The Final Detail: A Myron Bolitar Novel

PRAISE FOR
THE
FINAL DETAIL

“In a genre crowded with accidental detectives who seem invented only to lure cat-loving vegetarians and other special-interest readers, Myron Bolitar stands out. The Edgar Award–winning author gives his characters memorable personalities … they are never plain-vanilla.”


USA Today


The Final Detail captures the author’s
trademark humor, but don’t let Coben’s wry observations fool you. They gift wrap keen insights into our society, particularly America’s obsession with sports figures.”


The Washington Post Book World

“Coben has melded sly humor, sophisticated plotting, and solid storytelling with bizarre yet believable characters. Coben has sculpted Myron into one of the most likable guys …. [
The Final Detail
] secures even further Coben’s place as a writer of substantial mysteries.”


Chicago Tribune

“An amusing whodunit with an endearing sports agent … a hilarious tour of over-the-top New York.”


Los Angeles Times

“This is a terrific entry in a terrific series.”


Kansas City Star

“A crackerjack mystery.”


Kirkus Reviews

“The strongest entry yet in a series that deftly balances realism with excitement.”


Publishers Weekly

PRAISE FOR HARLAN COBEN
AND
THE MYRON BOLITAR NOVELS

“Harlan Coben is the freshest new voice in the crowded mystery-thriller field. Myron and Win are the best duo since Spenser and Hawk, Coben’s plots are gripping and the books have a terrific mix of comedy, suspense, and drama.”


PHILLIP MARGOLIN

“Like fellow-wisecracking P.I.’s Spenser and Elvis Cole, Myron Bolitar is great fun in the best hard-boiled tradition.”


Houston Chronicle

“Harlan Coben brings a new and exciting voice to the mystery genre.”


The Armchair Detective

“MYRON BOLITAR IS ONE OF THE MOST ENGAGING HEROES IN MYSTERY FICTION.”


DENNIS LEHANE

“Coben is writing one of the best humorous hard-boiled series around.”


Mystery News

“If you’ve been entertaining doubts about the future of the mystery—fugeddaboutit! It’s in good hands with Harlan Coben.”


LAWRENCE BLOCK

“THE WORLD NEEDS TO DISCOVER HARLAN COBEN. He’s smart, he’s funny, and he has something to say.”


MICHAEL CONNELLY

“Harlan Coben is a terrific writer.”


PETER STRAUB

BOOKS BY HARLAN COBEN

DEAL BREAKER

DROP SHOT

FADE AWAY

BACK SPIN

ONE FALSE MOVE

THE FINAL DETAIL

DARKEST FEAR

TELL NO ONE

GONE FOR GOOD

NO SECOND CHANCE

JUST ONE LOOK

THE INNOCENT

PROMISE ME

THE WOODS

HOLD TIGHT

CAUGHT] AFTER [CAUGHT]

Contents

Cover

Praise For: The Final Detail

Praise for Harlan Coben and The Myron Bolitar Novels

Other Books By This Author

Title Page

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

About the Author

Copyright

For Aunt Evelyn in Revere,
with lots and lots of love

And in memory of Larry Gerson
1962–1998
Close your eyes and you can still see the smile

CHAPTER
1

Myron lay sprawled next to a knee-knockingly gorgeous brunette clad only in a Class-B-felony bikini, a tropical drink sans umbrella in one hand, the aqua clear Caribbean water lapping at his feet, the sand a dazzling white powder, the sky a pure blue that could only be God’s blank canvas, the sun as soothing and rich as a Swedish masseur with a snifter of cognac, and he was intensely miserable.

The two of them had been on this island paradise for, he guessed, three weeks. Myron had not bothered counting the days. Neither, he imagined, had Terese. The island seemed as remote as Gilligan’s—no phone, some lights, no motorcar, plenty of luxury, not much like Robinson Crusoe, and well, not as primitive as can be either. Myron shook his head. You can take the boy out of the television, but you can’t take the television out of the boy.

At the horizon’s midway point, slicing toward them and ripping a seam of white in the aqua-blue fabric, came the yacht. Myron saw it, and his stomach clenched.

He did not know where they were exactly, though the island did indeed have a name: St. Bacchanals. Yes, for real. It was a small patch of planet, owned by one of those
mega-cruise lines that used one side of the island for passengers to swim and barbecue and enjoy a day on their “own personal island paradise.” Personal. Just them and the other twenty-five hundred
turistas
squeezed onto a short stretch of beach. Yep, personal, bacchanallike.

This side of the island, however, was quite different. There was only this one home, owned by the cruise line’s CEO, a hybrid between a thatched hut and a plantation manor. The only person within a mile was a servant. Total island population: maybe thirty, all of whom worked as caretakers hired by the cruise line.

The yacht shut off its engine and drifted closer.

Terese Collins lowered her Bolle sunglasses and frowned. In three weeks no vessel except the mammoth cruise liners—they had subtle names like the
Sensation
or the
Ecstasy
or the
G Spot
—had ambled past their stretch of sand.

“Did you tell anybody where we were?” she asked.

“No.”

“Maybe it’s John.”

John was the aforementioned CEO of said cruise line, a friend of Terese’s.

“I don’t think so,” Myron said.

Myron had first met Terese Collins, well, a little more than three weeks ago. Terese was “on leave” from her high-profile job as prime-time anchorwoman for CNN. They both had been bullied into going to some charity function by well-meaning friends and had been immediately drawn to each other as though their mutual misery and pain were magnetic. It started as little more than a dare: Drop everything and flee. Just disappear with someone you found attractive and barely knew. Neither backed down, and twelve hours later they were in St. Maarten. Twenty-four hours after that they were here.

For Myron, a man who had slept with a total of four women in his entire life, who had never really experienced one-night stands even in the days when they were fashionable or ostensibly disease-free, who had never had sex purely for the physical sensation and without the anchors of love or commitment, the decision to flee felt surprisingly right.

He had told no one where he was going or for how long—mostly because he didn’t have a clue himself. He’d called Mom and Dad and told them not to worry, a move tantamount to telling them to grow gills and breathe underwater. He’d sent Esperanza a fax and gave her power of attorney over MB SportsReps, the sports agency they now partnered. He had not even called Win.

Terese was watching him. “You know who it is.”

Myron said nothing. His heartbeat sped up.

The yacht came closer. A cabin door in the front opened, and as Myron feared, Win stepped out on deck. Panic squeezed the air out of him. Win was not one for casual drop-bys. If he was here, it meant something was very wrong.

Myron stood. He was still too far to yell, so he settled for a wave. Win gave a small nod.

“Wait a second,” Terese said. “Isn’t that the guy whose family owns Lock-Horne Securities?”

“Yes.”

“I interviewed him once. When the market plunged. He has some long, pompous name.”

“Windsor Horne Lockwood the third,” Myron said.

“Right. Weird guy.”

She should only know.

“Good-looking as all hell,” Terese continued, “in that old-money, country-club, born-with-a-silver-golf-club-in-his-hands kinda way.”

As though on cue, Win put a hand through the blond locks and smiled.

“You two have something in common,” Myron said.

“What’s that?”

“You both think he’s good-looking as all hell.”

Terese studied Myron’s face. “You’re going back.” There was a hint of apprehension in her voice.

Myron nodded. “Win wouldn’t have come otherwise.”

She took his hand. It was the first tender moment between them in the three weeks since the charity ball. That might sound strange—lovers alone on an island, the sex constant, who had never shared a gentle kiss or a light stroke or soft words—but their relationship had been about forgetting and surviving: two desperate souls standing in the rubble with no interest in trying to rebuild a damn thing.

Terese had spent most days taking long walks by herself; he’d spent them sitting on the beach and exercising and sometimes reading. They met up for food, sleep, and sex. Other than that, they left each other alone to—if not heal—at least stave off the blood flow. He could see that she too had been shattered, that some recent tragedy had struck her deep and hard and to the bone. But he never asked her what had happened. And she never asked him either.

An unspoken rule of their little folly.

The yacht stopped and dropped anchor. Win stepped down onto a motorized dinghy. Myron waited. He shifted his feet, bracing himself. When the dinghy was close enough to the shore, Win snapped off the motor.

“My parents?” Myron called out.

Win shook his head. “They’re fine.”

“Esperanza?”

Slight hesitation. “She needs your help.”

Win stepped gingerly into the water, almost as though he expected it to hold his weight. He was dressed in a white button-down oxford and Lilly Pulitzer shorts with colors loud enough to repel sharks. The Yacht Yuppie. His build was on the slight side, but his forearms looked like steel snakes coiling beneath the skin.

Terese stood as Win approached. Win admired the view without ogling. He was one of the few men Myron knew who could get away with that. Breeding. He took Terese’s hand and smiled. They exchanged pleasantries. Fake smiles and pointless bandies followed. Myron stood frozen, not listening. Terese excused herself and headed to the house.

Win carefully watched her saunter away. Then he said, “Quality derrière.”

“Would you be referring to me?” Myron asked.

Win kept his eyes keenly focused on the, er, target. “On television she’s always sitting behind that anchor desk,” he noted. “One would never guess that she had such a high-quality derrière.” He shook his head. “It’s a shame really.”

“Right,” Myron said. “Maybe she should stand a couple times during each broadcast. Twirl around a few times, bend over, something like that.”

“There you go.” Win risked a quick glance at Myron. “Take any action snapshots, perhaps a videotape?”

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