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A spoilerific summary of Chapters 1-28.

Keith loses the election. Gory breaks into Logan's suite at the Neptune Grand, breaking the fish sculpture and peeing on Logan's bed, and Keith finds out that Vinnie and the DA plan to pursue felony charges against him. They realize that any investigation will cause Veronica's B&E at the Kane mansion to come to light as well. Veronica, Logan, and Keith decide to flee Neptune, and they lay numerous fake trails and drive to the east in a slightly illegal car provided by Weevil.

Once they're on the road, the dismal reality of life on the run begins to sink in. Logan reveals that he's on probation for beating up Mercer and Moe in the Neptune jail. Keith, feeling Logan is endangering them, wants Logan to go on his own, but Veronica chases after Logan, and Keith reluctantly decides to keep going as a team. Logan tells them about his preliminary hearing and his plea agreement, and Veronica realizes that the party in Aspen when Logan slept with Madison was right before Logan's hearing. They reach out to Cliff back in Neptune and find out that Vinnie has filed charges for Keith's crimes, and, more ominously, Gory has filed a complaint on Logan for having assaulted him in the food court. Logan's probation has officially been revoked, and both he and Keith are listed on the NCIC computer system used by law enforcement.

When Keith leaves on a mysterious errand, Logan and Veronica comfort each other, talking about some of their mistakes and misunderstandings. Keith returns, reeking of scotch, with newspapers and tabloids, and they search for any mention of themselves. But they've been pushed off the front page by the escapades of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, and the only mention is a small article about Logan in the 'Weekly World News', a trashy tabloid. Later that night, Logan and Veronica find each in the motel bathroom and reunite, in an episode fraught with tentativeness and memories of old times, bad and good.

Keith privately tells Veronica he knows about the bathroom encounter, and is surprisingly calm—on the surface. He tells Logan and Veronica that he feels that they haven't been cautious enough, and they will not only have to work harder on their disguises, but he is also purchasing weapons for all three of them. They split up, and when Keith and Veronica go to pick up Logan, they see him being arrested, while an elderly woman is being treated by paramedics.

Keith and Veronica mount a daring rescue of Logan. With Veronica driving, they flee the scene. They successfully manage to trick the police into thinking they're heading east on the highway, but instead backtrack to a parking garage not far from where Logan was arrested. They steal a new car, Keith dresses as a woman, and Logan and Veronica hide in the trunk so they can get through the police roadblocks.

In the trunk, Veronica explains to Logan that they'll be splitting up, each of them taking zigzagging routes via Greyhound, hoping to meet up in a few days in Chapel Hill, NC. The heat builds up quickly in the car, and they're forced to stop when Veronica begins showing symptoms of heat stroke.

On the Greyhound, Veronica hides in plain sight by teaming up with another young woman. But then she is noticed by three horny college boys, who attach themselves to her and prevent her from ditching at the stop she intends. Forced to go out of her way, she spends a few hours in the Joplin, MO, bus terminal before catching a bus for Atlanta.

In the layover at St. Louis, she recognizes a schizophrenic man she'd seen in Joplin, accompanied by an ominous-looking man in a brown suit. Just before the man catches up to her, she jumps on another bus bound for Chicago, even as she realizes that her pursuer will know exactly where she's going and when she'll get there.

After her narrow escape from 'Brown Suit Guy' in St. Louis, Veronica ends up sitting next to a stringy-haired stoner dude, with whom Veronica has a bitchy exchange. Veronica warns her dad and Logan by sending them a text, and then 'bricks' the phone in case she's captured. Brown Suit Guy is ostentatiously following the bus as it heads to Chicago, and in desperation she asks the stoner dude to buy her some food at the rest stop. While Veronica's hiding on the bus, Brown Suit Guy threatens Veronica by banging on her window. She enters into an unlikely partnership with the stoner dude, Lynard, as the bus continues on to Chicago.

Lynard helps Veronica get safely out of the bus terminal in Chicago, by pretending to be her boyfriend and then telling a cop that Brown Suit Guy stole his wallet to let her get away. But Brown Suit Guy and his companion see Veronica jump in a taxi; despite her efforts to shake them, they tail her in a dark blue sedan to Union Station. She doubles back and gets another cab heading for the Navy Pier, a tourist attraction on Lake Michigan. All seems to be clear, with no one following her, and then suddenly a dark blue sedan is behind her again.

Veronica leads her pursuer into Navy Pier, a tourist attraction on Lake Michigan. She identifies him (thirties, dark hair and a blue windbreaker) and disguises herself as a tourist. Just as she is about to exit Navy Pier, Brown Suit Guy shows up in a taxi. The two men pursue her into a park; she hides behind a pillar in a gazebo as they track her. She fires three shots wildly and takes off running, but one of the bullets hits the man in the blue windbreaker, and he does not survive.

Veronica manages to get away and, after a few more subterfuges and false trails around Chicago, she spends the night in Chinatown to regroup. In the morning, she creates a new disguise (reddish-brown hair dye, more mature haircut and clothes, glasses and high heels). She takes a cab to South Bend, Indiana and from there, Amtrak to Philadelphia and then south to Charlotte, disembarking at Raleigh and taking a taxi to meet her father in Chapel Hill.

On the final leg of her journey, she's tormented by thoughts of the shooting in Chicago.

Veronica finally makes it to Chapel Hill and reunites with Logan and her dad. The apartment is dismal and small, and her dad has taken a position as handyman/janitor for the apartment complex. She discovers that the paparazzi have gotten wind of Logan's difficulties, and he's featured in the latest issue of People magazine. Both Logan and Keith agree that Veronica's pursuers seem more intense than the situation warrants.

She's unable to sleep, obsessing about what happened in Chicago. Logan ends up rocking her to sleep, with Keith's approval. The next day, Logan tries to initiate an intimate moment, but Veronica is tense and uncertain. She's unable to stop thinking about everything that's bothering her, including her own difficulties with maintaining a healthy relationship, and they agree to take it slow.

Logan, Veronica, and her dad take another look at their copy of The Castle hard drive in an attempt to figure out why the Russian mafia pursued Veronica so relentlessly in Chicago. They consider the theory that Jake Kane is involved. Logan is assigned the task of transcribing all the recent audio and video confessions while he is stuck hiding in the apartment. Keith forbids Veronica from researching on the Internet.

Veronica has a terrible nightmare: Gory, with Jake Kane egging him on, threatens to rape her to force her to reveal the location of her copy of the hard drive. Veronica wakes up, disoriented and terrified, and hides in the bathroom. Logan hears her and goes to her, but her dad isn't aware of her distress.

Veronica gets a job at J. Crew and Logan starts transcribing the Castle confessions, and the three of them settle into their new life in Chapel Hill. She secretly purchases a wireless modem, but hesitates to disobey her dad's orders not to access the Internet. Her nightmares continue and she clings to Logan at night, but she doesn't initiate sex and he doesn't try anymore.

Veronica finally tells Logan the substance of her nightmare—the imagined interrogation by Gory and Jake Kane, mixed with real-life details from the shooting in Chicago, her rape, and Mercer's attempt to rape her. Logan pushes her to tell her dad about Shelly's party and the nightmare. They argue, and Veronica shows Logan the modem, declaring that she's going to find a way to get their old lives back. He accuses her of going back to her old risk-taking ways and of not loving him enough to accept the safety of this new life, and the fight escalates. She escapes the apartment, trying to dissipate her anger by going for a run.

On her run, her emotions overwhelm her; it begins to rain and she turns into a sodden mess. She encounters a police car and imagines that they've identified her as a fugitive.

She stumbles back to the apartment and tries to be vulnerable to Logan, vowing that she'll tell her dad 'everything'. Craving his touch, she tries to cue Logan that she's finally ready to be intimate with him again. At first he resists, frightened that some of her distress is because she's still blaming him for her rape. But as she surrenders to him, completely exhausted both emotionally and physically, he takes care of her, and they tumble into bed.

Veronica has a terrible day of worrying after finally deciding to tell her father about Shelly Pomroy's party; at J. Crew, she lashes out at her co-worker, Jeff, when he makes a pass at her.

Veronica nervously tells her dad about the rape, explaining Cassidy and Duncan's roles that night. Keith presses her for more details, and Logan, over Veronica's objections, tells her father that he was the one who brought the Liquid X to Shelly's party. Keith blows up and reacts physically, striking Logan several times, and Veronica has a dissociative crisis, brought on by PTSD and the unrelenting stress of their escape from Neptune. She locks herself in the bathroom to escape the altercation between Logan and her dad.

Keith and Logan, working together, get her out and calmed down. While Veronica is out of it, Logan tells Keith about Veronica's nightmares; Veronica knows she *should* be furious with him, but she isn't. Veronica realizes that her dad lashed out the same way that Logan had with Gory, and she tells her dad that he's just like Logan, in all the important ways.

The next morning, Veronica and Logan discuss their issues, but Veronica's tentativeness and fear overwhelms her desire to be intimate with Logan, and they narrowly avoid fighting again.

Keith has a surprise for Veronica: he has decided that what she needs is a fun day at a "game center", where they manage to forget everything for a few hours. On the way home, they stop and she finally tells her father everything she's hidden from him in the past, including the details of her rape and her investigation of it. Her dad tells Veronica that she's going to need to confide in him because she doesn't have a best girlfriend any more. Squirming, Veronica says that it feels like Logan is always asking her to prove that she loves him.

Back in the apartment, Logan announces that he's been working on a plan to flee the country by sailboat to the Caribbean. Keith seems interested, but Veronica is too upset at the thought of one of them getting hurt to consider the idea seriously. She presses again to be allowed to use the Internet, using the excuse that it will help with the sailboat plan, and her dad reluctantly agrees. They surf to the Neptune Register web site and are shocked by the headlines.

In Neptune, an all-out war rages between the Fitzpatricks and the PCHers, with Sheriff Van Lowe seeming to be focusing his efforts on prosecuting only the Latino gang members. Vinnie is blaming the crime spree on Sheriff Mars's administration, and Keith theorizes that Vinnie is working with Liam Fitzpatrick, who appeared to have bankrolled Vinnie's successful for sheriff. In addition, it's likely that, with the current power vacuum, Neptune will become the main entry point for drugs coming into the U.S.

They discover that a suspicious fire was set at the junkyard belonging to Weevil's uncle shortly after they fled Neptune, and Veronica immediately surmises that it's the work of Gory. Mac and Wallace are under suspicion for possibly having helped Veronica, Logan, and Keith elude arrest.

Veronica insists on looking up information on the Sorokins, and both Gory's father Sergei and his uncle Lev were refugees from Soviet Russia, hardened criminals who had been in the gulags and later relocated to California. Lev had been convicted of the murder referenced by Gory on the Castle video, and to shorten his sentence, he testified against his brother Sergei in a racketeering probe. Shortly thereafter, Lev was killed in prison, and they conclude that Sergei was likely behind the murder as retribution for Lev breaking the Russian thieves' code of silence, Vory v Zakone.

Veronica realizes that Gory was not afraid that the video would be sent to the authorities, but rather that his own father would discover that he'd told a family secret to a fraternity. And a man who would kill his brother for ratting might very well kill his own son for the same crime, especially for something as trivial as the Castle.

Sleep eludes Veronica, and she stews about whether she should vote to send the video to Gory's father, finally voting to send it, making it unanimous. Logan remains convinced that their best hope for survival is to buy a sailboat and set out for the Caribbean. Veronica, still traumatized and scared by her narrow escape in Chicago, focuses on the dangers of the journey, and finally votes that she wants to stay in Chapel Hill, overruling her dad and Logan, who have both voted to go. It unnerves her that she makes both these decisions out of fear rather than rationality.

Veronica morosely goes to work while Logan considers his plastic surgery options. Work is tedious and soul-crushing, despite Veronica's nemesis Jeff having transferred to another store.

Jane Kuhne, along with two other girls, walks in to J. Crew. Jane immediately recognizes Veronica, despite Veronica's accent and protestations. Quickly leaving work, Veronica phones her dad and says she's changed her mind about sailing. Once home, she and Logan prepare to flee as they wait (interminably) for Keith to return with a stolen car.

Keith finally shows up, and they drive to Norfolk, Virginia to buy a sailboat. While Logan and Keith shop for a boat, Veronica is sent out to buy provisions and supplies. She also prepares and sends the Castle to Gory's father. They end up buying a boat called 'Panacea.'

On the first day, they stay close to shore and Veronica learns about steering, turning, and adjusting the sails. Although she's doing fine for a beginner, she struggles with the new tasks. Every mistake is magnified in her perspective.

At the end, they anchor close to the Barrier Islands in Virginia, and the serenity of the location helps Veronica begin to embrace the next step of their adventure.

Logan drills Keith and Veronica on rescuing a man overboard, heaving-to, and abandoning ship, and they learn how to use the auto-steering windvane. Veronica struggles with the new skills and worries about her inability to tell wind direction, but the men are enjoying themselves and joking around. She finds out that she's been assigned the task of managing their food and water supplies. The worst-case-scenario drills ramp up Veronica's anxiety about the voyage.

Veronica overhears Logan and her dad talking, remarking on her tentativeness and worrying that she's still affected by her breakdown two weeks earlier. Logan and she talk about it and end up making love.

Veronica's dad tells her that owning a sailboat is an old dream of his, and Logan's idea felt like fate was telling him to go for it.

They leave for the Caribbean, heading at first for Bermuda. Veronica is still scared to helm the boat, but she does her best. She learns how to make the sails smaller ("reefing") and starts to understand wind direction. They begin to cross the gulf stream, which means an increase in wind and the possibility of storms. The wind begins to pick up and change direction, and they realize they are running directly into a storm.

They try to run before the storm as long as possible. Reefing (reducing) the sails again, they realize that there's a problem with the front jib sail mechanism. Finally, there's no choice, and they have to heave-to (set the sails to backwind). But the jib mechanism completely quits, and Veronica and Keith have to go to the bow to pull down the sail manually as the boat flails on the heavy seas. The line attached to the sail detaches and becomes entangled in the rigging of the boat. Keith jumps for the line and falls, spraining his ankle.

Veronica has to be hoisted up the mast in a small seat to free the tangled line as the boat veers more and more of a control. The boat almost goes over, but she manages to untangle the line and get it back to the deck. She and Logan pull Keith inside the boat and the crisis is averted.

Veronica vows to learn everything about sailing as they head for St. Thomas. On the fifteenth day at sea, they arrive in St. Thomas and clear customs without a hitch.

They move on to the Dominican Republic and make new lives for themselves: Veronica works in a casino, Logan teaches surfing and sailing, and Keith works as a security guard for a wealthy businessman, Richard Stellner. Everything is going very well, until they see an ad in the New York Times: a message from Cliff McCormack. They make contact and find out Jake Kane is attempting to arrange a pardon for their crimes in exchange for Keith returning to his job as Neptune Sheriff.

Veronica takes a tour of the security department at the casino and watches as a man is removed from the casino for cheating. Later, she and Logan see the man arguing with the assistant of Keith's wealthy employer, Richard Stellner, and Veronica leaps to the conclusion that something nefarious is going on. Keith notifies Stellner of Veronica's suspicions and a kidnapping plan is foiled. Stellner invites them to dinner to thank them.

Stellner, suspicious of Keith's apparent prowess at investigating, demands to know who they are, and they tell him the entire story. Stellner offers to fly Jake Kane and Cliff McCormack down to the DR for a face-to-face meeting. At the meeting, they hammer out a deal for Keith to be Neptune's sheriff for two years in exchange for a pardon for all charges.

They are packed and ready to go, and Logan doesn't show. He's taken off in 'Panacea,' telling Veronica in a note that he doesn't want to hurt her but he can't go back to Neptune.

Now read the last chapter, 'Purgatory'.


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March 2014

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