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Книга EchoPark. Страница 15

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“The best way?” Bosch asked. “Not the right way, if you ask me.”

O’Shea picked up a pen and drummed it lightly on his desk before responding.

“Detective Bosch, why did you sign out the Gesto file so many times?”

Bosch felt Rider turn and look at him. She had asked him the same thing on more than one occasion.

“I told you,” he said. “I pulled it because it had been my case. It bothered me that we never made anybody for it.”

“In other words, it has haunted you.”

Bosch nodded hesitantly.

“Did she have family?”

Bosch nodded again.

“She had parents up in Bakersfield. They had a lot of dreams for her.”

“Think about them. And think about the families of the others. We can’t tell them that Waits was the one unless we know for sure. My guess is that they will want to know and that they are willing to trade that knowledge for his life. It’s better that he plead guilty to all of them than that we get him for only two.”

Bosch said nothing. He had registered his objection. He now knew it was time to go to work. Rider was on the same vibe.

“What is the time frame on this?” she asked.

“I want to move quickly,” O’Shea said. “If this is legit, I want to clean it up and get it done.”

“Gotta get it in before the election, right?” Bosch asked.

He then immediately regretted it. O’Shea’s lips formed a tight line. Blood seemed to collect beneath the skin around his eyes.

“Detective,” he said. “I will give you that. I’m running for election and clearing eleven murders with convictions would be helpful to my cause. But do not suggest the election is my only motivation here. Every night that those parents who carried dreams for their daughter go to bed not knowing where she is or what happened to her is a night of terrible pain as far as I am concerned. Even after thirteen years. So I want to move quickly and assuredly and you can keep your speculations about anything else to yourself.”

“Fine,” Bosch said. “When do we talk to this guy?”

O’Shea looked at Olivas and then back at Bosch.

“Well, I think we should have an exchange of files first. You should come up to speed on Waits and I’d like Freddy to familiarize himself with the Gesto file. Once that is done we’ll set something up with Maury Swann. What about tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow’s fine,” Bosch said. “Swann will be there during the interview?”

O’Shea nodded.

“Maury’s riding this one all the way. He’ll milk every angle, probably end up with a book and a movie deal before this thing’s over. Maybe even a guest anchor slot on Court TV.”

“Yeah, well,” Bosch said, “at least then he’d be out of the courtroom.”

“Never thought of it that way,” O’Shea said. “Did you bring the Gesto records?”

Bosch opened his briefcase on his lap and took out the investigation file, which was contained in a three-inch-thick binder generally known as a murder book. He handed it to O’Shea, who turned and gave it to Olivas.

“And I will give you this in return,” O’Shea said.

He slid the file back into the accordion folder and handed it all across the desk.

“Happy reading,” he said. “Are you sure about tomorrow?”

Bosch looked at Rider to see if she had an objection. They had another day before they needed to walk the Matarese filing to the DA. But the work was mostly finished and he knew Rider could handle the rest. When Rider said nothing Bosch looked back at O’Shea.

“We’ll be ready,” he said.

“Then I will call Maury and set it up.”

“Where is Waits?”

“Right here in the building,” O’Shea said. “We’ve got him in high-power on keep-away status.”

“Good,” Rider said.

“What about the other seven?” Bosch asked.

“What about them?”

“Are there no files?”

“The proffer, as well as Maury Swann, indicates that these were women who were never found and possibly never reported missing in the first place,” O’Shea said. “Waits is willing to lead us to them but there is no prep work we can do for them.”

Bosch nodded.

“Any other questions?” O’Shea asked, signaling that the meeting was over.

“We’ll let you know,” Bosch said.

“I know I am repeating myself but I feel I need to,” O’Shea said. “This investigation is all off the record. That file is a proffer that is part of a plea negotiation. Nothing in that file or anything that he tells you can ever be used to make a case against him. If this falls apart, then you will not be able to use the information to pursue him. Is that clearly understood?”

Bosch didn’t answer.

“It’s clear,” Rider said.

“There is one exception that I have negotiated. If he lies, if you catch him at any time in a lie or if any piece of information he gives you during this process proves to be knowingly false, all bets are off and we can go after him for all of it. He has been made quite aware of this, too.”

Bosch nodded. He stood up. Rider did, too.

“Do you need me to call someone to free you two up?” O’Shea asked. “I can flex a muscle if needed.”

Rider shook her head.

“I don’t think so,” she said. “Harry was already working the Gesto case. The seven women might be unknown victims but there’s got to be a file in Archives on the man in the pawnshop. It all cuts Open-Unsolved in. We can handle our supervisor.”

“Okay, then. As soon as I have the interview set up I will call. Meantime, all of my numbers are in the file. Freddy’s, too.”

Bosch nodded to O’Shea and threw a glance at Olivas before turning to the door.

“Detectives?” O’Shea said.

Bosch and Rider turned back to him. He was standing now. He wanted to shake their hands.

“I am hoping you are on my side on this,” O’Shea said.

Bosch shook his hand, unsure whether O’Shea was talking about the case or the election.

He said, “If Waits can help me bring Marie Gesto home to her parents, then I’m on your side.”

It wasn’t a completely accurate summation of his feelings, but it got him out of the office.

3

BACK AT OPEN-UNSOLVED they sat in their supervisor’s office and brought him up to date on the day’s developments. Abel Pratt was four weeks away from retirement after twenty-five years on the job. He was attentive to them but not overly so. On the side of his desk was a stack of Fodor’s guidebooks for Caribbean islands. His plan was to pull the pin, leave the city and find an island to live on with his family. It was a common retirement dream among law enforcement officers-to pull back from all the darkness witnessed for so long on the job. The reality, however, was that after about six months on the beach the island got pretty boring.

A detective three from RHD named David Lambkin was set to be the squad’s top after Pratt split. He was a nationally recognized sex crimes expert chosen for the job because so many of the cold cases they were working in the unit were sexually motivated. Bosch was looking forward to working with him and would have liked to be briefing him instead of Pratt but the timing was off.

They went with who they had, and one of the positive things about Pratt was that he was going to give them free rein until he was out the door. He just didn’t want any waves, no blowback in his face. He wanted a quiet, uneventful last month on the job.

Like most cops with twenty-five years in the department, Pratt was a throwback. He was old school. He preferred working on a typewriter over a computer. Rolled halfway up in the IBM Selectric next to his desk was a letter he had been working on when Bosch and Rider stepped in. Bosch had grabbed a quick glance at it while he was sitting down and saw it was a letter to a casino in the Bahamas. Pratt was trying to line up a security gig in paradise, and that about said it all when it came to where his mind was at these days.

After hearing their briefing, Pratt gave his approval for them to work with O’Shea and only became animated when he issued a warning about Raynard Waits’s attorney, Maury Swann.

“Let me tell you about Maury,” Pratt said. “Whatever you do when you meet him do not shake his hand.”

“Why not?” Rider asked.

“I had a case with him once. This is way back. It was a gangbanger on a one-eighty-seven. Every day when we started court, Maury made a big deal of shaking my hand and then the prosecutor’s. He probably would have shaken the judge’s hand, too, if he’d gotten the chance.”

“So?”

“So after his guy was convicted he tried to get a reduced sentence by snitching out the others involved in the murder. One of the things he told me during the debriefing was that he thought I was dirty. He said that during the trial Maury had told him he could buy all of us. Me, the prosecutor, everybody. So the banger had his homegirl get him the cash and Maury explained to him that every time he was shaking our hands he was paying us off. You know, passing the cash palm to palm. He always did those two-handed shakes, too. He was really selling it to his guy while all along he was keeping the cash.”

“Holy shit!” Rider exclaimed. “Didn’t you guys work up a case on him?”

Pratt dismissed the idea with a wave.

“It was after the fact and besides it was a bullshit he-said-he-said case. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere-not with Maury being a member of the bar in good standing and all. But ever since then I heard that Maury likes shaking hands a lot. So when you get in that room with him and Waits, don’t shake his hand.”

They left Pratt’s office, smiling at the story, and returned to their own workstation. The division of labor had been worked out on their walk back from the courthouse. Bosch would take Waits, and Rider would take Fitzpatrick. They would know the files inside and out by the time they sat across the table from Waits in the interview room the following day.

Since Rider had less to read in the Fitzpatrick case she also would finish the filing on Matarese. This meant Bosch was cleared to study full-time the world of Raynard Waits. After pulling out the Fitzpatrick file for Rider, he chose to take the accordion folder O’Shea had given them down to the cafeteria. He knew the lunch crowd would be thinning out and he would be able to spread the files out and work without the distractions of the constantly ringing phones and chatter of the Open-Unsolved squad room. He had to use a napkin to clean a table in the corner but then quickly settled into his review of the materials.

There were three files on Waits. They included the LAPD murder book compiled by Olivas and Ted Colbert, his partner in the Northeast Division Homicide squad, a file on a prior arrest and the prosecution file compiled by O’Shea.

8

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