Darkest Fear Page 54

“That he vanished eight years ago. But you already know about that, don’t you?”

She nodded a little too firmly. “We do,” she said.

“So what do you think happened to him?” Myron asked.

She hesitated. “You believe that Dennis Lex may be Sow the Seeds’ first victim, correct?”

“I think it’s something to look into, yes.”

“Our theory,” she went on, “is that the first victim may have been Edwin Gibbs.”

Myron made a face. “You think Stan kidnapped his own father?”

“Killed him. And the others. We don’t believe any of them are still alive.”

Myron tried not to let that sink in. “You have any evidence or motive?”

“Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

“Oh, that’ll go over big with a jury. Ladies and gentlemen, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And you should never put the cart before the horse. Plus every dog has his day.” He shook his head. “Are you listening to yourself?”

“On its own, I admit it doesn’t make sense. But put it all together. Eight years ago, Stan was starting out on his own. He was twenty-four, his father forty-six. By all accounts, the two men did not get along. Suddenly Edwin Gibbs vanishes. Stan never reports it.”

“This is silly.”

“Maybe. But then add back everything else we already know. The only columnist to get this scoop. The plagiarism. Melina Garston. Everything that Eric Ford discussed with you yesterday.”

“It still doesn’t add up.”

“Then tell me where Stan Gibbs is.”

Myron looked at her. “Isn’t he at the condo?”

“Last night, after you two talked, Stan Gibbs slipped surveillance. He’s done that before. We usually pick him up a few hours later. But that hasn’t happened this time. He’s suddenly out of sight—and by coincidence, Jeremy Downing has been snatched by the Sow the Seeds kidnapper. You want to explain that one to me?”

Myron’s mouth felt dry. “You’re searching for him?”

“We got an APB. But we know he’s good at hiding. You got any clue where he went?”


“He said nothing to you about it?”

“He mentioned that he might go away for a few days. But that I should trust him.”

“Bad advice,” she said. “Anything else?”

Myron shook his head. “Where is Dennis Lex?” he tried again. “Did you see him?”

“I didn’t have to,” she said. But her voice had a funny monotone to it. “He’s not involved in this.”

“You keep saying that,” Myron said. “But how do you know?”

She slowed down. “The family.”

“You mean Susan and Bronwyn Lex?”


“What about them?”

“They gave us reassurances.”

Myron almost stepped back. “You just took their word for it?”

“I didn’t say that.” She glanced around, let loose a sigh. “And it’s not my call.”


She looked straight through him. “Eric Ford handled it personally.”

Myron could not believe what he was hearing.

“He told me to stay away,” she said, “that he had it covered.”

“Or covered up,” Myron said.

“Nothing I can do about it.” She looked at him. She had stressed the word I. Then she walked away without another word. Myron dialed his cell phone.

“Articulate,” Win said.

“We’re going to need help,” Myron said. “Is Zorra still working freelance?”

“I’ll call her.”

“Maybe Big Cyndi too.”

“Do you have a plan?”

“No time for a plan,” Myron said.

“Ooo,” Win said. “Then we’re going to get nasty.”


“And here I thought you weren’t going to break the rules anymore.”

“Just this once,” Myron said.

“Ah,” Win countered. “That’s what they all say.”


Win, Esperanza, Big Cyndi, and Zorra were all in his office.

Zorra wore a yellow monogrammed sweater (the monogram being one letter: Z), large white pearls à la Wilma Flintstone, a plaid skirt, and white bobby socks. Her—or if you want to be anatomically correct, his—wig looked like early Bette Midler or maybe Little Orphan Annie on methadone. Shiny red high-heel shoes like something stolen from a trampy Dorothy in Oz adorned the men’s-size-twelve feet.

Zorra smiled at Myron. “Zorra is happy to see you.”

“Yeah,” Myron said. “And Myron is happy to see you too.”

“This time, we’re on the same side, yes?”


“Zorra pleased.”

Zorra’s real name was Shlomo Avrahaim, and she was a former Israeli Mossad agent. The two had had a nasty run-in not long ago. Myron still carried the wound near his rib cage—a scar-shaped Z made by a blade Zorra hid in her heel.

Win said, “The Lex Building is too well guarded.”

“So we go with Plan B,” Myron said.

“Already in motion,” Win said.

Myron looked at Zorra. “You armed?”

Zorra pulled a weapon out from under her skirt. “The Uzi,” Zorra said. “Zorra likes the Uzi.”

Myron nodded. “Patriotic.”

“Question,” Esperanza said.


Esperanza settled her eyes on his. “What if this guy doesn’t cooperate?”

“We don’t have time to worry about it,” Myron said.


“This psycho has Jeremy,” Myron said. “You understand that? Jeremy has to be the priority here.”

Esperanza shook her head.

“Then stay behind,” he said.

“You need me,” she said.

“Right. And Jeremy needs me.” He stood. “Okay, let’s go.”

Esperanza shook her head again, but she went along. The group—a sort of cut-rate Dirty (One-Third of a) Dozen—broke off when they reached the street. Esperanza and Zorra would walk. Win, Myron, and Big Cyndi headed into a garage three blocks away. Win had a car there. Chevy Nova. Totally untraceable. Win had a bunch of them. He referred to them as disposable vehicles. Like paper cups or something. The rich. You don’t want to know what he does with them.

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