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Книга EchoPark. Страница 61

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Part Three HALLOWED GROUND

19

IN THE MORNING Bosch was making coffee for Rachel and himself when he got the call. It was his boss, Abel Pratt.

“Harry, you’re not coming in. I just got the word.”

Bosch had half expected it.

“From who?”

“The sixth floor. OIS hasn’t wrapped it up and because the thing is so hot with the media, they want you to cool it on the sidelines for a few days until they see how it’s going to go.”

Bosch didn’t say anything. The sixth floor was where the department administration was located. The “they” Pratt had referred to was a collective of groupthink commanders who became frozen whenever a case hit big on TV or in politics, and this one had hit both. Bosch wasn’t surprised by the call, just disappointed. The more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

“Did you watch the news last night?” Pratt asked.

“No. I don’t watch the news.”

“Maybe you should start. We’ve now got Irvin Irving all over the box weighing in on this mess and he’s zeroed in on you specifically. Gave a speech last night on the south side, saying that hiring you back was an example of the chief’s ineptitude and the department’s moral corruption. I don’t know what you did to the guy but he’s got a real hard-on for you, man. ‘Moral corruption,’ that’s taking the gloves off.”

“Yeah, soon he’ll be blaming me for his hemorrhoids. Is the sixth floor sidelining me in reaction to him or to OIS?”

“Come on, Harry, you think I’d be privy to that conversation? I just got the call where I was told to make the call, know what I mean?”

“Yeah.”

“But look at it this way-with Irving punking you like that, the last thing the chief would do is cut you loose, because it would look like Irving was right. So the way I would read this thing is that they want to go by the numbers and nail it down tight before they close it down. So enjoy home duty and stay in touch.”

“Yeah, and what do you hear about Kiz?”

“Well, they don’t have to worry about home duty with her. She’s not going anywhere.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“I know what you mean.”

“And?”

It was like peeling a label off a beer bottle. It never came all at once.

“And I think Kiz could be in some trouble. She was up on top with Olivas when Waits made his move. The question is, why didn’t she take his ass out when she had the chance? It looks like she froze, Harry, and that means she could get hurt in this thing.”

Bosch nodded. Pratt’s political take on the situation seemed on target. It made Bosch feel bad. Right now Rider had to fight to stay alive. Later she’d have to fight to keep her job. He knew that no matter what the fight was he would stand beside her the whole way.

“Okay,” he said. “Anything new on Waits?”

“Nothing, man. He’s in the wind. Probably down in Mexico by now. If that guy knows what’s best for him, he’ll never raise his head above sea level again.”

Bosch wasn’t so sure about that but didn’t express his disagreement. Something, some instinct, told him that Waits was lying low, yes, but that he had not gone very far. He thought about the Red Line subway Waits had apparently disappeared into and its many stops between Hollywood and downtown. He remembered the legend of Reynard the fox and the secret castle.

“Harry, I gotta go,” Pratt said. “You cool?”

“Yeah, right, cool. Thanks for running it down for me, Top.”

“All right, man. Technically, you are supposed to check in with me every day until we get the word you’re back on active.”

“You got it.”

Bosch hung the phone up. A few minutes later when Rachel came into the kitchen, he poured coffee into an insulated cup that came with the Lexus she had leased when she transferred to L.A. She had brought the cup in with her the night before.

She was dressed and ready for work.

“I don’t have anything here for breakfast,” he said. “We could go down the hill to Du-par’s if you have time.”

“No, that’s okay. I need to get going.”

She tore open a pink packet of sugar substitute and dumped it into the coffee. She opened the refrigerator and took out a quart of milk she had brought with her the night before as well. She whitened the coffee and put the top on the cup.

“What was the call you just got?” she asked.

“My boss. I just got sidelined while all of this is going on.”

“Oh, baby…”

She came over and hugged him.

“In a way it’s routine. The media and politics of the case make it a necessity. I’m on home duty until the OIS wraps things up and clears me of any wrongdoing.”

“You going to be okay?”

“I already am.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. Home duty doesn’t mean I have to stay home. So I’m going to the hospital to see if they’ll let me hang with my partner for a while. Take it from there, I guess.”

“Want to have lunch?”

“Yeah, sure, that sounds good.”

They had quickly slipped into a domestic comfort that Bosch liked. It was almost as though they didn’t have to talk.

“Look, I’m fine,” he said. “You go to work and I’ll try to come down around lunchtime. I’ll call you.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to you.”

She kissed him on the cheek before leaving through the kitchen door to the carport. He had told her to use the space in the carport on the days she came to stay with him.

Bosch drank a cup of coffee on the back deck while looking over the Cahuenga Pass. The skies were still clear from the rain two days earlier. It would be another beautiful day in paradise. He decided to go to Du-par’s on his own to eat breakfast before heading to the hospital to check on Kiz. He could pick up the papers, see what was reported about the events of the day before and then bring them to Kiz, maybe read them to her if she wanted.

He walked back inside and decided to leave on the suit and tie he had dressed in that morning before getting the call from Pratt. Home duty or not, he was going to act and look like a detective. He did, however, go into the closet in the bedroom and from the shelf above pull down the box containing the case file copies he had made four years earlier, when he had retired. He looked through the stacks until he found the copy of the Marie Gesto murder book. Jackson and Marcia would have the original, since they were running with the investigation now. He decided to take the copy with him in case he needed something to read while visiting with Rider or if Jackson or Marcia called with any questions.

He drove down the hill and up to Ventura Boulevard and followed it west into Studio City. At Du-par’s he bought copies of the Los Angeles Times and the Daily News out of racks in front of the restaurant, then went in and ordered French toast and coffee at the counter.

The Beachwood Canyon story was on the front page of both papers. Both displayed color booking photos of Raynard Waits, and the articles played up the hunt for the mad killer, the formation of an LAPD task force, and a toll-free telephone tip line just for finding Waits. The editors of the newspapers apparently considered that angle more important to the readers and a better selling point than the killing of two cops in the line of duty and the wounding of a third.

The stories contained information released during the numerous press conferences held the day before but very few details about what had actually happened in the woods at the top of Beachwood Canyon. According to the stories it was all under continuing investigation and information was being jealously guarded by those in charge. The short bios of the officers involved in the shooting and Deputy Doolan were sketchy at best. Both of the victims killed by Waits had been family men. The wounded detective, Kizmin Rider, had recently separated from a “life partner”-code for reporting that she was gay. Bosch didn’t recognize the names of the reporters on the stories and thought maybe they were new to the police beat and without sources close enough to the investigation to reveal the inside details.

On the jump pages of both papers he found sidebar stories that focused on the political response to the shooting and escape. Both papers quoted a variety of local pundits who for the most part said it was too early to tell whether the Beachwood incident would help or hinder Rick O’Shea’s candidacy for district attorney. While it was his case that went horribly awry, the reports of his selfless efforts to help save the wounded law officer while an armed killer was loose in the very same woods could be a balancing positive.

Said one pundit: “In this city, politics are like the movie business; nobody knows anything. This could be the best thing that happens to O’Shea. It could be the worst.”

Of course, O’Shea’s opponent, Gabriel Williams, was quoted liberally in both papers, calling the incident an unpardonable disgrace and laying all blame at O’Shea’s feet. Bosch thought about the missing videotape and wondered how much it would be worth to the Williams camp. Perhaps, he thought, Corvin the videographer had already found out.

In both papers Irvin Irving got his licks in and in doing so took a specific swipe at Bosch for being the epitome of what was wrong in the police department, something Irving as a city councilman would right. He said Bosch should never have been hired back into the department the year before and that Irving, as a deputy chief at the time, had lobbied hard against it. The papers said Bosch was under investigation by the department’s OIS squad and could not be reached for comment. Neither noted that the OIS routinely conducted an investigation of every shooting that involved a police officer, so what was presented to the public seemed unusual and therefore suspicious.

Bosch noticed that the sidebar in the Times had been written by Keisha Russell, who had worked the cop beat for a number of years before finally reaching a level of burnout that led her to ask for a new beat. She had landed in politics-a beat with its own high burnout rate. She had called and left a message for Bosch the night before but he had been in no mood to talk to a reporter, even one he trusted.

He still had her numbers programmed in his cell. When she worked cops he had been her source on a number of occasions, and she had provided him with help several times in return. He put the papers aside and took his first bites of French toast. His breakfast had both powdered sugar and maple syrup on it and he knew the sugar high would help charge him into the day.

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