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Книга EchoPark. Страница 31

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“Harry, did you hear?”

“Yeah, I heard. I just talked to Edgar about it. All he cares about is protecting his career and his chances at RHD.”

“Harry, what are you talking about?”

Bosch paused. He was confused.

“Didn’t that asshole Olivas tell you? I thought by now he would have told the whole world.”

“Told me what? I was calling to see if you heard whether the interview’s been set for tomorrow.”

Bosch realized his mistake. He walked to the edge of the deck and dumped his drink over the side.

“Ten o’clock tomorrow at the DA’s office. They’ll put him in a room there. I’m sorry, Kiz, I guess I forgot to call you.”

“Are you all right? It sounds like you’ve been drinking.”

“I’m home, Kiz. I’m entitled.”

“What did you think I was calling about?”

Bosch held his breath and composed his thoughts, then spoke.

“Edgar and I, we should have had Waits or Saxon or whatever his name is back in ’ninety-three. Edgar spoke to him on the phone and he used the name Saxon. But neither of us ran the name on the computer. We screwed up bad, Kiz.”

Now she was silent as she tracked what he had said. It didn’t take her long to realize the connection the alias would have given them to Waits.

“I’m sorry, Harry.”

“Tell it to the nine victims that followed.”

He was staring down at the brush beneath the deck.

“You going to be all right?”

“I’m all right. I just have to figure out how to get past this so I’m ready for tomorrow.”

“Do you think you should stick with it at this point? Maybe one of the other OU teams should take over for us.”

Bosch responded immediately. He wasn’t sure how he was going to deal with the fatal mistake of thirteen years ago but he wasn’t going to walk away now.

“No, Kiz, I’m not leaving the case. I might have missed him in ’ninety-three but I’m not going to miss him now.”

“Okay, Harry.”

She didn’t hang up but she didn’t say anything after that. Bosch could hear a siren from far down in the pass below.

“Harry, can I make a suggestion?”

He knew what was coming.

“Sure.”

“I think you should put away the booze and start thinking about tomorrow. When we get into that room it’s not going to matter what mistakes were made in the past. It will be all about the moment with this man. We’ll need to be frosty.”

Bosch smiled. He didn’t think he’d heard that term since he’d been on a patrol in Vietnam.

“Stay frosty,” he said.

“That’s right. You want to meet in the squad and walk over from there?”

“Yeah. I’ll be there early. I want to go by the Hall of Records first.”

Bosch heard a knock at his front door and started into the house.

“Me, too, then,” Rider said. “I’ll meet you in the squad. Are you going to be all right tonight?”

Bosch opened the front door and Rachel Walling was standing there holding the files with both hands.

“Yes, Kiz,” he said into the phone. “I’ll be fine. Good night.”

He closed the phone and invited Rachel in.

8

SINCE RACHEL HAD BEEN in his home before, she didn’t bother looking around. She put the files down on the small table in the dining area and looked at Bosch.

“What’s wrong? Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. I sort of forgot you were coming by.”

“I can leave if-”

“No, I’m glad you’re here. Did you find more time to look at the stuff?”

“A little bit. I have some notes and some thoughts that might help you tomorrow. And if you want me to be there, I can make arrangements to be there-unofficially.”

Bosch shook his head.

“Officially, unofficially doesn’t matter. This is Rick O’Shea’s ticket and if I bring an FBI agent into it, then that will be my ticket out.”

She smiled and shook her head.

“Everybody thinks that all the bureau wants are the headlines. It’s not always like that.”

“I know but I can’t turn this into the test case for O’Shea. Do you want something to drink?”

He gestured to the table so that she could sit down.

“What are you having?”

“I was having vodka. I think I’m going to switch to coffee now.”

“Can you make a vodka tonic?”

He nodded.

“I can make one without tonic,” he said.

“Tomato juice?”

“Nope.”

“Cranberry juice?”

“Just vodka.”

“Hard-core Harry. I think I’ll have coffee.”

He went into the kitchen to get a pot brewing. He heard her pull out a chair at the table and sit down. When he came back he saw that she had spread the files out and had a page of notes in front of her.

“Did you do anything about the name yet?” she asked.

“In motion. We’ll start early tomorrow and hopefully we’ll know something before we get into the room with this guy at ten.”

She nodded and waited for him to sit down across from her.

“Ready?” she asked.

“Ready.”

She leaned forward and looked at her notes, talking at first without looking up from them.

“Whoever he is, whatever his name is, he’s obviously smart and manipulative,” she said. “Look at his size. Short and slightly built. This means he had a good act. He somehow was able to get these victims to go with him. That’s the key thing. It is unlikely he used physical force-at least not at the start. He is too small for that. Instead, he employed charm and cunning and he was practiced and polished at it. Even if a girl is just off the bus on Hollywood Boulevard she is going to be wary and have some measure of street smarts. He was smarter.”

Bosch nodded.

“The trickster,” he said.

She nodded and referred to a short stack of documents.

“I did a little Internet work on that,” she said. “In the Reynard epic he is often depicted as a member of the clergy and he is able to woo his audience closer to him that way so that he can grab them. The clergy at the time-we’re talking about the twelfth century-was the ultimate authority. Today it would be different. The ultimate authority would be the government, notably represented by the police.”

“You’re saying he might have posed as a cop?”

“Just a thought, but it’s possible. He had to have had something that worked.”

“What about a weapon? Or money? He could have just flashed the green. These women… these girls would have gone for money.”

“I think it was more than a weapon and more than money. To use either of them you still need to get close. Money doesn’t lower the safety threshold. It had to be something else. His style or patter, something more than or in addition to money. When he got them close, then he would use the weapon.”

Bosch nodded and wrote a few notes on a page of a notebook he grabbed off a shelf behind where he sat.

“What else?” he asked.

“Do you know how long he’s had his business?”

“No, but we’ll know tomorrow morning. Why?”

“Well, because it shows another dimension of his skills. But my interest in it is not just because he ran his own business. I’m also curious about the choice of business. It allowed him to be mobile and to travel throughout the city. If you saw his van in your neighborhood, there would be no cause for concern-except late at night, which obviously led to his downfall. And the job also allowed him inside people’s homes. I’m curious as to whether he started the job to help him fulfill his fantasies-the killings-or already had the business before he began acting on these impulses.”

Bosch made a few more notes. Rachel had a good point with her questions about the job. He had questions that ran along the same lines. Could Waits have had his business thirteen years before? Had he cleaned windows at the High Tower and known about the vacant apartment? Maybe it was another mistake, a connection they had missed.

“I know I don’t need to tell you this, Harry, but you are going to have to be careful and cautious with him.”

He looked up from his notes.

“Why?”

“Something about what I see here-and obviously this is a very rushed response to a lot of material-but something doesn’t fit right about this.”

“What?”

She composed her thoughts before answering.

“You have to remember that it was a fluke that he was even caught. Officers looking for a burglar stumbled onto a killer. Up until the moment those officers found the bags in his van, Waits was completely unknown to law enforcement. He had been flying below the radar for years. As I said, it shows he had a certain level of cunning and skill. And it says something about the pathology as well. He wasn’t sending notes to the police like the Zodiac or BTK. He wasn’t displaying his victims as an affront to society or a taunt to police. He was quiet. He moved below the surface. And he chose victims, with the exception of the first two killings, who could be pulled under without leaving so much as a ripple behind. You understand what I mean?”

Bosch hesitated for a moment, not sure he wanted to tell her about the mistake he and Edgar had made so many years ago.

She read him.

“What?”

He didn’t answer.

“Harry, I don’t want to be spinning my wheels here. If there is something you know that I need to know, then tell me or I might as well get up and go.”

“Just hold on until I get the coffee. I hope you like it black.”

He got up and went into the kitchen and poured coffee into two mugs. He found some packets of sugar and sweetener in a basket where he threw condiments that came with to-go orders and brought them out for Rachel. She put sweetener in her mug.

“Okay,” she said after the first sip. “What aren’t you telling me?”

“My partner and I made a mistake back when we worked this in ’ninety-three. I don’t know if it contradicts what you just said about Waits staying beneath the radar but it looks like he called us back then. About three weeks into the case. He talked to my partner on the phone and he used an alias. At least we think it was an alias. With this Reynard the Fox thing you’ve brought up, maybe he used his real name. Anyway, we blew it. We never checked him out.”

“What do you mean?”

He slowly, reluctantly, told her in detail about the call from Olivas and his finding of Waits’s alias in the 51s. She cast her eyes down at the table and nodded as he told it. She worked the pen she was holding in a circle on the page of notes in front of her.

“And the rest is history,” he said. “He kept right on going… and killing people.”

16

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