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The governor saw his indictment coming, naturally, and the word is his lawyers are trying to work something out with the feds as well. I don't know how that will play out.

Charlie and Hector will probably spend the rest of their lives in prison on the murder charges, which I highly doubt they can beat. Madison and Mac will probably do somewhere between five and ten. The governor? Probably the high side of that same range.

I probably will never have to testify. The corruption stuff will probably all go down in plea bargains, without a trial ever taking place. Perhaps I'll have to testify at a federal murder trial against Hector and Charlie, but my guess is that those guys will take a plea on that at some point. The evidence against them is overwhelming, my testimony aside, including the cooperation of all four of the goons who pulled off Greg Connolly's death. Hector and Charlie are toast.

Federico Hurtado-Kiko-is literally toast. Apparently the Latin Lords decided that he'd become a liability, given the federal government's interest and Kiko's depth of knowledge of criminal wrongdoing in their empire. Someone put a bullet in his brain, then doused him in gasoline and lit a match.

Me? I'm just "Private Attorney A." The papers had a field day with the arrest warrants issued back in March and the subsequent indictment, decoding all the described partic.i.p.ants-"Lobbyist 1," "Public Official D," "State Contractor 39"-and they guessed correctly about me. I've never admitted it or offered comment of any kind, but I actually received some favorable coverage, in any event. The U.S. attorney's office had made me the big hero, after all.



"Okay, kiddo."

I turned back. Shauna had her coat on. One look at me, and she knew I wasn't ready to leave just yet. She walked up to me and lightly grabbed my arm.

"You okay?" she said. Her eyes moved to the mantel in the living room, the framed photograph of Talia in the hospital, holding Emily Jane, the only item of mine still remaining in the house.

She took the frame and handed it to me. "They're always with you, right? They always will be, Jason. Wherever you go. This is just a house."

I tried to smile. I couldn't find words.

"I'll be in the car," she said, breaking away from me. "Take all the time you want."

I took a deep breath. "No, that's okay," I said. "I'm ready."

I took Shauna's hand and walked out of the townhouse, the picture frame clutched against my chest.

Acknowledgments.

I never stray too far into matters of federal law enforcement without consulting one of my closest friends, and one of the best lawyers I've ever known, Dan Collins, an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago. Dan helped me understand the basics of a federal undercover operation, circa 2007-2008. He did not review this material before publication, and any mistakes I have made are purely my own.

For my knowledge of federal wiretap and surveillance technology, I must credit the testimony of former assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully at the House Impeachment hearings concerning Governor Rod Blagojevich and at the Senate Impeachment Trial. It is sometimes scary what the federal government can do, but it's heartening to know that they have to jump through many legal hurdles and safeguards to do it.

My good friend Matt Stennes, a former federal prosecutor, gave me insight into prosecuting a political corruption case and patiently answered my questions. Again, any mistakes I may have made in translation are entirely my own.

I want to thank the federal prosecutors with whom I collaborated during the impeachment proceedings for their courtesy and professionalism, and for teaching me things without realizing it: U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald and assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary Shapiro, Tom Walsh, Dave Glockner, Reid Schar, and Ed Chang. Special thanks as well to FBI Special Agent Dan Cain. The prosecutor depicted in this novel bears absolutely no resemblance to these individuals.

Thank you to Ivan Held, for your friendship, confidence, and support. Thank you to Michael Barson and Summer Smith, for doing your best to make me look good. Thank you to Rachel Kahan, for an incredible eye for nuance, pace, and atmosphere and for putting up with me, and to the paperback publishers at Berkley-Leslie Gelbman, Susan Allison, and Tom Colgan-for making sure readers come back year after year. Thank you, as always, to Larry Kirshbaum and Susanna Einstein and everyone at LJK Literary for your enthusiasm and guidance.

Abigail and Julia are my oxygen, the two little human beings in this world who can lift me skyward with a smile or a hug. And Susan: Every day with you is better than the last. You ladies are my universe.

Author's Note.

Good fiction mirrors reality. But writing about actual events isn't fiction at all. This book is fiction. The events depicted in this novel did not happen. The characters in this novel are not people I know. Like most fictional characters, they are a composite of a number of different people plus a very healthy dose of my own imagination. This is a work of fiction.

ALSO BY DAVID ELLIS.

The Hidden Man*

Eye of the Beholder.

In the Company of Liars.

Jury of One.

Life Sentence.

Line of Vision.

*A Jason Kolarich Novel.

end.





CHAPTER DISCUSSION