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Книга EchoPark. Страница 34

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“When did you find this out?” she asked.

“Right after I left you today.”

She nodded.

“Which explains why you were hitting the vodka so hard.”

“I guess so.”

“I thought… never mind what I thought.”

“No, it wasn’t because of seeing you, Rachel. Seeing you was-I mean, is-actually very nice.”

She took up her mug and drank from it, then looked down at her work and seemed to steel herself to move on.

“Well, I don’t see how his calling you back then changes my conclusions,” she said. “Yes, it does seem out of character for him to have made contact under any name. But you have to remember the Gesto case took place in the early stages of his formation. There are a number of aspects involving Gesto that don’t fit with the rest. So for it to be the only case where he made contact would not be all that unusual.”

“Okay.”

She referred to her notes again, continuing to avoid his eyes since he had told her of the mistake.

“So where was I before you brought that up?”

“You said that after the first two killings he chose victims he could pull beneath the surface without notice.”

“Exactly. What I’m saying is that he was getting his satisfaction in the work. He didn’t need anybody else to know he was doing it. He wasn’t getting off on the attention. He wanted no attention. His fulfillment was self-contained. It needed no outside or public component.”

“So then, what bothers you?”

She looked up at him.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. But you look like something about your own profile of the guy bothers you. Something you don’t believe.”

She nodded, acknowledging that he had read her correctly.

“It’s just that his profile doesn’t support someone who would cooperate at this stage of the game, who would tell you about the other crimes. What I see here is someone who would never admit to it. Any of it. He would deny it, or at the very least keep quiet about it, until they put the needle in his arm.”

“All right, so that’s a contradiction. Don’t all of these guys have contradictions? They’re all messed up in some way. No profile is ever a hundred percent, right?”

She nodded.

“That’s true. But it still doesn’t fit and so I guess what I am trying to say is that from his point of view, there is something else. A higher goal, if you will. A plan. This whole confession thing is indicative of manipulation.”

Bosch nodded like what she had said was obvious.

“Of course it is. He’s manipulating O’Shea and the system. He’s using this to avoid the needle.”

“Maybe so, but there may be other motives as well. Be careful.”

She said the last two words sternly, as if she were correcting a subordinate or even a child.

“Don’t worry, I will,” Bosch said.

He decided not to dwell on it.

“What do you think about the dismemberment?” he asked. “What’s it say?”

“I actually spent most of my time studying the autopsies. I have always believed that you learn the most about a killer from his victims. Cause of death in each case was determined to be strangulation. There were no stab wounds on the bodies. There was just the dismemberment. These are two different things. I think the dismemberment was simply part of the cleanup. It was a way for him to easily dispose of the bodies. Again, it shows his skills, planning and organization. The more I read, the more I realized how lucky we were to get him that night.”

She ran a finger down the sheet of notes she had written and then continued.

“I find the bags very intriguing. Three bags for two women. One bag held both heads and all four hands. It was as if he possibly had a separate destination or plan for the bag containing the identifiers; the heads and the hands. Have they been able to determine where he was going when they pulled him over?”

Bosch shrugged.

“Not really. The assumption was that he was going to bury the bags somewhere around the stadium, but that doesn’t really work because they saw him drive off of Stadium Way and into a neighborhood. He was driving away from the stadium and the woods and the places he could bury the bags. There were some open lots down in the neighborhood and access to the hillsides below the stadium, but it seems to me that if he was going to bury them he would not have gone into a neighborhood. He would go deep into the park, where there was less chance of being noticed.”

“Exactly.”

She glanced at some of her other documents.

“What?” Bosch asked.

“Well, this Reynard the Fox thing might have nothing to do with all of this. It may all be coincidence.”

“But in the epic Reynard had a castle that was his secret hideaway.”

She raised her eyebrows.

“I didn’t think you had a computer, let alone knew how to research on line.”

“I don’t. My partner did the search. But I gotta tell you, I was over in the neighborhood right before I called you today. I didn’t see any castle.”

She shook her head.

“Don’t take everything so literally,” she said.

“Well, there’s still a big question about the Reynard stuff,” he said.

“Which is?”

“Did you look at the booking sheet in the file? He wouldn’t talk to Olivas and his partner but he did answer the protocol questions at the jail when he was booked. He listed his education level as high school. No higher education. I mean, look, the guy’s a window washer. How would he even know about this medieval fox?”

“I don’t know. But as I said, the character has popped up repeatedly in all cultures. Children’s books, television shows, there are any number of ways the character could have made an impact on this man. And don’t underestimate this man’s intelligence because he washed windows for a living. He owned and operated a business. That is significant in terms of showing some of his capabilities. The fact that he operated as a killer with impunity for so long is another strong indicator of intelligence.”

Bosch wasn’t completely convinced. He fired off another question that would take her in a new direction.

“How do the first two fit in? He went from public spectacle with the riots and then a big media splash with Marie Gesto to, as you say, diving completely beneath the surface.”

“Every serial killer’s MO changes. The simple answer is that he was on a learning curve. I think the first killing-with the male victim-was an opportunity killing. Like a spree killing. He had thought about killing for a long time but wasn’t sure he could do it. He found himself in a situation-the chaos of the riots-where he could test himself. It was an opportunity to see if he could actually kill someone and then get away with it. The sex of the victim was not important. The identity of the victim was not important. At that moment he just wanted to find out if he could do it and almost any victim would do.”

Bosch could see that. He nodded.

“So he did,” he said. “And then we come to Marie Gesto. He picks a victim who draws the police and the media’s attention.”

“He was still learning, forming,” she said. “He knew he could kill and now he wanted to go out and hunt. She was his first victim. She crossed his path, something about her fit his fantasy program and she simply became prey. At that time his focus was on victim acquisition and self-protection. In that case he chose badly. He chose a woman who would be sorely missed and whose disappearance would draw an immediate response. He probably didn’t know this going into it. But he learned from it, from the heat he brought upon himself.”

Bosch nodded.

“Anyway, after Gesto he learned to add a third element to his focus: victim backgrounding. He made sure that he chose victims who not only met the needs of his program but who would also come from a societal fringe, where their comings and goings would not be cause for notice, let alone alarm.”

“And he went beneath the surface.”

“Exactly. He went under and he stayed there. Until we got lucky in Echo Park.”

Bosch nodded. All of this was helpful.

“It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?” he asked. “About how many of these guys are out there. The under-the-surface killers.”

Walling nodded.

“Yes. Sometimes it scares me to death. Makes me wonder how long this guy would have gone on killing if we hadn’t gotten so lucky.”

She checked her notes and said nothing further.

“Is that all you’ve got?” Bosch asked.

Walling looked up at him sharply and he realized he had chosen his words poorly.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said quickly. “This is all great and it’s going to help me a lot. I just meant is there anything else you wanted to talk about?”

She held his eyes for a moment before replying.

“Yes, there is something else. It’s not about this, though.”

“Then, what is it?”

“You’ve got to give yourself a break on that phone call, Harry. You can’t let that bring you down. The work ahead is too important.”

Bosch nodded insincerely. It was easy for her to say that. She wouldn’t have to live with the ghosts of all the women Raynard Waits would begin to tell them about the next morning.

“Don’t just nod it off like that,” Rachel said. “Do you know how many cases I worked in Behavioral where the guy kept killing? How many times we got calls and notes from these creeps but still couldn’t get to them before the next victim was dead?”

“I know, I know.”

“We all have ghosts. It’s part of the job. With some jobs it’s a bigger part than with others. I had a boss once, he used to say, if you can’t stand the ghosts, get out of the haunted house.”

He nodded again, this time while looking directly at her. He meant it this time.

“How many murders have you solved, Harry? How many killers have you put away?”

“I don’t know. I don’t keep track.”

“Maybe you should.”

“What’s the point?”

“The point is, how many of those killers would have done it again if you hadn’t taken them down? More than a few, I bet.”

“Probably.”

“There you go. You’re way ahead in the long run. Think about that.”

“Okay.”

His mind flashed on one of those killers. Bosch had arrested Roger Boylan many years before. He drove a pickup with a camper shell on the back. He had used marijuana to entice a couple young girls into the back while parked up at Hansen Dam. He raped and killed them, injecting them with an overdose of a horse tranquilizer. He then threw their bodies into the dry bed of the nearby slough. When Bosch put the cuffs on him Boylan had only one thing to say.

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