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Myron and Carl exchanged a glance. The glance bemoaned today’s youth.

“Did you go with him to the Court Manor?”

“Nah. I went later, you know. I figured the dude would want to party after getting a little, you know. Kinda celebrate and shit.”

“So what time did you go to the Court Manor?”

“Ten-thirty, eleven, something like that.”

“Did you see Chad?”

“Nah. Things got, like, so weird right away. Never got the chance.”

“What do you mean, weird?”

Matthew Squires hesitated a bit. Carl leaned forward. “Its okay, Matthew. Your father wants you to tell him the whole story.”

The kid nodded. When the chin went down, the stringy hair slid across the face. It was like a tasseled curtain opening and closing in rapid succession. “Okay, like, here’s the deal: When I pulled my Benz into the parking lot, I saw Chad’s old man.”

Myron felt a queasy surge. “Jack Coldren? You saw Jack Coldren? At the Court Manor Inn?”

Squires nodded. “He was just, like, sitting in his car,” he said. “Next to Chad’s Honda. He looked really pissed off, man. I wanted no part of it, you know? So I took a hike.”

Myron tried not to look too stunned. Jack Coldren at the Court Manor Inn. His son inside a room screwing Esme Fong. The next morning Chad Coldren would be kidnapped.

What the hell was going on?

“Friday night,” Myron continued, “I saw someone climb out the window of Chad’s room. Was that you?”

“Yeah.”

“You want to tell me what you were doing?”

“Seeing if Chad was home. That’s what we do. I climb through his window. Like Vinny used to do with Doogie Howser. Remember that show?”

Myron nodded. He did know. Kinda sad when you thought about it.

There was not much more to extract from young Matthew. When they finished up, Carl walked Myron to his car.

“Strange shit,” Carl said.

“Yep.”

“You’ll call when you learn something?”

“Yep.” Myron didn’t bother telling him that Tito was already dead. No point. “Nice move, by the way. The fake punch with Esperanza.”

Carl smiled. “We’re professionals. I’m disappointed you spotted it.”

“If I hadn’t seen Esperanza in the ring, I wouldn’t have. It was very nice work. You should be proud.”

“Thanks.” Carl stuck out his hand. Myron shook it. He got in the car and drove away. Now where?

Back to the Coldren house, he guessed.

His mind still reeled from this latest revelation: Jack Coldren had been at the Court Manor Inn. He had seen his son’s car there. How the heck did that fit into this? Was Jack Coldren following Chad? Maybe. Was he just there by coincidence? Doubtful. So what other options were there? Why would Jack Coldren be following his own son? And where had he followed him from—Matthew Squires’s house? Did that make sense? The man plays in the U.S. Open, has a great opening round, and then goes parking in front of the Squires estate waiting for his kid to pull out?

Nope.

Hold the phone.

Suppose Jack Coldren had not been following his son. Suppose he had been following Esme Fong.

Something in his brain went “click.”

Maybe Jack Coldren had been having an affair with Esme Fong too. His marriage was on the rocks. Esme Fong was probably a bit of a kinkster. She had seduced a teenage boy—what would have stopped her from seducing his father? But did this make sense either? Was Jack stalking her? Had he somehow found out about the tryst? What?

And the larger question: What does any of this have to do with Chad Coldren’s kidnapping and Jack Coldren’s murder?

He pulled up to the Coldren house. The media had been kept back, but there were now at least a dozen cops on hand. They were hauling out cardboard boxes. As Victoria Wilson had feared, the police had gotten a search warrant.

Myron parked around the corner and walked toward the house. Jack’s caddie, Diane Hoffman, sat alone on the curb across the street. He remembered the last time he had seen her at the Coldren house: in the backyard, fighting with Jack. He also realized that she had been one of the very few people who knew about the kidnapping—hadn’t she been standing right there when Myron first talked about it with Jack at the driving range?

She was worth a conversation.

Diane Hoffman was smoking a cigarette. The several stubs by her feet indicated that she had been there for more than a few minutes. Myron approached.

“Hi,” he said. “We met the other day.”

Diane Hoffman looked up at him, took a deep drag of the cigarette, released it into the still air. “I remember.” Her hoarse voice sounded like old tires on rough pavement.

“My condolences,” Myron said. “You and Jack must have been very close.”

Another deep drag. “Yeah.”

“Caddy and golfer. Must be a tight relationship.”

She looked up at him, squinting suspiciously. “Yeah.”

“Almost like husband and wife. Or business partners.”

“Uh-huh. Something like that.”

“Did you two ever fight?”

She glared at him for a second, then she broke into a laugh that ended in a hacking cough. When she could talk again, she asked, “Why the hell do you want to know that?”

“Because I saw you two fighting.”

“What?”

“Friday night. You two were in the backyard. You called him names. You threw down your cigarette in disgust.”

Diane Hoffman crushed out the cigarette. There was the smallest smile on her face. “You some kinda Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Bolitar?”

“No. I’m just asking you a question.”

“And I can tell you to go mind your own fucking business, right?”

“Right.”

“Good. Then you go do that.” The smile became fuller now. It was not a particularly pretty smile. “But first—to save you some time—I’ll tell you who killed Jack. And also who kidnapped the kid, if you like.”

“I’m all ears.”

“The bitch in there.” She pointed to the house behind her with a thumb. “The one you got the hots for.”

“I don’t have the hots for her.”

Diane Hoffman sneered. “Right.”

“What makes you so sure it was Linda Coldren?”

“Because I know the bitch.”

“That’s not much of an answer.”

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