Home > Back Spin (Myron Bolitar #4)(4)

Back Spin (Myron Bolitar #4)(4)
Author: Harlan Coben

Myron started to speak, stopped himself, softened his voice. Tread gently, fair Myron. Ever gently. “Did you have any idea where he was?”

“I assumed he was staying with his friend Matthew,” Linda Coldren replied.

Myron nodded, as if this statement showed brilliant insight. Then nodded again. “Chad told you that?”

“No.”

“So,” he said, aiming for casual, “for the past two days, you didn’t know where your son was.”

“I just told you: I thought he was staying with Matthew.”

“You didn’t call the police.”

“Of course not.”

Myron was about to ask another follow-up question, but her posture made him rethink his words. Linda took advantage of his indecisiveness. She walked to the kitchen with an upright, fluid grace. Myron followed. Bucky seemed to snap out of a trance and trailed.

“Let me make sure I’m following you,” Myron said, approaching from a different angle now. “Chad vanished before the tournament?”

“Correct,” she said. “The Open started Thursday.” Linda Coldren pulled the refrigerator handle. The door opened with a sucking pop. “Why? Is that important?”

“It eliminates a motive,” Myron said.

“What motive?”

“Tampering with the tournament,” Myron said. “If Chad had vanished today—with your husband holding such a big lead—I might think that someone was out to sabotage his chances of winning the Open. But two days ago, before the tournament had begun …”

“No one would have given Jack a snowball’s chance in hell,” she finished for him. “Oddsmakers would have put him at one in five thousand. At best.” She nodded as she spoke, seeing the logic. “Would you like some lemonade?” she asked.

“No, thanks.”

“Dad?”

Bucky shook his head. Linda Coldren bent down into the refrigerator.

“Okay,” Myron said, clapping his hand together, trying his best to sound casual. “We’ve ruled out one possibility. Let’s try another.”

Linda Coldren stopped and watched him. A gallon glass pitcher was gripped in her hand, her forearm bunching easily with the weight. Myron debated how to approach this. There was no easy way.

“Could your son be behind this?” Myron asked.

“What?”

“It’s an obvious question,” Myron said, “under the circumstances.”

She put the pitcher down on a wooden center block. “What the hell are you talking about? You think Chad faked his own kidnapping?”

“I didn’t say that. I said I wanted to check out the possibility.”

“Get out.”

“He was gone two days, and you didn’t call the police,” Myron said. “One possible conclusion is that there was some sort of tension here. That Chad had run away before.”

“Or,” Linda Coldren countered, her hands tightening into fists, “you could conclude that we trusted our son. That we gave him a level of freedom compatible with his level of maturity and responsibility.”

Myron looked over at Bucky. Bucky’s head was lowered. “If that’s the case—”

“That’s the case.”

“But don’t responsible kids tell their parents where they’re going? I mean, just to make sure they don’t worry.”

Linda Coldren took out a glass with too much care. She set it on the counter and slowly poured herself some lemonade. “Chad has learned to be very independent,” she said as the glass filled. “His father and I are both professional golfers. That means, quite frankly, that neither one of us is home very often.”

“Your being away so much,” Myron said. “Has it led to tension?”

Linda Coldren shook her head. “This is useless.”

“I’m just trying—”

“Look, Mr. Bolitar, Chad did not fake this. Yes, he’s a teenager. No, he’s not perfect, and neither are his parents. But he did not fake his own kidnapping. And if he did—I know he didn’t, but let’s just pretend for the sake of argument that he did—then he is safe and we do not need you. If this is some kind of cruel deception, we’ll learn it soon enough. But if my son is in danger, then following this line of thought is a waste of time I can ill afford.”

Myron nodded. She had a point. “I understand,” he said.

“Good.”

“Have you called his friend since you heard from the kidnapper? The one you thought he might’ve been staying with?”

“Matthew Squires, yes.”

“Did Matthew have any idea where he was?”

“None.”

“They’re close friends, right?”

“Yes.”

“Very close?”

She frowned. “Yes, very.”

“Does Matthew call here a lot?”

“Yes. Or they talk by E-mail.”

“I’ll need Matthew’s phone number,” Myron said.

“But I just told you I spoke to him already.”

“Humor me,” Myron said. “Okay, now let’s back up a second. When was the last time you saw Chad?”

“The day he disappeared.”

“What happened?”

She frowned again. “What do you mean, what happened? He left for summer school. I haven’t seen him since.”

Myron studied her. She stopped and looked back at him a little too steadily. Something here was not adding up. “Have you called the school,” he asked, “to see if he was there that day?”

“I didn’t think of it.”

Myron checked his watch. Friday. Five P.M. “I doubt anyone will still be there, but give it a shot. Do you have more than one phone line?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t call on the line the kidnapper called in on. I don’t want the line tied up in case he calls back.”

She nodded. “Okay.”

“Does your son have any credit cards or ATM cards or anything like that?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll need a list. And the numbers, if you have them.”

She nodded again.

Myron said, “I’m going to call a friend, see if I can get an override Caller ID put in on this line. For when he calls back. I assume Chad has a computer?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Where is it?”

“Up in his room.”

“I’m going to download everything on it to my office via his modem. I have an assistant named Esperanza. She’ll comb through it and see what she can find.”

 

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