The Perfect Murder (Maximum Security #4) - Kat Martin


Galveston, Texas

The last day of July

Seconds after the chopper lifted off the pad, Reese felt the odd vibration. Along with the pilot and copilot and five members of the crew, the Eurocopter EC135 was headed for the Poseidon offshore drilling platform.

For a moment, the ride leveled out and Reese relaxed against his seat. As CEO of Garrett Resources, the billion-dollar oil and gas company he owned with his brothers, he was always searching for the right investment to expand company holdings, the reason he was flying out to the platform.

For months he’d been working with Sea Titan Drilling, the owner of the offshore rig, to complete the five-hundred-million-dollar purchase—an extremely good value when the average price of a similar rig was around six-fifty.

The vibration returned and with it came a grinding noise that put Reese on alert. The men in the cabin began to glance back and forth and shift nervously in their seats. A sharp jolt, then the chopper seemed to fall out of the sky. It climbed again, began to dip and sway, dropped then climbed as the pilot fought for control.

The pilot’s deep voice rumbled through the headset. “We’ve got a problem. I don’t want you to panic, but we need to find a place to set down.”

There was definitely a problem, Reese realized, as the vibration continued to worsen. The chopper was out of control and the whole cabin was shaking as if it would break apart at any minute. His pulse was hammering, his adrenaline pumping.

Along with the men in the crew who rode to and from the rig every few weeks, he stared out the window toward the ground. They were no longer above the heliport. Clearly the pilot was looking for an open space big enough to handle the thirty-six-foot blade span. All Reese could see were the rooftops of nearby warehouses and metal commercial buildings.

The chopper kept shaking. The crew was grim-faced but resigned. The pilot did something to take the pitch out of the rotors, and the chopper started falling.

“No need to worry,” the pilot reassured them. “We’ll autorotate down. I’ve done it a dozen times.”

Autorotate down. Reese knew the concept, the technique helicopter pilots used to land when the engine failed. The trick was to find a safe place to hit the ground.

Both engines went silent. The blades were flat now, the wind whistling through them, tying his stomach into a knot.

“Brace for impact,” the pilot said. Below them, Reese spotted an open flat slab of asphalt in the yard of a small trucking firm—the only possible landing site anywhere around. Trouble was it didn’t look wide enough to handle the blades.

At the last second, the pilot flared the helicopter’s engine in an effort to slow the descent, then the ground rushed up and the chopper hit with a jolt that racked Reese’s whole body.

For an instant, he thought they were going to make it. Then one of the spinning rotor blades clipped the corner of a building and tore free. The Plexiglas bubble of the cockpit shattered as the long metal blades exploded into a hundred deadly pieces, careening like knives through the air, slicing into buildings and the cabin of the helicopter.

Reese didn’t feel the impact. One moment he was conscious, then the world suddenly went black.

Seconds later, he awoke to urgent cries in the cabin, which was filled with smoke and the orange-and-red flicker of flames. The guy seated across from him had a piece of iron sticking out of the middle of his forehead, lines of blood running down his face. Blank eyes stared at nothing.

Cursing, his head throbbing, Reese popped his seat belt and tried to get up, but his body refused to cooperate. His vison blurred, his mind went blank, and again darkness descended.

* * *

Something stirred in his consciousness.

When Reese opened his eyes, monitors beeped next to his bedside and he realized he was lying in a hospital room. He had no idea how much time had passed since the crash, but by the end of the day, he knew the pilot and one of the Poseidon crewmen had died. He remembered the man’s blank stare and thought how it could have been him.

What had happened? No one seemed to know. Reese wanted answers. The National Transportation Safety Board would be in charge of the investigation. He would leave it to them, he thought. For now.

Reese closed his eyes and let the pain meds suck him under.


Four weeks later

Dallas, Texas

For McKenzie Haines, her day