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Книга EchoPark. Страница 48

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Part Two THE FIELD TRIP

14

IT SEEMED TO BOSCH to take forever to amass the motorcade, but by 10:30 Wednesday morning the entourage was finally pulling out of the basement garage of the Criminal Courts Building.

The first car in line was unmarked. It was driven by Olivas. A sheriff’s deputy from the jail division was riding shotgun, while in the back, Bosch and Rider were positioned on either side of Raynard Waits. The prisoner was in a bright orange jumpsuit and was bound by shackles on his ankles and wrists. The manacles on his wrists were secured in front to a chain that went around his waist.

Another unmarked car, driven by Rick O’Shea and carrying Maury Swann and a DA’s office evidence videographer, was second in the motorcade. It was followed by two vans, one from the LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division and the other from the coroner’s office. The group was prepared to locate and disinter the body of Marie Gesto.

In was a perfect day for a field trip. A brief overnight rain shower had cleared the sky and it was a brilliant blue with just the last wisps of upper-level clouds in view. The streets were still wet and shiny. The precipitation had also kept the temperature from climbing with the sun’s ascent. Though there can never be a good day to dig up the body of a twenty-two-year-old woman, the glory of the weather would offer a counterbalance to the grim duty at hand.

The vehicles stayed in a tight formation as they made their way onto the North 101 Freeway off the Broadway ramp. Traffic was heavy in downtown and moving at a slower than usual pace because of the wet streets. Bosch asked Olivas to crack a window to let in some fresh air and hopefully wash out the funk of Waits’s body odor. It had become apparent that the admitted killer had not been allowed a shower or issued a laundered jumpsuit that morning.

“Why don’t you just go ahead and light up, Detective?” Waits said.

Since they were sitting shoulder to shoulder Bosch had to turn awkwardly to look at Waits.

“I want the window open because of you, Waits. You stink. I haven’t had a smoke in five years.”

“I’m sure.”

“Why do you think you know me? We’ve never met. What makes you think you know me, Waits?”

“I don’t know you. I know your type. You have an addictive personality, Detective. Murder cases, cigarettes, maybe even the alcohol I smell coming out of your pores. You’re not that hard to read.”

Waits smiled and Bosch looked away. He thought about things for a moment before speaking again.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Are you talking to me?” Waits asked.

“Yes, I’m talking to you. I want to know. Who are you?”

“Bosch,” Olivas quickly interjected from the front. “The deal is, we don’t question him without Maury Swann being present. So leave him alone.”

“This isn’t an interrogation. I’m just making conversation back here.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t care what you want to call it. Don’t.”

Bosch could see Olivas looking at him in the rearview mirror. They held each other’s stare until Olivas had to put his eyes back on the road.

Bosch leaned forward so that he could turn and look past Waits and over at Rider. She rolled her eyes at him. It was her don’t-make-trouble look.

“Maury Swann,” Bosch said. “Yeah, he’s a good goddamn lawyer, all right. Got this man the deal of a lifetime.”

“Bosch!” Olivas said.

“I’m not talking to him. I’m talking to my partner.”

Bosch leaned back, deciding to drop it. Next to him the manacles clinked as Waits tried to adjust his position.

“You didn’t have to take the deal, Detective Bosch,” he said quietly.

“It wasn’t my choice,” Bosch said without looking at him. “If it had been, we wouldn’t be doing this.”

Waits nodded.

“An eye for an eye, man,” he said. “I could have guessed. You’re the kind of man who would-”

“Waits,” Olivas said sharply. “Just keep your mouth shut.”

Olivas reached toward the dash and turned on the radio. Loud mariachi music blared from the speakers. He immediately slapped the button to kill the sound.

“Who the fuck was driving this last?” he asked of no one in particular.

Bosch knew Olivas was covering up. He was embarrassed that he had not changed the channel or lowered the volume when he brought the car back last time.

The car remained silent. They were cutting through Hollywood now, and Olivas put on his turn signal and moved into the exit lane for Gower Avenue. Bosch turned around to look out the back window and see if they still had the other three vehicles with them. The group remained intact. But Bosch could now see a helicopter trailing above the motorcade. It had a large number 4 on its white underbelly. Bosch jerked back around and looked at Olivas in the rearview.

“Who called out the media, Olivas? Was that you or your boss?”

“My boss? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Olivas glanced at him in the mirror but then quickly back at the road. It was too furtive a move. Bosch knew he was lying.

“Yeah, right. What’s in this for you? Ricochet’s going to make you chief of investigations after he wins? Is that it?”

Now Olivas held his eyes in the mirror.

“I’m not getting anywhere in the department. I might as well go where I’m respected and my skills are valued.”

“What, is that the line you say to yourself in the mirror each morning?”

“Fuck you, Bosch.”

“Gentlemen, gentlemen,” Waits said. “Can’t we all just get along here?”

“Shut up, Waits,” Bosch said. “You might not care that this is being turned into a commercial for Candidate O’Shea, but I do. Olivas, pull over. I want to talk to O’Shea.”

Olivas shook his head.

“No way. Not with a custody in the car.”

They were coming down the exit ramp to Gower. Olivas took a quick right and they came to the light at Franklin. It turned green as they got there and they crossed Franklin and started up Beachwood Drive.

Olivas would not have to stop until they got to the top. Bosch pulled out his cell phone and called the number O’Shea had given everyone in the CCB garage that morning before heading off.

“O’Shea.”

“It’s Bosch. I don’t think it was a smart thing to call the media out on this.”

O’Shea held for a moment before answering.

“They’re a safe distance. They’re in the air.”

“And who’s going to be waiting for us at the top of Beachwood?”

“No one, Bosch. I was very specific with them. They could track us from the air but anyone on the ground would compromise the operation. You don’t have to worry. They are working with me. They know they have to establish the relationship.”

“Whatever.”

Bosch closed his phone and jammed it back into his pocket.

“You need to calm down, Detective,” Waits said.

“And, Waits, you need to keep quiet.”

“Just trying to be helpful.”

“Then shut the fuck up.”

The car turned silent again. Bosch decided that his anger over the trailing media chopper and everything else was a distraction he didn’t need. He tried to put it out of his mind and think about what was ahead.

Beachwood Canyon was a quiet neighborhood on the slope of the Santa Monica Mountains between Hollywood and Los Feliz. It didn’t have the rustic, wooded charm of Laurel Canyon to the west but it was preferred by its inhabitants because it was quieter, safer, and self-contained. Unlike most of the canyon passes to the west, Beachwood reached a dead end at the top. It was not a route for going over the mountains, and consequently, the traffic in Beachwood did not consist of people just passing through. It consisted of people who belonged. That made it feel like a real neighborhood.

As they ascended, they saw that the Hollywood sign atop Mount Lee was directly in view through the windshield. It had been put up on the next ridge more than eighty years ago to advertise the Hollywoodland real-estate development at the top of Beachwood. The sign was eventually shortened and now advertised a state of mind more than anything else. The only official indication left of Hollywoodland was the fortresslike stone gateway halfway up Beachwood.

The gateway, with its historical plaque commemorating the development, led to a small village circle with shops, a neighborhood market and the enduring Hollywoodland real-estate office. Further up, at the dead end at the top, was the Sunset Ranch, the starting point of more than fifty miles of horse trails that stretched over the mountains into and throughout Griffith Park. This was where Marie Gesto traded menial work in the stables for time on horseback. This was where the grim motorcade of investigators, body recovery experts and a manacled killer finally came to a stop.

The Sunset Ranch parking lot was merely a level clearing located on the slope below the ranch itself. Gravel had been dumped and spread. Visitors to the ranch had to park here and then leg it up to the stables at the top. The parking lot was isolated and surrounded by dense woods. It could not be seen from the ranch and that was what Waits had counted on when he had stalked and abducted Marie Gesto.

Bosch waited impatiently in the car until Olivas disabled the rear door locks. He then got out and looked up at the helicopter circling above. He had to work hard to keep his anger in check. He closed the car door and made sure it was locked. The plan was to leave Waits locked inside until everyone was sure the area was secure. Bosch walked directly to O’Shea as he was getting out of his car.

“Call your contact at Channel Four and ask them to take the chopper up another five hundred feet. The noise is a distraction we don’t-”

“I already did, Bosch. Okay? Look, I know you don’t like the media presence but it is an open society we live in and the public has a right to know what is going on here.”

“Especially when it can help with your election, right?”

O’Shea spoke to him impatiently.

“Educating voters is what a campaign is all about. Excuse me, we have a body to find.”

O’Shea abruptly walked away from him and over to Olivas, who was maintaining a vigil next to the car containing Waits. Bosch noticed that the sheriff’s deputy was also standing guard at the rear of the car. He was holding a shotgun at ready position.

Rider came up to Bosch.

“Harry, are you all right?”

“Never better. Just watch your back with these people.”

He was watching O’Shea and Olivas. They were now conferring about something. The sound of the helicopter’s rotor blades prevented Bosch from hearing their exchange.

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