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Книга EchoPark. Страница 76

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“No, Lieutenant,” Osani said. “We don’t see him. The car’s in the lot but we don’t see him. We don’t see anybody out here.”

Osani listened some more and said yes several times before closing the phone and returning it to his belt. He went back to work with the tape measure and within another minute or so the two OIS men had what they needed.

Osani’s partner climbed the ladder and then both men pulled it up the embankment. It was at that moment that Osani noticed the rope looped around the trunk of the white oak at the edge of the embankment. He put the ladder down on the ground and went to the tree. He pulled the rope from around the trunk and started coiling it. He looked out into the woods as he did this and Bosch moved back behind one of the eucalyptus’s two trunks.

A few minutes later they were gone, loudly trudging back through the woods to the parking clearing, the ladder carried between them. Bosch went to the embankment but waited until he could no longer hear the OIS men before using the roots as handholds to climb up.

When he got to the parking clearing, there was no sign of Osani and his partner. Bosch turned his phone back on and waited for it to boot up. He wanted to see if the caller from Parker Center had left a message. Before he could listen, the phone started vibrating in his hand. He recognized the number as one of the lines from the Open-Unsolved Unit. He took the call.

“This is Bosch.”

“Harry, where are you?”

It was Abel Pratt. There was an urgency in his voice.

“Nowhere. Why?”

“Where are you?”

Something told Bosch that Pratt knew exactly where he was.

“I’m in Beachwood Canyon. What’s going on?”

There was a moment of silence before Pratt responded, the urgent tone replaced with one of annoyance.

“What’s going on is that I just got a call from Lieutenant Randolph at OIS. He says there’s a Mustang registered to you sitting in the lot up there. I tell him that’s really strange, because Harry Bosch is on home duty and is supposed to be staying a million miles away from the investigation in Beachwood Canyon.”

Thinking quickly, Bosch came up with what he thought was a way out.

“Look, I’m not investigating anything. I’m looking for something. I lost my challenge coin out here yesterday. I’m just looking for it.”

“What?”

“My RHD chip. It must’ve come out of my pocket when I was sliding down the embankment or something. I got home last night and it wasn’t in my pocket.”

As he spoke Bosch reached into his pocket and pulled out the coin he was claiming to have lost. It was a heavy metal coin about the size and width of a casino chip. One side showed a gold detective’s badge and the other side showed the caricature of a detective-suit, hat, gun and exaggerated chin-set against an American flag background. It was known as a challenge coin or chip and was a carryover from the practice of elite and specialized military units. Upon acceptance into the unit a soldier is given a challenge coin and is expected to carry it always. At any time or place a fellow unit member can ask to see the coin. This most often takes place in a bar or canteen. If the soldier fails to be carrying the coin, then he picks up the tab. The tradition had been observed for several years in the RHD. Bosch had been given his coin upon returning from retirement.

“Fuck the coin, Harry,” Pratt said angrily. “You can replace it for ten bucks. Stay away from the investigation. Go home and stay home until you hear from me. Am I clear?”

“You’re clear.”

“Besides, what the fuck? If you lost your coin out there the Forensics people would have found it already. They went over that scene with a metal detector looking for cartridges.”

Bosch nodded.

“Yeah, I sort of forgot about that.”

“Yeah, Harry, you forgot? Are you bullshitting with me?”

“No, Top, I’m not. I forgot. I was bored and decided to come look for it. I saw Randolph’s people and decided to keep my head down. I just didn’t think they’d call in my plate.”

“Well, they did. And then I got the call. I don’t like blowback like this, Harry. You know that.”

“I’m going home right now.”

“Good. Stay there.”

Pratt didn’t wait for Bosch’s response. He clicked off and Bosch closed his phone. He flipped the heavy coin into the air, caught it in his palm, badge side up, and pocketed it. He then walked to his car.

24

SOMETHING ABOUT BEING TOLD to go home made Bosch not go home. After leaving Beachwood Canyon he made a stop at St. Joe’s to check in on Kiz Rider. She had changed locations again. She was now out of ICU and on a regular patient floor. She didn’t have a private room but the other bed in the room was empty. They often did that for cops.

Speaking was still difficult for her and the malaise of depression she exhibited that morning had not lifted. Bosch didn’t stay long. He passed on a get-well from Jerry Edgar and then left, finally going home as instructed and hauling in the two cartons and files he had collected earlier from the Open-Unsolved Unit.

He put the cartons on the floor in the dining room and spread the files out on the table. There was a lot and he knew he could probably occupy himself for at least a couple days with what he had taken from the office. He went over to the stereo and turned it on. He knew that he already had the Coltrane-Monk collaboration from Carnegie Hall in the machine. The player was on shuffle and the first song out was called “Evidence.” Bosch took that as a good sign as he went back to the table.

To begin he had to take an inventory of exactly what he had so he could decide how to approach his review of the material. First and foremost was the copy of the investigative record in the current case Raynard Waits was being prosecuted for. This had been turned over by Olivas but not studied closely by Bosch and Rider because their assignments and priorities were the Fitzpatrick and Gesto cases. On the table Bosch also had the Fitzpatrick murder book Rider had pulled out of Archives as well as his secret copy of the Gesto murder book, of which he had already completed a review.

Finally, on the floor were the two plastic cartons containing whatever pawn records had been salvaged after Fitzpatrick’s business was torched and then soaked by fire hoses during the 1992 riots.

There was a small drawer in the side of the dining room table. Bosch figured that it had been designed for silverware but since he used the table more often to work on than to eat on, the drawer contained an assortment of pens and legal pads. He withdrew one of each, deciding that he needed to write down the important aspects of the current investigation. After twenty minutes and three torn-off and crumpled pages, his free-form thoughts had filled less than half a page.

/ arrest

Echo Park

\ escape (Red Line)

Who is Waits? Where is the castle? (destination: Echo Park)

Beachwood Canyon-setup, false confession

Who benefits? Why now?

Bosch studied the notes for a few moments. He knew that the last two questions he had written were actually the starting point. If things had gone according to plan, who would have benefited from Waits’s false confession? Waits, for one, by avoiding a death sentence. But the real winner was the real killer. The case would have been closed, all investigations halted. The real killer would escape justice.

Bosch looked at the two questions again. Who benefits? Why now? He considered them carefully and then reversed their order and considered them again. He came to a single conclusion. His continued investigations of the Marie Gesto case had created a need for something to be done now. He had to believe that he had knocked too hard on someone’s door and that the entire Beachwood Canyon plan had come about because of pressure he was continuing to exert on the case.

This conclusion led to the answer to the other question at the bottom of the sheet. Who benefits? Bosch wrote:

Anthony Garland-Hancock Park

For thirteen years Bosch’s instinct had told him Garland was the one. But beyond his instincts there was no evidence directly connecting Garland to the murder. Bosch had not yet been made privy to the evidence, if any, that was developed during the excavation of the body and the autopsy, but he doubted that after thirteen years there would be anything usable-no DNA or forensics that could tie the killer to the body.

Garland was a suspect under the “replacement victim” theory. That is, his rage toward the woman who had dropped him led him to kill a woman who reminded him of her. The shrinks would call it a long-shot theory but Bosch now moved it front and center. Do the math, he thought. Garland was the son of Thomas Rex Garland, wealthy oil baron from Hancock Park. O’Shea was in a highly contested election battle, and money was the gasoline that kept a campaign engine running. It was not inconceivable that a quiet approach had been made to T. Rex, a deal struck and a plan enacted. O’Shea gets the money he needs to win the election, Olivas gets the head investigator nod in O’Shea’s office and Waits takes the fall for Gesto while Garland takes a ride on it.

It was said that L.A. was a sunny place for shady people. Bosch knew that better than most. He had no hesitation in believing Olivas had been part of such a scheme. And the thought of O’Shea, a career prosecutor, selling his soul for a shot at the top slot didn’t give him pause for very long either.

“Run, you coward! How’s your bullshit deal looking now?”

He opened his phone and called Keisha Russell at the Times. After several rings he checked his watch and saw it was a few minutes after five. He realized she was probably on deadline and ignoring her calls. He left a message at the prompt, asking her to call back.

Since it was so late in the day Bosch decided he had earned a beer. He went to the kitchen and got an Anchor Steam out of the box. He was happy he had gone high end the last time he bought beer. He took the bottle out on the deck and watched as the heart of rush hour gripped the freeway below. The traffic slowed to a crawl and the incessant sound of car horns of every variety began. It was just far enough away to be less than intrusive. Bosch was glad he was not down there in the fight.

His phone buzzed and he pulled it out of his pocket. It was Keisha Russell calling back.

38

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