While this book has been incredibly dull—something that’s kknown as the status quo around here—I think it’s been a little illuminating. While I love to tear apart books that bear the odious label of “YA”, supposed “adult” fiction isn’t any better. There’s crap everywhere and it’s marketed to everybody.
The four people Baldacci has on the side of good right now meet back up at King’s place. They compare notes, figure out that they’re not get anywhere and decide to have an old fashioned orgy out by the lake.
Parks drops off a box full of stuff on Scott. Joan is still convinced he had nothing to do with it but Parks wanted to double check. He ducks back out again, leaving everyone else to talk. They figure that maybe Mildred was lying about Bruno practicing law fast and loose. Joan says she could believe it and then starts talking about dreams not coming true.
Joan says that King picked a nice place to reinvent himself, because why not, and how she doesn’t want to reinvent herself again. Joan says she wants out and King asks if that means she’ll flee to an island with her millions. She says she will and turns the subject to boating. King says that he enjoys it in the fall when the summer people are gone and the winds pick up.
That’s very interesting, Baldacci. Please continue along this vein of scintillating conversation. I can’t get enough talk about boats. You did write this as a sleep aid, didn’t you Baldacci? Because that’s what I’ve been using it as. And when the prose fails to do me in, I just whap myself with the hardcopy until I’m unconscious.
So they go out on the lake and King shows Joan how to steer a boat. Baldacci attempts to show their rapport by having them talk about the past again. Which is a poor attempt to build character. Whenever King and Joan talk, it’s always about the past and always about events we didn’t witness. They might as well be discussing the history of textiles for all we care. Then they start talking about marriage.
They were silent for some minutes, Joan looking at him nervously and King doing his best to avoid eye contact. “Did you ever think about asking me to marry you?” she asked.
He was going to at one point, Joan, but then he discovered that you’re a secondary character. King says he thought about it and asks if there’s some rule that the man has to ask. He wants to know why she didn’t ask and Joan says that something came up.
King assumes the assassination made him “damaged goods” and he’d have ruined her career. Then Joan pulls out a piece of paper that she’s been hiding since the beginning of the book. It’s a note that told her to come down in the elevator at ten thirty. He says that must have convinced Joan that he was involved in Clyde’s death and King assumed she was because she distracted him. But they never told anyone else about it so they clearly have feeling for one another or something equally stupid.
Then, because Baldacci noticed all this talk of marriage gummed things up, Joan gets a phone call. It’s Kate Ramsey and she has something she wants to tell them but she’ll only do it in person. She wants to meet them halfway so we have an excuse for a chapter break.
They all meet at a coffee shop which gets a name and Baldacci tells us that they all three order a cup of coffee. Though he really missed an opportunity to build character by telling us who put in cream or sugar and how much. Think of what we could learn if we knew King liked to add sugar but no creamer to his java?
Kate hems and haws a bit before getting to the point. She said she should have mentioned it earlier but then the book would be a couple of chapters shorter and Baldacii had a personal quota to meet. She heard something on the night her father had the meeting with the mystery man. She heard a name which she recognized. Joan wants to know why she didn’t mention it before. I already covered that Joan, try and keep up with the conversation. Kate said she heard “Thornton Jorst” and her father saying something about it being risky for both of them.
We learn some pointless details about Jorst then. How he knew Ramsey before and always talked with Kate’s mom. They suggest that maybe Jorst and mom practiced a bit of the old Lancelot and Guinevere on the side. Kate says no because she would have known. They wonder why Ramsey taught at Atticus even though he could have done so at Yale or Harvard.
Kate says that she heard her father had been charged with killing someone. King demands details and Kate doesn’t have very much other than lawyers got involved and it was quickly hushed up. I’d hope lawyers got involved in a murder case. Kate says she did some research and found that Ramsey was still allowed to get his PhD.
King asks how Ramsey afforded the lawyers and Kate doesn’t know. I suspect it was done by someone looking to get a favor out of him later. They speculate that someone else might have been involved who had money and they helped cover up. Then they decided to drag Ramsey into what they saw as a struggle.
Then Kate says it’s all too much and she can still remember when she got the news. Michelle asks about Kate being pulled from class and Kate says she meet up with her mother and Jorst. This makes them suspicious so they want to know what time Kate left class. She says around eleven and they say it wasn’t possible that the news had yet known the killer.
They also become suspicious when they find out that Kate’s mom was seeing Jorst before her death. King isn’t sure how that could be as Kate said her mother loved Ramsey. Kate explains that it had been seven years and their friendship had changed. Also, they had decided to get married. Which is presented as some sort of cliffhanger. Like we couldn’t have figured out there was something odd going on between them and it was a big reveal.