Page 99

“Don’t be,” I say. “It’s a really good book.”

Ingrid and I reach the Bartholomew just before two, finding the block closed off to cars. The crane and wrecking ball have already arrived, parked in the middle of Central Park West like some giant metal beast. A temporary fence has been erected around it, presumably to deter onlookers.

It doesn’t work. The park side of the street is mobbed. Many are from news outlets, their cameras aimed at the building across the street. Others are the morbidly curious who want to boast that they were there when the infamous Bartholomew was demolished. Rounding out the pack are well-meaning but misguided protestors who lift signs that read SAVE THE BARTHOLOMEW.

Despite its age and notoriety, the building had never been granted historical status from the city. The Bartholomew family wanted it that way. Historical designation meant more oversight—something they needed to avoid.

With Nick dead and without historical status, the Bartholomew became just like any average building in Manhattan—available to buy and, if the new owner saw fit, demolish. Which is what the real estate conglomerate that bought it immediately decided to do. Unlike the protestors, they’re fully aware no one in their right mind would buy an apartment that had been used in an organ transplant black market.

Now the Bartholomew faces its final minutes, and half the city has come out to watch it die.

Ingrid and I push our way into the fray. We go unnoticed, thanks to the accessories we donned after emerging from the subway. Knit caps and sunglasses and jackets with the collars pulled up around our necks.

I peer through the chain-link fence at the Bartholomew, which stands as solemn and silent as a mausoleum. It’s the first time I’ve laid eyes on it in six months. Seeing it again brings a fearful chill that shoots through my bones even after I tighten my jacket.

Missing from the northern corner of the roof is George. At my request, he was removed and put into the care of the nearby New-York Historical Society. City officials were happy to oblige. The plan is to put George on display as a monument to the people who died there. I hope it happens. It might be nice to visit him.

The crowd around us goes silent as a worker climbs into the cab of the crane. Once he’s in place, an alarm sounds. So loud I feel it in my chest.

I start to cry, the tears sudden and unstoppable. Most of them are for those who never left the Bartholomew. Dylan especially, but also Erica, Megan, Ruby, and so many more.

I cry for my family.

Jane, who may or may not still be out there.

My parents, who had been beaten down by life until they simply gave up.

But a few of those tears, I know, are reserved for me. Younger, more hopeful me, who saw the Bartholomew on a book cover and believed the promises it offered were real. That girl is gone now, replaced by someone wiser and harder but no less hopeful.

Ingrid sees the tears streaming out from beneath my sunglasses and says, “Are you okay?”

“No,” I say. “But I will be.”

Then I wipe away the tears, grip Ingrid’s hand, and watch the wrecking ball swing.


For me, the most difficult part of finishing a book is this page right here. It’s quite hard trying to thank a group of people when you already know words aren’t enough to express your gratitude. Still, an attempt must be made. To that end, here’s a heaping helping of thanks.

To Maya Ziv, my amazing US editor, and everyone at Dutton and Penguin Random House who have worked so hard on my behalf. You are everything an author could want and more. I would be lost without our Dream Team.

To everyone at Ebury, my UK publisher, for keeping things running smoothly across the pond. My UK editor, Gillian Green, deserves a special shoutout for calling this book “positively Hitchcockian,” which is probably the nicest compliment I’ve ever received.

To my agent, Michelle Brower, and everyone at Aevitas Creative Management for always having my back. I’m so proud to be among your list of authors, and I am so grateful for everything you do.

To the friends and family who continue to cheer me on from the sidelines, especially Sarah Dutton. Thank you, old friend.

To the readers who have embraced my books in the past three years.

To the bloggers and Instagram users who have been so generous with both their praise and their photography skills.

Finally, to Mike Livio, whose patience and understanding continue to astound me on a daily basis. None of this would be possible without you.