Gone for Good Page 66

“What did he say?”

“That you were in love with Sheila.” Tanya moved closer to the lamp. It was hard not to look away. She finally sat and gestured for me to do likewise. “Is that true?”


“Did you murder her?” Tanya asked.

The question startled me. “No.”

She did not seem convinced.

“I don’t understand,” I said. “You came to help?”


“Then why did you run off ?”

“You haven’t figured that out?”

I shook my head.

She sat—more like collapsed—onto a chair. Her hands fell into her lap, and her body started rocking back and forth.


“I heard your name,” she said.


“You asked why I ran off.” She stopped rocking. “It was because I heard your name.”

“I don’t understand.”

She looked at the door again. “Louis didn’t know who you were. Neither did I—not until I heard your name at the service, when Squares eulogized her. You’re Will Klein.”


“And”—her voice grew soft now, so soft I had to lean forward to hear it—“you’re Ken’s brother.”


“You knew my brother?”

“We met. A long time ago.”


“Through Sheila.” She straightened her back and looked at me. It was odd. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. That’s nonsense. Tanya’s eyes were normal. I saw no scars there, no hint of defect, no shade of her history or her torments. “Louis told you about a big-time gangster who got involved with Sheila.”


“That was your brother.”

I shook my head. I was about to protest further, but I held it back when I saw that she had more to say.

“Sheila never fit into this lifestyle. She was too ambitious. She and Ken found each other. He helped set her up at a fancy college in Connecticut, but that was more to sell drugs than anything else. Out here, you see guys slicing up each other’s intestines for a spot on a street corner. But a fancy rich-kid school, if you could move in and control that, you could score an easy mint.”

“And you’re saying that my brother set this up?”

She started rocking again. “Are you seriously telling me you didn’t know?”


“I thought—” She stopped.


She shook her head. “I don’t know what I thought.”

“Please,” I said.

“It’s just weird. First Sheila’s with your brother. Now she pops up again with you. And you act like you don’t know anything about it.”

Again, I did not know how to respond. “So what happened to Sheila?”

“You’d know better than me.”

“No, I mean back then. When she was up at this college.”

“I never saw her after she left the life. I got a couple of calls, that’s all. But those stopped too. But Ken was bad news. You and Squares, you seemed nice. Like maybe she found some good. But then when I heard your name . . .” She shrugged the thought away.

“Does the name Carly mean anything to you?” I asked.

“No. Should it?”

“Did you know that Sheila had a daughter?”

That got Tanya rocking again. Her voice was pained. “Oh God.”

“You knew?”

She shook her head hard. “No.”

I followed right up. “Do you know a Philip McGuane?”

Still shaking her head. “No.”

“How about John Asselta? Or Julie Miller?”

“No,” she said quickly. “I don’t know any of these people.” She stood now and spun away from me. “I had hoped she escaped,” she said.

“She did,” I said. “For a time.”

I saw her shoulders slump. Her breathing seemed even more labored. “It should have ended better for her.”

Tanya started toward the door then. I did not follow. I looked back to Louis Castman’s room. Again I thought that there were two prisoners here. Tanya stopped. I could feel her eyes on me. I turned to her.

“There are surgeries,” I said to her. “Squares knows people. We can help.”

“No, thank you.”

“You can’t live on vengeance forever.”

She tried a smile. “You think that’s what this is about?” She pointed to her mutilated face. “You think I keep him here because of this?”

I was confused again.

Tanya shook her head. “He told you how he recruited Sheila?”

I nodded.

“He gives himself all the credit. He talks about his natty clothes and smooth lines. But most of the girls, even the ones fresh off the bus, they’re afraid to go with a guy alone. So you see, what really made the difference was that Louis had a partner. A woman. To help close the sale. To lull the girls into feeling safe.”

She waited. Her eyes were dry. A tremor began deep inside me and spread out. Tanya moved to the door. She opened it for me. I left and never went back.


There were two phone messages on my voice mail. The first was from Sheila’s mother, Edna Rogers. Her tone was stiff and impersonal. The funeral would be in two days, she stated, at a chapel in Mason, Idaho. Mrs. Rogers gave me times and addresses and directions from Boise. I saved the message.

The second was from Yvonne Sterno. She said it was urgent that I call her right away. Her tone was one of barely restrained excitement. That made me uneasy. I wondered if she’d learned the true identity of Owen Enfield—and if she had, would that be a positive or negative thing?

Yvonne answered on the first ring.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Got something big here, Will.”

“I’m listening.”

“We should have realized it earlier.”

“What’s that?”

“Put the pieces together. A guy with a pseudonym. The FBI’s strong interest. All the secrecy. A small community in a quiet area. You with me?”

“Not really, no.”

“Cripco was the key,” she went on. “As I said, it’s a dummy corporation. So I checked with a few sources. Truth is, they don’t try to hide them that hard. The cover isn’t that deep. The way they figure it, if someone spots the guy, they know or they don’t know. They aren’t going to do a big background check.”

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