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Книга EchoPark. Страница 72

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“Okay.”

“And it would connect me with Waits on an emotional level of pure hate. Yes, I’ve wanted the guy who killed Marie Gesto for thirteen years. But adding in all those other women and putting their deaths on me would bring things to a raw edge when I finally came face-to-face with the guy. It would distract me.”

“From what?”

“From the fact that Waits didn’t kill her. He was confessing to killing Marie Gesto but he didn’t kill her. He made some sort of deal with Olivas and probably O’Shea to take the fall for it because he was already going down for all the others. I was so overcome with my hatred that I didn’t have my eyes on the prize. I wasn’t paying attention to the details, Rachel. All I wanted to do was jump across the table and choke the guy out.”

“You are forgetting something.”

“What?”

Now she leaned across the table, keeping her voice down so as not to disturb the other diners.

“He led you to her body. If he didn’t kill her, how did he know where to go in the woods? How did he lead you right to her?”

Bosch nodded. It was a good point but one he had already thought about.

“It could have been done. He could have been schooled in his cell by Olivas. It could’ve been a Hansel and Gretel trick, a trail marked in such a way that only he would notice the markers. I’m going back up to Beachwood this afternoon. My guess is that when I go through there this time, I’ll find the markers.”

Bosch reached over and took her empty plate and exchanged it with his untouched plate. She didn’t object.

“So you’re saying that the whole field trip was a setup to convince you,” she said. “That Waits was fed the basic information about the Marie Gesto murder and he just regurgitated it all in the confession, then happily led you like Little Red Riding Hood through the woods to the spot where she was buried.”

He nodded.

“Yeah, that’s what I am saying. When you boil it all down to that, it sounds a little far-fetched, I know, but-”

“More than a little.”

“What?”

“More than a little far-fetched. First of all, how did Olivas know the details to give Waits? How did he know where she was buried so he could mark a trail for Waits to follow? Are you saying Olivas killed Marie Gesto?”

Bosch shook his head emphatically. He thought she was going over the top with her devil’s advocate logic and he was getting annoyed.

“No, I’m not saying that Olivas was the killer. I am saying he was gotten to by the killer. He and O’Shea. The real killer came to them and made some sort of a deal.”

“Harry, this just sounds so…”

She didn’t finish. She pushed the sashimi on her plate around with her chopsticks but ate very little of it. The waiter used the moment to approach the table.

“You didn’t like your sashimi?” he said to her in a trembling voice.

“No, I-”

She stopped when she realized she had almost a full portion on the plate in front of her.

“I guess I wasn’t very hungry.”

“She doesn’t know what she’s missing,” Bosch said, smiling. “I thought it was great.”

The waiter took the plates off the table and said he would be back with dessert menus.

“‘I thought it was great,’” Walling said in a mocking voice. “You jerk.”

“Sorry.”

The waiter brought the dessert menus and they both handed them back and ordered coffee. Walling remained quiet after that and Bosch decided to wait her out.

“Why now?” she finally asked.

Bosch shook his head.

“I don’t know exactly.”

“When was the last time you pulled the case and actively worked it?”

“About five months ago. The last video I showed you the other night-that was the last time I worked it. I was just about to make another run at it.”

“What did you do besides pull Garland in again?”

“Everything. I talked to everybody. I knocked on all the same doors again. I only brought Garland in at the end.”

“You think it was Garland who got to Olivas?”

“For Olivas and maybe O’Shea to make a deal, it would have had to be somebody with juice. Lots of money and power. The Garlands have both.”

The waiter came with their coffee and the check. Bosch put a credit card on it but the waiter had already left.

“You want to at least split it?” Rachel asked. “You didn’t even eat.”

“It’s okay. Hearing what you have to say makes it worth it.”

“I bet you say that to all the girls.”

“Only the ones who are federal agents.”

She shook her head. He saw the doubt creep back into her eyes.

“What?”

“I don’t know, it’s just…”

“Just what?”

“What if you look at it from Waits’s view of things?”

“And?”

“It’s such a long shot, Harry. It’s like one of those mumbo-jumbo conspiracies. You take all the facts after it’s over and move them around to fit some far-fetched theory. Marilyn Monroe didn’t overdose, the Kennedys used the mob to kill her. Like that.”

“So what about Waits’s point of view?”

“I’m just saying, why would he do it? Why would he confess to a murder he didn’t commit?”

Bosch made a dismissive gesture with his hands, as if he were pushing something away.

“That’s an easy one, Rachel. He would do it because he had nothing to lose. He was already going down as the Echo Park Bagman. If he went to trial, he was no doubt going to get the Jesus juice, just like Olivas reminded him out there yesterday. So his only shot at living was to confess to his crimes, and if, say, the investigator and the prosecutor wanted him to add another killing in for good measure, what was Waits going to say about that? No deal? Don’t kid yourself, they had the leverage and if they told Waits to jump, he would’ve nodded his head and said, ‘On who?’”

She nodded.

“And there was something else,” Bosch added. “He knew there would be a field trip and I’ll bet that gave him hope. He knew he might get a shot at an escape. Once they told him that he’d be leading us through the woods, that shot got a little bigger and no doubt his cooperation got a little better. His whole motivation was probably getting to the field trip.”

She nodded again. He couldn’t tell whether he had convinced her of anything. They were silent for a long moment. The waiter came and took his credit card. Lunch was over.

“So what are you going to do?” she asked.

“Like I told you, next stop Beachwood Canyon. After that, I’m going to find the man who can explain everything to me.”

“O’Shea? He’ll never talk to you.”

“I know. That’s why I’m not going to talk to him. Not yet, at least.”

“You’re going to find Waits?”

He could hear the doubt in her voice.

“That’s right.”

“He’s long gone, Harry. You think he would stay around here? He killed two cops. His life expectancy in L.A. is zero. You think he’d stick around with every person with a gun and badge in this county looking for him with a license to kill?”

He nodded slowly.

“He’s still here,” he said with conviction. “Everything you said is right, except you forgot one thing. He’s got the leverage now. When he escaped, the leverage shifted to Waits. And if he is smart, and it appears he is, he’ll use it. He’ll stick around and he’ll use O’Shea to maximum potential.”

“You mean blackmail?”

“Whatever. Waits carries the truth. He knows what went down. If he can make it believable that he’s a danger to O’Shea and his whole election machine, and if he can contact O’Shea, he can now make the candidate do the jumping.”

She nodded.

“You raise a good point about leverage,” she said. “What if this grand conspiracy of yours had gone down as planned? You know, Waits takes the fall for Gesto and all the others and heads off to Pelican Bay or San Quentin to do his life without. Then the conspirators have this guy sitting in a cell and he has all the answers-and the leverage. He’s still a danger to O’Shea and his whole political machine. Why would the future district attorney of Los Angeles County put himself in that position?”

The waiter brought back the credit card and the final bill. Bosch added a tip and signed it. It had to be the most expensive lunch he had never eaten.

He looked up at Rachel when he was finished scribbling his name.

“Good question, Rachel. I don’t know the exact answer to it but I assume O’Shea or Olivas or somebody had a plan for an endgame. And maybe that’s why Waits decided to run.”

She frowned.

“You can’t be talked out of this, can you?”

“Not yet.”

“Well, good luck. I think you are going to need it.”

“Thanks, Rachel.”

He stood up and so did she.

“Did you valet?” she asked.

“No, I’m over in the library garage.”

It meant they would leave the restaurant by different doors.

“Will I see you tonight?” he asked.

“If I’m not held up. There’s word of a case coming our way from Washington headquarters. How about if I call you?”

He said that was fine and walked with her to the door that led to the garage where the valets waited. He hugged her there and said good-bye.

23

ON THE WAY OUT of downtown Bosch took Hill Street up to Caesar Chavez and turned left. It soon became Sunset Boulevard and he drove it through Echo Park. He wasn’t expecting to see Raynard Waits crossing at the light or coming out of a medicina clinic or one of the migra offices that lined the street. But Bosch was running way out on his instincts on this case and they told him Echo Park was still in play. The more he drove through, the more he would get a feel for the neighborhood and the better he would be at his search. Instincts or not, he was sure of one thing. Waits had originally been arrested while on his way to a specific destination in Echo Park. Bosch was going to find it.

He pulled into a no-parking zone near Quintero Street and walked up to the Pescado Mojado grill. He ordered camarones a la diabla and showed the booking photo of Waits to the man who took his order and to the patrons waiting in line. He got the usual shake of the head from each customer, and the Spanish conversation among them died off. Bosch took his shrimp plate to a table and finished his food quickly.

From Echo Park he drove home to change from his suit into jeans and a pullover shirt. Then he drove over to Beachwood Canyon and made his way to the top of the hill. The parking clearing below Sunset Ranch was empty and Bosch wondered if all the activity and media attention from the day before had kept riders away. He got out of his car and went to its trunk. He pulled out a coiled thirty-foot length of rope and headed into the brush on the same path he had taken behind Waits the day before.

36

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