Split Second Chapter 30 & 31

Chapter 30

So I made a bit of a goof, last post. The woman hanging from Sean’s bathroom door isn’t his ex-wife. It’s the woman from earlier in the book, Susan. The more astute among you might recall that she’s the other one who was trying to get King to dip his wick. And being as she’s easy she had to die, because King lives in the same universe as Jason Vorhees.

The same police chief King reported to as deputy comes over and tells him that the time of death is five in the morning. They figure Susan must have been taken while she was out on a morning constitutional and stabbed elsewhere because she didn’t bleed on the bathroom. King quickly offers up an alibi, saying that he just got in around then. Williams, the chief, says he doesn’t think King killed her and King says he didn’t pay anybody to do it either.

Williams says that King did have a history with her and King says just as a client and nothing more. Williams says there were rumors floating around that they were more but King denies them. Can’t let anyone come between King and Michelle, lest their boning get awkward later on. He asks Williams if he thinks King had her killed because he didn’t want to date her and he just shrugs and says  sort of, crazy as it is.

Then King gets a call from his law partner, the giant pussy who couldn’t handle a corpse in his office. What a loser. Maybe King should lock him in a coffin with a dead body for a few days so this guy can get over his phobia. Because it seems his irrational fear of death has gotten him to break up with King and take the law firm on his own. All because of two dead murders happening around King in less than a week. Then his secretary calls.

Almost immediately his phone rang again. It was his secretary, Mona Hall, calling with her resignation. She was too scared to work for him anymore, she whined. Dead bodies kept turning up. And people were suggesting that King was somehow in on it, not that she ever believed that, but, well, where there’s smoke …

She whined? Look, King, there’s a marked difference between complaining to the barista that there’s just not enough foam on your damn latte and being afraid for your life. One is whining and the other is a justifiable fear. Joan asks him what’s happening and King whines—see what I did there Baldacci?—that his law firm is falling to pieces.

Joan says she’s sorry and that she’s not leaving him. He says it’s nice to be wanted and asks why she’s helping him. Joan says maybe because she feels she owes him and King says she doesn’t. Then Michelle calls and says she’ll be right over, asking if he’s fine. King says yes and watches Joan drive off, feeling nothing because emotions are for flesh-bags.

Pagebreak to King trying to remember what was on the note pinned to Susan’s body. This was a note mentioned earlier but we weren’t told what it said because Baldacci is into the same quality of tension as his gin.

Déjà vu, Sir Kingman. Try to remember if you can where you were on the most important day of your life. I know you’re a smart guy but a little rusty, so you probably want a hint. Here it is: 1032AM09261996. Talk about pushing a post. Talk about giving good feet. Look forward to seeing you soon.

King remembers that’s the exact time Clyde was assassinated and wonders what it means. Gee, I don’t know, Watson, we’d better consult Sherlock. What do you think, Cumberbatch? ‘I’d say he’s quite obviously referring to the hotel where Clyde was gunned down.’ A-fucking right you are. Michelle appears and asks about the note and we learn nothing we don’t already know. He says they’re going back to the hotel because he’s sure Lorreta’s death is connected and wants to know who she saw while hiding in that closet.

Chapter 31

This chapter opens with Joan sitting down to talk with Parks. They know  each other, apparently, and talk about some case in the past that Joan worked on and doesn’t feel she got enough credit for because she’s a woman. Parks gets tired of the attempted character development and asks her what she wants to talk to him for.

Joan asks him about the Jennings case. He says he can’t talk about it but she prods him, saying he can tell her anything public or anything that won’t jeopardize the case. She also mentions that he hasn’t made a “public splash” of the thing and Parks asks what she means. Mostly she’s referring to the fact he hasn’t arrested King in spite of having enough evidence. She also says that she knows there’s no way he could have killed Susan and Parks ended up giving him an alibi for that.

Parks wants to know how she knows that and Joan says that, she’s and investigator so she did some investigating. Parks suggests that, hey, maybe Susan’s death and Jennings are totally unrelated. Just like how the seasons and earth’s orbit are entirely coincidental. Joan suggests that Jennings was killed, not because he was in WITSEC, but because he worked for King. She points out how anyone trying to frame King would have a hard time planning it because someone could have easily given King an alibi if he’d had to answer a call or something.

Parks isn’t ready to believe it but says that anyone framing King wouldn’t have gone through all that trouble to swap the gun and then not think about his alibi. Maybe, people are pretty dumb and criminals are no exception to the rule. But Parks is willing to accept that a super-criminal might have thought out the frame job a bit more thoroughly than a drunken purchase from Taco Bell.

Parks then says that, maybe King did it all to throw them off his tracks. Joan asks if Parks really thinks he’d do that after setting up a new, quiet life like that. Parks supposes not and asks why she’s helping and where he should look next. Joan sys that they used to work together and she kind of owes him. Then she says that he should look elsewhere but doesn’t offer up any leads. Maybe she using her Jedi mind trick on him.

Page break to Joan watching people leave and pulling a note out of her purse. There sure is a lot of people watching others leave in this book. Is that how you work out the issues you have from your parents abandoning you at Chess Camp until you were twenty six, Baldacci? Joan has a copy of the note on Susan’s body that she persuaded a deputy to make for her. I want to find out how so I can persuade my local police to make copies of evidence for me.

Joan then pulls out another note that she’s been keeping for eight years. This one was one that King left on the nightstand after their last romp through the valley of dull kink back in the nineties. We’re told that she did exactly what the note told her even though it carried some professional risk. She didn’t know what King was up to that morning but, somehow, this note puts everything in a new light and Joan has to decide what to do about it. Unless it ends with King being shot or arrested, Joan, it’s the wrong answer.

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