It seems like Officer Impotent managed to do what he was told. The Funeral procession has been stopped and searched. “Virtually” all the mourners are elderly and scared of the gun toting people. They also don’t find anyone who’s obviously a kinapper—like the guy wearing a “I kidnapped a presidential candidate and all I got was the lousy t-shirt!”—among them. Nor do they find Bruno’s unconscious/dead body hidden in the coffin or elsewhere. Still, they send everyone back to the funeral home
Rent–a–Cop Simmons approached a Secret Service agent who was climbing into his sedan to lead the caravan back to the funeral home. “What next, sir?”
Can I stop you there, Baldacci? What kind of funeral home is this that has rented security? One minute the mortician is telling us they don’t have serious crime like in a “big city”, the next they’re paying a guy to parade around in a paramilitary uniform? Maybe his idea of serious crime differs from mine. ‘We don’t have serious crime.’ ‘Then why the hell do you have a guard?’ ‘Well, sometimes the kids get up to stuff.’ ‘Stuff?’ ‘Yeah. Toilet papering the place, egging the windows, breaking in and molesting great Aunt Glady’s. Kid stuff.’
Michelle tells him to watch the road, stop anyone leaving and check the credentials of anyone coming in. She doesn’t tell him what to do or what credentials that are acceptable. ‘Hmm, Bradley’s Northeastern Refrigeration School, that’s all I needed to see, sir. Go ahead and poke around the crime scene, maybe take home some evidence as a souvenir.’
Simmons says that this is really big, isn’t it and Michelle says it’s the biggest thing that will ever happen in his life. Wow, way to endear yourself there, Michelle. What if that poor security guard moves on to bigger and better things? What if he joins the Secret Service one day and ends up protecting the president?
One of the other agents offers to “stay with the kid” because it’s best to stay away from Michelle right now. Because someone has to convince us that she’s dangerous and it sure as hell won’t be the author. Simmons says he knows they can’t tell him what happened but that it was big. The agent says he’s right and they can’t tell him. Then Simmons says that if he was trying to get someone out of there, he would cart them off down a dirt road that’s hidden in the back.
It’s a good thing that Simmons knew what happened without having to be told r they could have spent the next couple of hours getting nowhere.
The agent is incredibly interested in this fact until his chest suddenly explodes and he falls over dead. Simmons looks behind and there’s a woman taking a suppressor off her gun. She was hidden in the floor of the security van which they parked to keep people out. Simmons is evil and part of the kidnapping as is the mystery woman.
Why is she taking the suppressor off of her gun? I may not be a tactical genius or anything but it seems to me that a silenced weapon is handier to have at your disposal than a regular gun. I mean, if they run into someone who’s an obstacle, they could shot them and draw less attention. They hide the body and drive into a barn.
Then we get a long sequence where we find out that Simmons is just a disguise and that the woman, who’s normally a blonde, was playing the widow. They change outfits, dump Bruno into a toolbox and drive off in a truck. Then the whittlin’ old man meets them down the road, thinking that it’s begun and smiles.
We jump over to Sean now who’s busy getting out of his car and going into his single family cabin which is, apparently, more than plenty for one person. He goes inside and begins brewing coffee while we learn that he built the place over a four year period. This is all very interesting, Baldacci. This is supposed to tell us that Sean is a blue collar man and therefore trustworthy.
Which is ultimately fine, I just don’t really care about his cabin. Just like I don’t care about him making coffee or what brand of underwear he prefers. But Bladacci thinks we need to know all this and so he dumps huge bits of info on us.
The interior was furnished with leather chairs and overstuffed couches, wooden tables, Oriental rugs, copper lighting fixtures, plain bookshelves filled with an eclectic assortment of volumes, oil and pastel paintings, mostly done by local artists, and other items one collects or inherits in the course of a lifetime. And at forty–four years old King had lived at least two lives thus far. He had no desire to reinvent himself yet again
King—I guess men go by their last names and women get first names in Baldacci’s world—goes upstairs and the narrator tells us how it’s organized. King gets in the shower and we learn about him having a thriving law practice and being a volunteer deputy once a week. So wait, he got his law degree, passed the bar and has a thriving practice eight years later? His own practice? Seems a bit quick if you ask me.
Oh and a funny point of interest, King is a lawyer and forty four years old? That’s how old Baldacci was when this came out and he too practiced law. That’s quite a coincidence. King seems to be glad because he’s not in a “cookie-cutter” community and married to his ex-wife. King then goes down to have his coffee and read the paper—remember those things?—and talks about the story of John Bruno getting kidnapped. Then he turns on the TV for some PlotNews.
He sat up and stared at the image of the woman on the TV standing near a group of folks at a podium. This was the Secret Service part of the story, King instantly sensed. He knew the breed well. The woman looked professional, calm, with a relaxed alertness so familiar to King. And something else was in her expression that he couldn’t quite read. There was belly fire, for all of them had some measure of that. Yet there was something more: subtle defiance perhaps?
It seems King has a bit of a raised throne for Michelle. We’re told how the USSS is probably parading her in front of the media to take the blame. Apparently they’re all a bunch of dicks who kick people forward to take falls for things which really aren’t their fault. Then they fill in her back story for us telling us how she was an academic who was also into sports. She wasn’t just into basketball, baseball and track. She also got a silver medal in women’s rowing. If Baldacci’s wife ever wants to know what he’s thinking about while fucking her with the lights off, she just needs to read this book.
The overall look was not that of a classic beauty, but Michelle was probably the girl who was always faster and smarter than all the boys. In high school she likely had every male gunning to be the first to steal her virginity. From the look of the woman, though, he doubted any had succeeded on anything other than Maxwell’s terms.
Yeah, nothing get’s high school boys more interested than the girl who’s training for Olympic rowing and studying in her free time. I pity all the cheerleaders who went to school with her. They already have a hard lot and then they have to compete with that. I bet if we went through her classmates we’d find half the girls killed themselves every year until Michelle left town. And no doubt half the liquor stores went out of business when she stopped throwing nightly parties.
King says that she may get to reinvent herself but she’ll never forget and knows from experience. Then he checks his watch—what? Not sharing the time with us, Baldacci?—and get’s ready for his “real job”. We’re told that, although it’s boring, King has had quite enough excitement in all his years. Lucky for King, his days of being in the middle of action is all over.