It’s Meghan’s boyfriend’s birthday. She decides to give him a very personalized gift and to surprise him by delivering it to the lab where he works most nights in the University Physics building. When she arrives Gavin’s roommate is also present, but leaves almost immediately. The two men have a common British heritage and are best friends and apartment roommates.
When Gavin and Meghan eventually leave they are shocked to find at the base of the stairs their friend Matt. It looks like he hit his head on the last concrete step as blood I spooling under him. The police are called and the birthday party pair endure a horrible night answering questions and providing police with broad-ranging information.
Police eventually establish that Matt didn’t fall but was murdered with savage blows to the back of his head. One theory is that Matt was mistaken for Gavin who is a brilliant Ph.D. Nuclear Physics expert about to announce a breakthrough find with massively valuable commercial applications. An alternate theory is that a serial rapist active over the last two days may also have seen Meghan enter the building and waited for her to come out but was discovered by Matt who was beaten in a struggle.
It’s a miserable time for Gavin, Meghan and Jenny, Matt’s recent girlfriend. Matt’s parents plan to come from England and arrange to take his body home. Gavin and Meghan are given police guards. A tablet computer left by Matt at Jennifer’s place is given to the police, who then involve the FBI based on the contents they find. Solution to the murder puzzle comes from an unusual quarter on the day a memorial service is held at the University Chapel with Matt’s parents present.
The FBI acts quickly overnight and makes an arrest the next morning just as Matt’s parents head home. They lose their son, but find three new young friends, and board their plane with a conclusion in hand.
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