Gone for Good Page 30


Pistillo chewed on a cuticle. Claudia Fisher waited.

“I want a visual confirmation,” he said.



“I took the liberty of emailing Sheriff Farrow the mug shots of Sheila Rogers. She and the M.E. confirmed it was the same woman. The height and weight match too.”

Pistillo leaned back. He grabbed a pen, raised it to eye level, and studied it. Fisher stood at attention. He signaled for her to sit. She obeyed. “Sheila Rogers’s parents live in Utah, right?”


“Whatever. We need to contact them.”

“I have the local police on standby. The chief knows the family personally.”

Pistillo nodded. “Okay, good.” He took the pen out of his mouth. “How was she killed?”

“Probably internal bleeding from a beating. The autopsy is still under way.”


“She was tortured. Her fingers had been snapped back and twisted, probably by a pair of pliers. There were cigarette burns on her torso.”

“How long has she been dead?”

“She probably died sometime last night or early in the morning.”

Pistillo looked at Fisher. He remembered how Will Klein, the lover, had sat in that very chair yesterday. “Fast,” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“If, as we were led to believe, she ran away, they found her fast.”

“Unless,” Fisher said, “she ran to them.”

Pistillo leaned back. “Or she never ran at all.”

“I’m not following.”

He studied the pen some more. “Our assumption has always been that Sheila Rogers fled because of her connection to the Albuquerque murders, right?”

Fisher tilted her head back and forth. “Yes and no. I mean, why come back to New York just to run away again?”

“Maybe she wanted to go to the mother’s funeral, I don’t know,” he said. “Either way, I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Maybe she never knew we were on to her. Maybe—stay with me here, Claudia—maybe someone kidnapped her.”

“How would that have worked?” Fisher asked.

Pistillo put down the pen. “According to Will Klein, she left the apartment at, what, six in the morning?”


“Fine, five. So let’s put this together using the accepted scenario. Sheila Rogers walks out at five. She goes into hiding. Someone finds her and tortures her and dumps her in the boonies of Nebraska. That sound about right?”

Fisher nodded slowly. “Like you said, fast.”

“Too fast?”


“Time-phase-wise,” Pistillo said, “it’s far more likely that someone grabbed her right away. As soon as she left the apartment.”

“And flew her to Nebraska?”

“Or drove like a demon.”

“Or . . . ?” Fisher began.


She looked at her boss. “I think,” she said, “that we’re both coming to the same conclusion. The time line is too close. She probably disappeared the night before.”

“Which means?”

“Which means that Will Klein lied to us.”

Pistillo grinned. “Exactly.”

Fisher’s words started coming fast now. “Okay, here’s a more likely scenario: Will Klein and Sheila Rogers go to the funeral of Klein’s mother. They return to his parents’ house afterward. According to Klein, they drive back to their apartment that night. But we have no independent confirmation of that. So maybe”—she tried to slow down but that wasn’t happening—“maybe they don’t head home. Maybe he hands her over to an accomplice, who tortures and kills her and dumps the body. Will meanwhile drives back to his apartment. He goes to work in the morning. When Wilcox and I brace him at his office, he makes up this story about her leaving in the morning.”

Pistillo nodded. “Interesting theory.”

She stood at attention.

“Do you have a motive?” he asked.

“He needed to silence her.”


“Whatever happened in Albuquerque.”

They both mulled it over in silence.

“I’m not convinced,” Pistillo said.

“Neither am I.”

“But we agree that Will Klein knows more than he’s saying.”

“For certain.”

Pistillo let loose a long breath. “Either way, we need to give him the bad news about Ms. Rogers’s demise.”


“Call that local chief out in Utah.”


“Whatever. Have him inform the family. Then get them on a plane for official identification.”

“What about Will Klein?”

Pistillo thought about that. “I’ll reach out to Squares. Maybe he can help us deliver the blow.”


My apartment door was ajar.

After Aunt Selma and Uncle Murray’s arrival, my father and I carefully avoided each other. I love my father. I think I have made that pretty clear. But a small part of me irrationally blames him for my mother’s death. I don’t know why I feel that way, and it is very hard to admit this even to myself, but from the moment she first became ill, I looked at him differently. As though he hadn’t done enough. Or perhaps I blamed him for not saving her after Julie Miller’s murder. He hadn’t been strong enough. He hadn’t been a good enough husband. Couldn’t true love have helped Mom recover, salved her spirit?

Like I said, irrational.

My door was only open a crack, but it made me pause. I always lock it—hey, I live in a doorman-free building in Manhattan—but then again I had not been thinking straight of late. Perhaps in my haste to meet Katy Miller I’d just forgotten. That would be natural enough. And the dead bolt gets stuck sometimes. Maybe I’d never fully closed the door in the first place.

I frowned. Not likely.

I put my hand on a door panel and pushed ever so slightly. I waited to hear the door creak. It did not. I heard something. Faint at first. I leaned my head through the opening and immediately felt my insides turn to ice.

Nothing I saw was out of the ordinary. The lights were out, as a matter of fact. The blinds were drawn, so there was not much illumination. No, nothing out of the ordinary—or again, nothing that I could see. I stayed in the corridor and leaned in a little more.

But I could hear music.

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