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“Dunno. I didn’t ask. Didn’t see people in any of his photos. I’m sorry I’m not more help. If he was moving or buying anything, he didn’t tell me about it.” She blinked, her eyes growing wet. “He really was a nice guy. I freaked out when I saw the blood. I banged on the back door and shouted his name for a good thirty seconds while I called 911. I beat on some other windows in back before I ran around front and rang the bell.” The woman shuddered.

“That sight would disturb anyone,” said Ray.

“How did he die?” she asked bluntly.

Both men went silent as Gillian looked from one to the other.

She stiffened as their silence sank in. “Don’t tell me—I mean, I know you can’t tell me. I understand—I don’t want to know.” She frantically patted her shorts pockets again, her chest rapidly rising and falling with fast breaths.

“Detectives.” A young officer had opened the front door. “The tech has something she’d like you to look at. She says it’s extremely important.” The officer glanced at the teary witness and looked at Ray with concern.

“Could you take Ms. Wood back home?” Ray asked.

The detectives said their goodbyes, telling her they’d be in touch. Gillian stepped off the porch and then spun around. “Find that asshole,” she snapped, her voice cracking.

“We will,” Ray promised.

Mason stayed silent. He didn’t make promises he didn’t know he could keep. Especially to simply make someone feel better.

“What do you think?” Ray murmured as they watched the woman leave with the officer.

“I think she had a thing for our victim.”

“What do you think about her story?”

“I think Reuben was trying to impress her. Just like any other jerk trying to get laid.”

“We don’t know that he was a jerk,” Ray said.

“He made her use his back door to hide their relationship from the neighbors. Sounds like a selfish asshole to me.”

“Could be a private person. Maybe wanted to protect her reputation from the neighborhood grapevine.”

“Mmphf.” Speculating on their victim’s motives was pointless.

“Think she scared off the killer with her noise? It appeared he wasn’t finished.”


The house was a one-story ranch. The men passed two bedrooms and the bloody bathroom as they went down a narrow hall. Dr. Trask was hunched over the tub in the bathroom, examining their victim. Mason followed Ray to where a crime scene tech impatiently waited at the end of the hall. “In here,” she said. “You’ve got to see this.” The tech led them into a third bedroom that held a large folding table and wooden chair. A clunky-looking laptop and printer sat on the table along with a dozen plastic stacking shelves full of papers.

It looked like anyone’s messy workroom except for the heavy blood smears on the laptop, folders, and papers scattered on the table. Mason scanned the room for more blood.

Maps of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho covered the walls. A short, cheap bookshelf held several titles that indicated Reuben liked to hike and camp in the Pacific Northwest. Two large backpacks with aluminum frames were piled in a corner alongside a few clear tubs of various supplies for outdoor living. Small pots, tarps, collapsible containers.

The cluttered room felt at odds with the perfectly organized garage.

Mason didn’t see any more blood. It seemed contained to items on the table.

I’ll let the crime scene team decide that.

“It’s this. I just found it,” the tech said, pointing at blood-spotted pages in a manila folder next to the laptop. Her hand was shaking.

“Was the folder laying open like this?” Mason asked.

“No. I’d already documented the entire room, and then I opened the folder. The coffee-cup warmer was on top of it.”

Three coffee cups were on the desk. Each had about a half inch of coffee left.

“I assume the blood is our victim’s,” Ray said.

“Most likely,” said Mason. “But I’m wondering if the victim left behind the blood—he could have gotten away from his attacker at some point and come in here—or was it left behind by his killer’s dirty hands.” He shrugged. “Also could be the killer’s blood. Maybe our guy got in some blows too.”

“I doubt our victim came in here to read something while he had a killer after him,” said Ray.

“Don’t assume,” said Mason. Until he had proof, he never ruled out anything.

“Please stop talking and read it,” begged the tech, frustration in her voice.

Mason looked closely at the top page. He scanned it and then rapidly flipped through the next two, his stomach churning. Three pages of handwritten rants against law enforcement. “What the fuck,” he muttered.

Beside him, Ray had gone silent, the blood forgotten.

Mason turned to the last page. It was a blueprint with a single handwritten line below it. “This is a map of the Clackamas County Courthouse.” Mason forced out the words.

“It says this afternoon. A bomb is to go off in the courthouse.” Ray choked. “This afternoon.”

Mason was already on his phone.

“What the hell . . . I thought I saw this.” Ray had returned to the second page and pointed at a line.

Mason’s heart pounded as his phone rang in his ear and he looked. Ava’s name jumped out at him.

“This says he wanted to tell Ava about a bomb during one of their meetings,” said Ray.

“He was an FBI informant? Ava’s informant?” Mason’s head spun.

“Looks like he didn’t lie to Gillian.”


Finally making it to her office at the FBI building near the Portland airport, Ava stowed her bag in her desk drawer and turned on her computer. Brady’s revelation about Jayne had knocked her world off-kilter, but Ava had a demanding job and work to do. Too much work. She didn’t have time during work hours to hunt for her twin.

A missing adult woman who’d left on her own wasn’t a high priority for law enforcement. Especially one who’d vanished a dozen times before.

I know she’s fine.

She sat silently and closed her eyes, mentally searching—feeling for anything out of sync as a sign that tragedy had struck her sister. Like a sudden physical pain in her heart. An overwhelming sense of emptiness and loss.


How many thousands of times have I done this over the years?

She didn’t fully believe she would feel anything, but the ritual settled her mind. A little.

Zander would continue to search for Jayne and do it ten times more efficiently than Ava. Computers and databases were his passion. With his speed and knowledge, he could do his regular work and search for a digital footprint left by Jayne at the same time. Ava didn’t even have to ask. He knew what she needed, and their friendship was important to both of them. Zander had watched as Ava’s relationship with Mason developed, and now she enjoyed watching Zander and Emily fall in love. Emily had recently moved in with him, and Ava was certain a wedding was in their future, but she wondered if the two of them knew it.

She hadn’t seen Zander this happy since . . . ever.

No one deserved happiness more than Zander. Eight years ago, his wife had died of cancer, their unborn daughter too young to survive outside the womb. Ava hadn’t known him then, and he’d told no one the story when he transferred to the Portland FBI office. She’d long suspected he had dark pain in his past—sorrow would flash in his eyes at times, but she’d never asked, not wanting to intrude on his privacy. In a bleak moment last fall, when Zander was at his lowest, she’d learned the heart-wrenching story.

Emily had eliminated most of the sorrow in his eyes.

Focused on her computer screen, Ava took a few moments to register that something had happened on her office floor. Brisk footsteps, anxious voices, people leaving. She moved to the doorway of her office and felt a nervous energy flow through the halls.

“What’s going on?” she asked an agent as he jogged by.

“Ask Ben,” the agent tossed over his shoulder.

“Thanks a lot,” she muttered, planning to do exactly that. She strode in the opposite direction, toward Ben’s office.

Her supervisor was on the phone, and the same uneasy energy hovered around him. Ben hung up as she entered, and his gaze met hers but then jumped away as he shuffled through some papers on his desk.


“What happened?” she asked.

Ben cleared his throat. “We’ve got a credible bomb threat at the Clackamas County Courthouse. It’s being evacuated at the moment and a perimeter established a few blocks out. I’m sending all the bodies I can.”

Ava’s breath caught as images of the bombed Oklahoma City federal building flooded her mind. Timothy McVeigh had killed well over a hundred people. It had happened more than twenty-five years ago, but she’d studied the bombing at the FBI Academy.

What’s today’s date?

“It’s June,” she blurted. The Oklahoma bombing had happened in April, and domestic terrorists sometimes used the date to launch their own illegal acts.

“My first thought too,” Ben said. A grim expression covered his face. “But it’s June eleventh. McVeigh was executed on this date.”