“Yes,” she replied cautiously. “I’ll listen, but first, please tell me why it isn’t a good idea to tell me your name.”

“I’m wanted by the police,” he answered. He hurried to add, “I’ve never killed anyone . . . at least on purpose.” He laughed, and then he snorted. “Just kidding . . . really, I’ve never killed anyone.”

Kate didn’t know what to make of him, but the call was beginning to unnerve her. She glanced around. She was alone, and the conference room door was closed.

Before she could ask him why he was a wanted man, he continued. “The authorities don’t know my real name, and I would prefer they never find out. Will you promise to remain calm? I want to help you, and in order to do that, you have to be able to hear what I have to say. You can’t become hysterical.”

“Of course I’ll remain calm,” she told him. “Just tell me who you are.” She could hear the apprehension in her own voice.

He laughed. “Nice try. I won’t be giving you my name. But I’ll tell you what I will do; I’ll give you the name the police call me.”

“And what’s that?”

“The Florist.”

Kate nearly dropped the phone. Her immediate response was disbelief. “That’s not funny . . . I don’t believe . . . why would . . .”

“Now, you promised to stay calm . . .”

Kate looked at the closed door again, willing it to open and Terrance—anyone—to walk in so she could signal him. Maybe someone could trace the call.

“This is a twisted prank,” she said.

“It is not a prank,” he insisted. “I’d never prank you. I am called the Florist, and I do want to help you.”

“Help me? If you are who you say you are, your bombs have nearly killed me twice.” She pressed the intercom button hoping that someone would hear the conversation, but the phone would not allow her to access the intercom as long as she was on the line.

“I didn’t try to kill you,” he said, exasperated. “I only made the explosives.”

“This is crazy,” she said.

“You need to hear what I have to say.” He didn’t sound crazy. He sounded reasonable. Was he going to offer her an apology?

“I’ll listen. Start explaining.”

“I like blowing things up.”

Okay, so he was crazy after all. She thought she should say something in response. “Do you want to tell me why?” If she could keep him on the line, she might be able to summon help.

“Why isn’t relevant,” he said. “I’ve made quite a nice income. I bought a big-screen TV with surround sound last month. You wouldn’t believe how it makes the Nature Channel come alive . . . but I digress. Truth is, I enjoy the extra income, and it allows me to do something I love doing.”

“Blowing things up.”

“I like building explosives, and in the past I never let anyone else near them. Until recently. A friend of a friend of a friend . . . you know how it goes. I was lured by the money, and I was hoodwinked. I was told the explosives would be used in the desert. There was a lot of talk about caves and underground facilities. Oh, yes, I was spun an elaborate lie, and I believed it. I was extremely naÏve and greedy.

“I took the money and went back to my day job. I didn’t think another thing about it until I opened the newspaper and saw a photo of an explosion at a gallery. It made the national news. I recognized my work right away. I was outraged because I had been hoodwinked, and after I read the article about how you had narrowly escaped death, I was scared, and I felt really bad for you.” He snorted again. “Really, I did . . . heh, heh . . . I thought about sending you flowers.

“I tried to get hold of my contact, but he had disappeared. Then I read about another explosion that destroyed a building and nearly killed you again. I knew then that you were the target.”

She heard him take a deep breath and let out a long sigh.

“This is a dangerous business.”

He was just now figuring that out? “Yes,” she said.

“I’ve decided to quit.”

“You’re calling me to tell me you’re retiring?” she asked suspiciously.

He didn’t answer the question. “There’s a gentleman who has been pursuing me for several years now. His name is Sutherland, and he works for ATF. I would appreciate it if you would call him and tell him to go home.”

“Because you’re retiring.”


This was the most bizarre conversation she had ever had. “I think you should tell him. I’m sure he would love to meet you, even if only by phone.”

“Oh, we have met, several times, in fact. He just doesn’t know it.”

She bet Sutherland was going to love hearing that. She spotted her purse on a chair next to the window. Her cell phone was in it. If she could get it, she might be able to contact someone.

She needed to keep him talking.

“May I ask a question?” she asked as she stood up and moved the phone to the end of the table as far as the cord would allow so she could reach for her purse.

“Certainly. If I can answer it, I will, and no, I’m not really a florist. If you could see my garden, you’d—”

“That’s not the question I was going to ask. I was told that you always put your explosives in baskets. I was curious to know why.”

“That’s a common misconception. I don’t put them in baskets. They are the baskets. It’s quite intricate work. I like to think of myself as a virtuoso. The Beethoven of bang, if you will.” He chuckled.

“Why did you really call me?”

“I need to get serious now,” he said as he stopped his laugh with a sigh. “I want to save your life.”

“How do you plan to do that?”

“By giving you important information. The first explosion tore out a hill.”

“Yes.” She grabbed the purse handle and pulled it to her.

“You walked away and barely suffered a scratch. Do you know the statistical odds for that?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “The second explosive took down a building, and you survived that as well. That’s phenomenal, just phenomenal.”

“Yes,” she said again. Where was this leading? She fished to the bottom of the purse for her phone.

“The odds are becoming positively astronomical. I’m quite worried about you. You just can’t survive another one.”

“Another one?”

“Yes. You see, I made three.”

“What?” She stopped. “What did you say?”

“There’s one more bomb out there, and you need to listen carefully . . .”

Kate was concentrating so intently on what the bomber was saying, she didn’t hear the door open behind her.

Chapter Thirty-five

Roger Mackenna’s apartment smelled like forgotten garbage. Roger smelled like he’d rolled around in it before he killed himself. He was lying on the floor in the living room, flat on his back, the gun still clutched in his hand. Blood had pooled around his head and upper shoulders and had formed what appeared to be a perfect black chalk outline. Death had captured his expression of despair. One eye was closed, the other was somewhere in the back of his skull.

He wasn’t a pretty sight.

The FBI was there in force, and the agent in charge, Joel Kline, turned out to be surprisingly accommodating. He was about Dylan’s age, but he already had deep creases at the corners of his mouth. His tall, thin frame was hunched at the shoulders as though permanently bent from stooping over too many crime scenes.

Once Dylan had diplomatically let him know that he was in no way interested in usurping his position, Kline handed him a pair of gloves and told him to have a look around. He’d be happy to get his input.

The medical examiner was a middle-aged man named Dr. Luke Parrish. He was kneeling beside the body. Dylan squatted next to him, introduced himself, and showed him his badge.

Parrish liked to chat. “I used to live near Silver Springs,” he said. “Real nice area. Not enough homicides to keep me busy or interested, so I moved here. Savannah’s real nice, too,” he added. “With that accent of yours I’d say you’re from the northeast. Am I right?”

“Yes,” he said. “Boston.”

“You relocating?”

“No, this is a temporary job.”

They both turned to look at the body. “This one knew what he was doing,” Parrish said. “One clean shot took care of it. Most of them don’t know where to aim.”

The weapon was a Glock. Parrish bagged it and handed it to a hovering agent. “Damn, he stinks. I don’t think he ever took a shower. He hasn’t been dead long. He had this stench on him when he was alive. How could anyone live like this? Look around. The place is a pit. You’d think anybody who could afford expensive furniture like this might try a little to keep it nice. That leather sofa alone had to have cost a couple thousand.”

Parrish wasn’t exaggerating about the apartment. It was a pit. There were overflowing ashtrays on tables and chairs, and empty whiskey bottles scattered about. The sofa looked like it was ready to be carted off to the city dump. The cushions were all broken down, and there were cigarette holes along the arms.

The coffee table was the only clean surface in the apartment. The papers on top were organized.

“Did you find a suicide note?” Dylan asked.

Kline crossed the room to join him. “No, not yet. But he left us all these papers. I think he wanted to help us get Jackman.”

“Is there enough to prosecute him?”

“We’re not through looking.”

In other words, no, Dylan thought. “Tell me what you do have.”

“We’ve compared what we found here with the information we’d already gotten from Nate Hallinger. He’s gonna love seeing all this evidence when he gets here.

“It looks like Roger knew just about everything there was to know about Kate MacKenna. He had all of her phone numbers, her work and home addresses, the make and model of her car, the license plate number, her business associates’ phone numbers and addresses, her sisters’ cell phone numbers. He even had Isabel MacKenna’s ex-boyfriend’s name and phone number.”

“He had Reece Crowell’s name?”

“And he’d underlined Carl Bertolli’s address and had the date and time for the gallery party. He had the address for the warehouse, too.”

“My God, he had it all, didn’t he?”

“I’m just getting warmed up. We already bagged the calendar we found in the kitchen next to the phone. It was covered with prints. It looked like someone else besides Roger had made notes. There were two distinct handwritings. I sent it to the lab over an hour ago and put a rush on it. We should have a preliminary report any minute now. Besides times and places, there were flight numbers. Kate’s flight numbers. He knew when she was going to Boston, and he knew when she was coming home.”

Dylan was having a difficult time controlling his anger. How long had the son of a bitch been stalking Kate? Had he been inside her house? It would have been easy for him. She never locked the damned doors.

“Have you looked at his car yet?”

“Yes,” Kline answered. “It’s a white Ford with tinted windows. This has to be the car Kate described to Hallinger, the one that tried to run her down.”

“Getting all this information took a lot of time and care.” Dylan rubbed the back of his neck. “What else?”

“There were two dates heavily circled on the calendar.”

“The dates of the explosions.”

“That’s right,” Kline said. “Roger made a lot of notations. One was real interesting. ‘Jackman got the baskets.’ ‘Two hundred thousand’ was written next to it. That has to be the amount he paid for the explosives.”

“Nate told me Jackman’s been picked up.”

“Yes,” he replied. “Right now he’s sitting in an interrogation room in Vegas waiting for his attorney.”

“Roger’s notes aren’t going to be enough to hold him long, and you still don’t know who was behind the camera when Compton MacKenna filmed his farewell address.”

“We know it wasn’t one of the nephews because he didn’t trust any of them, and he didn’t want them to know what he was up to,” he said. “That was real apparent in the video. There are a couple of people looking good to us, though. One’s the housekeeper. We just found out she made a fat deposit in her account about six weeks ago. We’re bringing her in to have a little talk.” He added, “And we’re also interested in Compton MacKenna’s attorney. I’m not worried. We’ll find whoever it was.”

Dylan took his time walking around the apartment and studying the papers and the handwritten notes. Nice tidy package, he thought. Roger couldn’t have been more accommodating if he’d tried. He’d left just enough hints to connect Jackman, but not hard evidence to nail him.

Something didn’t compute. Dylan made a second examination of the information the agents had collected, but each time a question was answered, another one popped up. What was Reece’s name doing in Roger’s notes? Why did he leave information for them to find and yet leave no suicide note? Where did he get another gun so quickly? There was nothing orderly in Roger’s life, so why was this so organized?

One perfect shot . . . knew just where to aim.

The paramedics had come in to bag the body. Agent Kline moved out of their way and noticed Dylan staring down at the papers, frowning. “Something bothering you?” he asked.

Dylan nodded. “This doesn’t feel right. It isn’t working for me.”

They both watched the body being carted away. “What you’ve got here is a nice, tidy package,” Dylan said.

Kline shrugged. “It can happen this way . . . all of it coming together . . .”

“Yeah? Since when does it happen this way? Everything laid out nice and easy for you? The only thing missing from the table are arrows pointing to the evidence on those papers.” He shook his head. “I don’t like nice and tidy, and do you know why? It makes me think that maybe all this was staged.”

Chapter Thirty-six

Dylan had stayed at the crime scene much longer than he’d intended, and he was anxious to get back to Kate. He took the stairs at Roger’s apartment building and called her cell phone on his way down to let her know he was returning to the law office. He was only ten minutes away, but he needed to hear her voice. He heard her voice mail instead. What the hell? Why hadn’t she answered? Where was she? Trying not to panic, he quickly called Smith and Wesson.

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