The lights flick off then back on and Sidney is holding his gun on King and now Kate. He says he knew she didn’t have the guts to go through with it. No you didn’t or else you wouldn’t have left her in charge of killing Bruno and King. For some reason he’s amused that King is standing in front of Kate. King then says that Bruno got away and he won’t forgive him for shooting Michele.
Oh good. Because I was worried King was a bit of a psychopath. He’d already forgiven Sidney for the murder of Clyde, Ramsey and Loretta. I don’t think I could trust a character who forgive every murder the villain has committed. So at least King is mad at Sidney for killing his potential fuck-toy. So then Sidney reveals the real reason he’s arranged all this, Kate.
Morse laughed. “You really are a fool, just like your father.” He eyed King. “You said that Regina rejected me because she didn’t love me, she didn’t want the magic. That was only partially true. I believe that she did love me, but she couldn’t go back onstage after Arnold died, she couldn’t become my star once more, because someone else needed her more.” He looked back at Kate. “You. Your mother couldn’t leave you. You needed her, she told me. You were her life. How incredibly wrong she was. What was a single, pathetic teenager to a legendary career on Broadway, a life with me?”
Wow, just wow. I can’t even wrap my head around how asinine that is. If he wanted to get revenge on Kate, it seems like it would be a lot easier to shoot her while she sleeps. King says that a man like Sidney can’t understand love. If this turns into a story where the plucky human defeats the evil robot overlord by teaching it to love, I’m going to use this book to cook bratwurst.
Instead, this is the breakdown where all the characters are going to babble at each other instead of just firing bullets at each other. Kate says she can’t believe she trusted Sidney. Sidney says he’s not a bad actor himself. Except for that part he had as camp counselor number six in “Saturday the Fourteenth”. He’d been planning the whole thing since he heard Bruno announce his candidacy.
Again, it seems like it would have gone a lot easier if Sidney just snuck into her apartment and smothered her one late night. Kate is shocked that a man like Sidney had lied and King says that it’s dangerous to follow a madman. Sidney says he’s not mad, just a visionary. Blah blah blah, he’s a genius and he’ll supply the details to wrap this all up once it’s over. Then he’ll flee to Europe and change his identity.
King tells Sidney not to push his luck. He knocked Kate’s gun away and grabbed it in the dark. Sidney says that’s impossible and King says he can always check. King tells Sidney that both guns look the same and the other is on the floor. He also warns him that he’ll shoot him as soon as he bends down to look. Which means he’s probably bluffing.
Look, King. Anyone who hasn’t recently been brained could figure you’re stalling. Not that he isn’t making it obvious enough. ‘I’m going to shoot you if you turn away.’ ‘Wait, if you’d do that why would you wait until I look away?’
Sidney says he knows King is lying and King dares him to try. He says they should have a duel and starts counting down slowly while stalling. The lights go out and King ducks as Sidney fires. Switch over to Tasha, Sidney’s other hench, who’s wearing night vision. She wanders in and gets ready to kill King and Kate until a headshot kills her. And so another almost nameless character dies as unceremoniously as a swatted fly.
Turns out that Michele is—gasp!—still alive and she’s the one that shot Tasha. King tells her they have to get out of there and tells her to take Kate out. They also spot a wire on the floor and realize the building must be set to explode. King starts fretting about how they’re going to escape when Michele says they can get out through the basement.
Michele reveals they’re going down in the dumbwaiter while handing King her gun. King grabs Kate who’s trying to stay behind. She’s upset that she got used by Sidney. King says that it’s okay because she couldn’t do it and she has her whole life to look forward too. She whines a bit but he manages to convince her to come along.
Sidney then bursts out of nowhere swinging a “metal pole”. He misses King and says no more games. King agrees and fires twice into Sidney, killing him quickly. Then King realizes that Sidney hit Kate and killed her. She’s laying, crumpled, against the wall with her head crushed in.
King feels bad, but not bad enough to take he corpse along when they leave. He grabs Joan, who I thought was dead but clarity isn’t Baldacci’s strong point, and they head down in the dumbwaiter. Meanwhile the omniscient narrator appears to inform us that the timer on Sidney’s explosives are at thirty seconds and counting down.
Once in the basement they look for an exit. Michele is clearly the master of forward planning. The spot a garbage chute and Bruno balks at jumping into a dumpster. Michele gives him a nasty look which convinces him though and he jumps down. Too bad for him the dumpster hasn’t been used since the place was shut down, there’s no trash for cushion and Bruno breaks both his legs.
Just as they land, the bombs go off and the hotel implodes. They all look back, amazed at what they’re seeing. I’m amazed as well. Why the hell would they bother setting the building to implode? That’s yet another detail which seems far too stupid. Why not just blow the place up like a real villain? Everyone muses that they think it’s finally over.
Because Baldacci just couldn’t end it without assuring us that everyone is fine. Joan is talking with King at the ruins of his home. King says Joan looks almost completely recovered. She says she’s not sure she will ever be and tells him he should really take the money. King says she should keep it for all she’s been through and they both tell the other that they’ve had it harder.
Baldacci is trying to convince us that King is noble by not taking the cash. In reality, it just reveals what a moron he is. Look, if Bruno’s people couldn’t really afford it and King decided to wipe the slate clean that would be one thing. But if the reward has already been paid and Joan is offering King a cut he should take it just to help rebuild.
Joan goes to leave and King says he never told anyone she was on the elevator because he cared for her. Then she drives off and Michele drives up. Baldacci must have written this with an adaptation for puppet theater in mind.
Michele asks why King didn’t take his cut and he doesn’t really give an answer. They babble a bit about nothing, Parks got arrested and blah blah blah, while a security van shows up, the ones from before. He says it’s a little late for them but maybe next time. As soon as they’re gone—hell if I know why they showed up either—Michele says she has a proposition.
Michele has resigned from the USSS, deciding she really doesn’t want to do that anymore. Dreams are nice but when it turns out they require hard work it’s time to find an easier line of work. She wants to start a private investigation firm with King. She’s already moved and rented a cottage nearby and has calls coming in. King agrees and Michele breaks out some champagne and they decide on calling it “King and Maxwell”. Ensuring Baldacci would pump out as many dull adventures featuring these two dullards as his publisher will allow.