Excerpts for Christmas List


Chapter One

Saturday , Three Weeks Before Christmas

James Kier looked back and forth between the newspaper headline and the photograph of himself, not sure if he should laugh or call his attorney. It was the same photograph the Tribune had used a couple of years earlier when they featured him on the front page of the business section. He had worn a silver herringbone-weave Armani over a black silk Tshirt for the photo session, the corner of an ebony silk handkerchief peeked strategically from the breast pocket. The black and white photograph was carefully posed and lighted to leave half his face in shadow. The photographer, a black-clad young Japanese man with a shock of bright pink hair, chose to shoot in black and white because, in the photographer's words, he was "going for a yin-yang effect -- to fully capture Kier's inner complexities." The photographer was good at his craft. Kier's expression revealed a leaky confidence.

While the photograph was the same, the headline could not have been more different. Not many people get to read their own obituary.

Local real estate mogul dies in automobile crash

Utah real estate developer James Kier was pronounced dead after his car collided with a concrete pylon on southbound I80. Rescue workers labored for more than an hour to remove the Salt Lake man's body from the wreckage. Authorities believe Kier may have had a heart attack prior to swerving off the road.

Kier was the president of Kier Company, one of the West's largest real estate development firms. He was known as a fierce, oftentimes ruthless, businessman. He once said, "If you want to make friends, join a book club. If you want to make money, go into business. Only a fool confuses the two."

Kier is survived by his son, James Kier II, and his wife, Sara. See page 1 of the business section for more on James Kier.

Kier put the paper down. Some idiot's going to lose his job over this, he thought.

He had no idea what the article was about to set in motion.

Copyright © 2009 by Richard Paul Evans

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