I COULDN'T LET it end like that-it just wasn't in me. One night a couple of weeks later, I arrived at the house in Great Falls, Virginia, at a little past three in the morning. Interesting to me, and more than a little creepy, I had received a call from the psychopath Kyle Craig earlier in the week. Cool as ever, Kyle said he was glad I had gotten my family back, and then he hung up before I could say a word to him.I focused and walked to the front door of a redbrick colonial that was obsessively well kept. I rang the bell a couple of times and waited. I looked at my watch. 3:11. After a few minutes, the overhead porch light flicked on. Then the door slowly opened.The CIA's Steven Millard stood there wearing a dark blue terrycloth robe, his legs and feet bare. He didn't look so impressive without a suit and tie. I heard a woman's voice call from upstairs, "Steve, is everything all right down there?""Go back to sleep, Emma. It's just work," he called back.Then Millard's eyes came back to mine. "What do you want at my house at three in the morning, Detective Cross? This better be worth it.""Why don't you invite me in and I'll tell you all about it. I could use some coffee. So could you."
WE WENT INSIDE and sat in the kitchen, which looked as though it had been refurbished recently. Millard didn't offer coffee or anything else to drink, so I started to tell him why I'd come out to Virginia in the middle of the night."I spent some time at Ellie Cox's before I went to Africa. Your people did a good job in there. I found her partial manuscript, of course. Even some notes she made while she was in Nigeria. Everything looked just fine, though. Nothing incriminating."Millard listened patiently, nodded, waiting for the punch line.I stared at him for a while, and I was thinking about the idea of "good guys." Were there any left? I thought so. I sure hoped so."So that's why you're here? To let me know that everything is fine?" Millard spoke again."Looked fine. Just like it was supposed to. But last week I went back to the Cox house. At that point I had enough time to be a real detective again. I talked to Elbe's editor at Georgetown University Press. He hadn't gotten the last section of Elbe's manuscript, which surprised him. That was the part that detailed her trip to Nigeria.""Maybe she never got to write it," Millard suggested. "That would make sense, wouldn't it, Detective? It could be why she was targeted and murdered.""I guess so. But if that was true, why would I be here at three in the morning, when I could be home sleeping?"Millard's brow furrowed. He was starting to show some irritation and I couldn't blame him. "Maybe because you never properly thanked me for finding and bringing home your family? You're welcome. Now you can go. Go."I hit Steven Millard then. It was a strong right hand that lifted him right out of the kitchen chair, and knocked him onto the pinewood floor. His nose was bleeding, but he didn't go out. I could tell he wasn't sure where he was; his hands were feeling around the floor for some purchase."That's for taking my family in the first place," I said to him."Ellie had a typist for her manuscripts," I went on. "A woman in DC named Barbara Groszewski. I found that out through some checks Ellie paid every month."The good news, the reason I'm here, is that Barbara Groszewski had the last part of Ellie's manuscript, the section where she traveled to Lagos and met Adanne Tansi among others. Ian Flaherty is mentioned several times in the pages.So are you, Millard. Adanne was aware of what you and Flaherty were up to."In fact, you were the one who set up the oil meetings with the Chinese. You took their bribes. And you were the one who hired Sowande, the Tiger."You're under arrest, Millard, and the Central Intelligence Agency isn't going to protect you. They've already given you over to us. So maybe there still are some good guys left."Millard actually smiled. "A manuscript? Part of one? A writer's notes? You have nothing to hold me on.""I think we do," I told him. "I'm sure of it."I opened the kitchen door and let in several agents from the FBI, including my buddy Ned Mahoney. These were definitely the good guys.I turned back to Millard. "Oh, I left out the best part, the most important. We found Ian Flaherty. You lied about holding him. In fact, we have Flaherty now. He's talking. That's why I'm arresting you. You're going down, Millard. You made a big mistake in judgment.""What was that?" Millard finally asked.Now it was my turn to smile. "You should've killed me when you had the chance. I'm very persistent. I don't ever give up."Thus spake the Dragon Slayer.On my way home, at around five that morning, my cell phone started to ring. I grabbed it off the seat and answered with my name.I heard a voice that I didn't want to hear, not ever again, but especially not now."You are so damn impressive, Alex. I'm awfully proud of you," said Kyle Craig. "Believe it or not, I was right there in Millard's house with you. Guess I'm kind of special myself. And I don't give up either."Then Kyle clicked off.And as always, he was scarier than anyone else.JAMES PATTERSON published his first thriller in 1976 and since then has become one of the best-known and bestselling writers of all time, with more than 140 million copies of his books sold worldwide. He is the author of the two most popular detective series of the past decade, featuring Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club, and he has written numerous other #1 bestsellers. He has won an Edgar Award-the mystery world's highest honor-and his novels Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider were made into feature films starring Morgan Freeman. His charity, the James Patterson PageTurner Awards, has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to individuals and groups that promote the excitement of books and reading. He lives in Florida.For previews of forthcoming books by James Patterson and more information about the author, visit www.JamesPatterson.com