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Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 63

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Sherlock stood aside to watch the paramedics, two young men with grim faces, work on Kesselring. "Good grief, Agent, you shot him up pretty good. Neck wound too? How did that happen?" He craned to look up at Sherlock.

"It was quite a shoot-out, let me tell you, I'm very happy he lost."

"He lost, all right," the other paramedic said as he passed pressure dressings to his partner and untied the straps on the gurney. "I think he's going to pull through but he ain't going to be happy for a good long time."

Dolores walked over and took Sherlock's hands in hers. "We're all so relieved you're all right. I've never seen this much shooting in my entire career. It's going to take the forensic team days just to find all the casings. But you're all right," she repeated, and ran her hands over Sherlock's arms.

Sherlock grinned at her, then reached for her SIG. She slipped in a new magazine. "Thanks, Dolores. Thank God, it's over." She nodded, then turned to make a call.

He answered on the first ring. "All I want to hear is that you're all right."

Sherlock kept her voice calm and clear. "Everything's okay here. Kesselring's alive, bound for the hospital. Bowie and I both shot him. Kesselring murdered Blauvelt-and he and Jane Ann plotted to murder Caskie. I've got lots to tell you about that. We've got Jane Ann in custody too, but Mick Haggarty is dead. If we're lucky, Kesselring or Jane Ann, if she knows, will roll big-time on whoever he was working for."

Savich felt his heart finally slowing. "You swear you're okay?"

"Yes, I promise. Tell me what's happening down there."

"What I really need to do is speak to Senator Hoffman, so how about I fly up to Connecticut later this evening?"

She said slowly, "You know, don't you, Dillon? You know the answer?"

"Yes, I do." He took a deep breath. "Excuse me now, sweetheart, I'm going to offer thanksgiving prayers before I do anything else."


Saturday evening

Savich met Senator David Hoffman in his elegant library in Chevy Chase.

He shook Savich's hand and said without preamble, "Tell me you've found out who's behind the attempted murder of Vice President Valenti. And don't tell me it was a terrorist."

Savich said, "No, I don't believe it was a terrorist."

"But you agree it's the same person or people who are trying to kill me who also murdered Dana Frobisher and sabotaged my car?"

"Yes, there's no doubt about that now."

"I see. Then you believe there is some-what, some madman after me, Agent Savich? And that I've been damned lucky he's missed me twice?" As he spoke, Senator Hoffman walked over and sat behind his mahogany desk. He motioned Savich to sit in front of him. The desk, Savich thought, suited the man.

"Yes, that is certainly how it appears."

"But who? I've thought and thought, you know that." Hoffman's voice suddenly dropped to a whisper. "You haven't discovered it was my sons, have you?"

"Your sons are many things, Senator," Savich said, "but I don't believe they'd consider murdering their own father. I could be wrong, especially about Benson, since he's not what you'd call a well-controlled, compassionate, or logical man. But you know that yourself."

Hoffman nodded. "Benson was only six years old when he started stealing lunches from other children, children who were smaller than he was, I might add. He became quite fat before I discovered what was happening and put a stop to it. He hasn't changed."

Savich said, "I think he could commit murder, if it were on the spur of the moment, a crime of passion. But I don't think he has the brains or the character to execute such a well-thought-out plan. Also, I don't think your sons like each other much, so I can't see the two of them planning anything together."

"Then who? The good Lord knows I've made enemies, impossible not to when you've been in a position of power for more than three decades. But who?" He exhaled and shook his head. "I'm repeating myself. Sorry." He stopped cold. "You can't have reason to suspect Corliss Rydle. She's been my most loyal employee, at least I've always believed she has."

"No, I don't think she harbors a grudge toward you, Senator. She's a rock. I understand she's marrying Gabe Hilliard's son."

"That's right. I thought he was interested in my wife once upon a time, but our friendship survived it. No, Gabe would have no reason to murder me, especially now that Nikki's dead."

"Your wife and Mr. Hilliard? I found nothing to indicate he's ever been interested in playing more than a round of golf with you."

"Forget I said that. Gabe has always been an excellent friend." Senator Hoffman ran his hand through his hair, making it stand straight up. "Just the thought that Gabe-well, I'll tell you, Agent, being the target of a murderer makes you question relationships you never thought you would. I don't think I could have gotten through this if Corliss and my staff hadn't been there for me."

Savich said quietly, "I find it curious that your wife, Nikki, has never managed to get through to me again, Senator."

Senator Hoffman shook his head as he said, "I've already told you, Agent Savich, that what you claim about Nikki is so beyond anything I could possibly accept, well, I-"

Savich said easily, "I understand it's hard to accept, Senator. Nonetheless, it is real, it did happen. It's like she had only so much opportunity to connect with someone, and then she had to leave. I honestly doubt she'll come again."

"So do you think God controls dead people? Lets them talk to us, then pulls them back?"

"I don't presume to know. It's just that in Nikki's case, she either couldn't connect with me anymore, or she wouldn't."

"That sounds ridiculous."

"It certainly makes you reexamine your beliefs."

"Did she ever tell you who is behind the attempts on my life?"


Senator Hoffman took a pen from its holder and began tapping it up and down. "It seems that is what people who claim to have psychic powers always say-the dead never quite get it done. They never show the psychic the one scene that would make sense of everything, they never convey the one critical fact that would solve the problem. Like Nikki. Life imitating art?"

He tapped his pen a half-dozen more times, frowned. "You would think that if indeed Nikki was really worried about me, she'd not only break through to communicate with you, she'd tell you exactly what you needed to know, but she's never managed to be helpful, has she? Don't you find that curious, Agent Savich?"

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