled. “I haven’t talked to Lincoln in years. We used to meet up at a lot of national functions. Being lawmen and writers who were obsessed with finding answers and a good story, guess you could call us two peas in a pod.”


“He says you're the best forensic psychologist he has ever met,” stated Amelia. “And you know him, he doesn’t compliment anyone.”

“Yeah..” Alex’s smile faded. “I should have reached out more after his accident. I heard he..”

Amelia interrupted him. “He is doing much better now. He’s in a wheelchair these days. He hasn’t been confined to a bed in years.”

“That’s good to hear.” Alex put his elbows on the table and clasped his hands together. “So, Detective Donaghy I suspect you didn’t come all this way just to give me an update on Lincoln Rhyme.”

Amelia pulled out a manilla envelope and placed it in front of Alex. “I’ve got a case that is really throwing me for a loop.”

Alex pulled crime scene photos out from the envelope and went over them one by one. “Some grizzly stuff, but not totally uncommon for our line of wo…” Alex paused as he reached a section of photos depicting various walls adorned with names and phrases written in blood.

“The killer loves to leave vague clues at all the crime scenes,” stated Amelia.

“Lincoln lives for these kinds of things, he must have eaten this stuff up.”

“We cracked them together,” Amelia clarified. “It led us to a name, Detective John Hobbes. He was a police officer in Philadelphia. He died four years ago under mysterious circumstances. He had gained some national fame for helping capture the serial killer, Edgar Reese. You can see some of Reese’s handiwork in that file as well. You’ll notice it looks eerily similar to the killer running roughshod in New York right now, right down to the half eaten bowl of cereal placed neatly by the cereal box.”

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“So you’ve got a copycat killer now? You think he or she is the one who killed this Detective Hobbes?” Alex wondered.

“If only it were that simple. After Reese was executed, a copycat killer popped up in Philadelphia shortly thereafter. At some point, Hobbes’s fingerprints were found at one of the crime scenes. There were also conflicting reports on whether Hobbs had killed a teacher in the middle of the street in cold blood. It seems like he snapped. He was going to be brought in for questioning, but he was found dead at an old cabin in the woods. His police chief and partner were found there with bullets in their heads, and Hobbs himself was dead from smoking cigarettes laced with poison. The same lethal poison injected into his brother the previous day.”

Alex Cross massaged his temples as he tried to wrap his head around the cascade of information just dumped on him.

“The deeper I dig, the more confusing it gets. The cabin where Hobbs was found belonged to another cop named Milano. Milano had also taken his own life at that cabin years prior after being suspected of committing several murders with satanic undertones. It is a never ending cycle of violence and tragedy and it’s heartbreaking,” said Amelia.

Alex leaned in. “I would say that your current killer could just be fascinated by this cop’s story and just wants to bring attention to it while he has a platform, but that wouldn’t explain how he would know the exact way Reese killed his victims. Unless your killer is…”

Amelia interrupted again. “Another cop.”

Alex leaned back into his booth. “It appears to me that you have already considered all these angles. So what exactly is it you want from me?”

“I want, no I need your help as an active participant in this case. No one understands the criminal mind like you do,” Amelia declared. “If I am going to have even the slightest chance catching this perp then I need to know what they are thinking,”

Alex regarded Amelia for a moment. “Lincoln isn’t helping you anymore, is he? That’s why you sought me out.”

Amelia confirmed this assertion by shaking her head. “He has given me a dozen excuses, but I know what the real reason is.” Amelia grabbed a photo out of her jacket pocket and laid it on the table. “This is Detective John Hobbs.”

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Alex Cross stared at a photo of what could have very well have been the twin brother of Lincoln Rhyme. He was silent for a moment.

“I can understand how seeing something like this could very well give a person even as smart as Lincoln doppelganger syndrome. And knowing the tragic fate of this cop can’t help matters,” Alex reasoned.

“I don’t blame him for being freaked out, but that is why I need your help. We have to stop this person before they kill again,” Amelia insisted.

The fate of every cop even tangentially related to this case weighed heavy on Alex’s mind. “Can I have some time?”

“Of course, I know it’s a lot to digest.” Amelia slipped a card to Alex. “This is the number of where I am staying here in DC. I leave back to New York tomorrow. I hope that you’ll join me.”

Amelia stood up. ‘I meant what I said earlier, it is nice to finally meet you. I wish it could have been under different circumstances.”

“You and me both.”

Amelia walked out of the diner and the waitress returned to Alex.

“You two didn’t order anything, but did you find what you were looking for?” she asked.

“I’m not sure yet,” Alex replied.

“Well I’ll be around if you need anything. All you have to do is holler,” said the waitress.

She walked over to an adjacent table, wiped it down, and started to sing. “Time is on my side! Yes it is!”

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I have not seen any of the movies, so I did not get any of the references but that's ok! It's totally intriguing just as a murder mystery and reads perfectly well.  I was into it.

That said, it was pretty clear something was freaky-deaky with the case, so I had to go read up on Azazel.  Wow.  I would say Alex Cross' chances here seem slim.  He's definitely is in for a major challenge.

This Azazel would be a challenge for Constantine.

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On 10/16/2020 at 10:47 PM, JohnnyChany said:

MOVIE REFERENCES FOR THIS STORY:

KISS THE GIRLS  (1997)

FALLEN  (1998)

THE BONE COLLECTOR  (1999)

ALONG CAME A SPIDER  (2001)

Hah! I've seen all of these films! :D Denzel Washington did indeed play both John Hobbs and Lincoln Rhyme. The character Alex Cross and his stories were written by James Patterson, with Morgan Freeman playing Cross in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. 

On a side note, Tyler Perry would later play a younger Alex Cross in the eponymous film, and I found it kind of hilarious that, in one scene, a strapping, 6'4" dude would struggle in a scuffle with another dude about half his size. I could see a scrawny, withered Freeman having trouble here, but an early-middle aged Tyler Perry?

But I digress. Great tourney entry, Johnny. It's kind of seamless the way you blended aspects of all three storylines mostly within the dialogue. I think Cross is smarter than Hobbs (and so is Rhyme, for that matter) and would figure out Azazel's deal sooner than Hobbs did, but without spoiling Fallen, I can say that even Cross is probably going to struggle with how to actually handle Azazel himself.

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Match Final Results

Member Ratings:
CBUB Match Judge : 4 Stars x 2
CBUB Match Judge : 4 Stars x 2
CBUB Match Judge : 3 Stars x 2
CBUB Match Judge : 5 Stars x 2

FPA Calculation:
2 + 4 + 2 + 0 + 0 = 8 Total Votes
( (2 * 5) + (4 * 4) + (2 * 3) + (0 * 2) + (0 * 1) ) = 32 Total Stars Score
32 / 8 = 4.00 Total Rating

MATCH SCORE
Alex Cross: 2
Azazel: 4

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