Nick, having called the police, waits anxiously in the kitchen for them to arrive. He has tried phoning Amy and has left her several messages, but she hasn’t returned any of his calls. Nick knows this behavior is unlike her, and given the disturbance in the living room, he is anxious for the “next part” of finding out where his wife is to begin. Outside it is a beautiful July day, and the calm atmosphere of the summer afternoon lends an incongruous casualness to the strange situation. Two officers, a woman named Velasquez and a man named Riordan, arrive to survey the house and question Nick.
Nick seems genuinely worried about his wife’s disappearance—but at the same time, his anxiousness to get onto the “next part” reveals a creeping dread and a cold acceptance of the procedure ahead of him.
As the officers ask Nick questions about his morning, and about Amy, the phone rings—it is the nearby nursing home where Go and Nick board their “Alzheimer’s-riddled father” Bill, a man both of them despise. Nick quickly hurries the nurse off the phone as the doorbell rings—two detectives have arrived.
Nick and Go don’t care for their father, Bill, adding another layer of emotional removal to the twins’ already cold outlook on most things and people.
The first detective, Rhonda Boney, strikes Nick as “brazenly beyond the scope of everyday ugly.” Her partner, Jim Gilpin, is a “fleshy” middle-aged man. They share a calm demeanor, and ask Nick run-of-the mill questions in spite of his increasing nervousness as to Amy’s whereabouts. He tells the detectives that he and Amy used to live in New York, and that he wrote about pop culture for a men’s magazine there. The detectives are a little contemptuous of Nick’s former career, but when he tells them that he now owns and operates The Bar, they’re both impressed. Nick shows the detectives upstairs, where Boney finds a present wrapped in silver. Nick explains that today is his and Amy’s anniversary.
The fact that Rhonda Boney is described, by Nick, as “brazenly […] ugly” suggests that he thinks of women by measuring their worth in terms of attractiveness. His casually cruel description of her demonstrates the underlying layer of misogyny which exists both in Nick’s heart and in the heart of the narrative itself.
Back downstairs, Nick looks at a picture on the wall of his and Amy’s wedding day. He recalls their Cape Cod ceremony, and gets lost in memories which lie even further back in their relationship. He remembers the day Amy told him the truth about her family, her fortune, and the Amazing Amy books. Nick was neither intimidated nor enticed by the Elliotts’ wealth, and though he admits to feeling a “heady” joy on vacations to their Cape home, he also remembers feeling disconnected on the day of their wedding.
The fact that Nick—a down-home Midwesterner of lower-middle-class upbringing—married the fabulously wealthy Amy is a point of interest to the police, who are looking for motive as to why someone might have kidnapped or even murdered Amy.
Boney comes over to Nick and examines the picture with him. Nick tells her that today is his and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. He feels jittery and can’t stand still—he wants to “do something” to find Amy rather than just standing around discussing his wife with the detectives. Gilpin, overhearing their conversation, lightly asks if they have reservations at Houston’s—the only upscale restaurant in Carthage. “Of course, Houston’s,” Nick replies—admitting silently that this is his “fifth lie” to the police so far.
As this chapter draws to a close, Nick admits that in the short time he’s been talking with the detectives, he’s lied to them five times already. This seems to point directly to his guilt—but as the narrative unfolds, Flynn will explore the power of secrets and lies, and the gray areas between cruelty and guilt.