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Книга EchoPark. Страница 70

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It wasn’t there.

Bosch leaned forward to read the document more clearly. This made no sense. In the official murder book the entry was there. Raynard Waits’s alias, Robert Saxon. The entry date was September 29, 1993, and the time of the call was 6:40 p.m. Olivas had found it during his review of the case and the next day in O’Shea’s office Bosch had seen it clear as day. He had studied it, knowing that it was confirmation of an error that allowed Waits another thirteen years of freedom to kill.

But the entry was not in Bosch’s copy of the murder book.

What the hell?

At first Bosch couldn’t put it together. The copy of the chronology in front of him was made four years earlier, when Bosch had decided to retire. He had secretly copied murder books from a handful of open cases that still gnawed at his insides. They were his retirement cases. His plan had been to work them on his own and at his leisure, to solve them before he could finally let the mission go and sit on a beach in Mexico with a fishing pole in one hand and a Corona in the other.

But it didn’t work out that way. Bosch learned that the mission was best served with a badge and he came back to the job. After he was assigned with Rider to the Open-Unsolved Unit, one of the first murder books he pulled out of Archives was the Gesto case. The book he pulled was the live record, the investigative file that was updated each time he or anybody else worked it. What he had in front of him was a copy that had sat on a shelf in his closet and had not been updated in four years. Even so, how could one have a notation entered on a 51 form in 1993, while the other one didn’t?

The logic of it dictated only one answer.

The official record of the investigation had been tampered with. The notation entering the name Robert Saxon into the murder book was added after Bosch had made his copy of the book. That of course left a four-year window during which the false notation could have been added, but common sense told Bosch he was dealing with days, not years.

Just a few days earlier Freddy Olivas had called him, looking for the murder book. Olivas took possession of the book and then became the one who discovered the Robert Saxon entry. It was Olivas who had brought it to light.

Bosch flipped through the chronology. Almost all of the pages corresponding with the dates of the initial investigation were filled in completely with time-marked notations. Only the page marked September 29 had space at the bottom. This would have allowed Olivas to remove the page from the binder, type in the Saxon entry and then return it to its place, setting the stage for his supposed discovery of this link between Waits and Gesto. Back in 1993 Bosch and Edgar did the 51s on a typewriter in the Hollywood squad room. It was all done on computer now but there were still plenty of typewriters around most squad rooms for the old-school cops-like Bosch-who couldn’t quite grasp the idea of working on a computer.

Bosch felt a heavy mixture of relief and anger start to overtake him. The burden of guilt over the mistake he and Edgar had supposedly made was lifting. They were in the clear and he needed to tell Edgar as soon as he could. But Bosch couldn’t embrace the feeling-not yet-because of the growing rage he felt at being victimized by Olivas. He stood up and walked away from the cubicle. He stepped out of the reference room and into the library’s main rotunda, where a circular mosaic high up on the walls told the story of the city’s founding.

Bosch felt like yelling something, exorcising the demon, but he kept quiet. A security guard walked quickly across the floor of the cavernous structure, maybe on his way to put the collar on a book thief or a flasher in the stacks. Bosch watched him go and then went back to his own work.

Back in the cubicle he tried to think through what had happened. Olivas had tampered with the murder book, typing a two-line entry into the chronology that would make Bosch believe he had made a profound mistake in the early stages of the investigation. The entry said that Robert Saxon had called to report seeing Marie Gesto at the Mayfair Supermarket on the afternoon she had disappeared.

That was all. It wasn’t the content of the call that was important to Olivas. It was the caller. Olivas had wanted to somehow get Raynard Waits into the murder book. Why? To put Bosch on some sort of a guilt trip that would allow Olivas the upper hand and control of the current investigation?

Bosch dismissed this. Olivas already had the upper hand and control. He was lead investigator in the Waits case and Bosch’s proprietary hold on the Gesto case would not change that. Bosch was along for the ride, yes, but he wasn’t steering the car. Olivas was steering, and therefore the Robert Saxon name plant was not necessary.

There had to be another reason.

Bosch worked it over for a while but only came to the weak conclusion that Olivas needed to connect Waits to Gesto. By putting the killer’s alias into the book, he was going back thirteen years in time and firmly tying Raynard Waits to Marie Gesto.

But Waits was about to admit he murdered Gesto. There could be no stronger tie than an uncoerced confession. He was even going to lead authorities to the body. The notation in the chronology would be a minor connection compared with these two. So then why put it in?

Ultimately, Bosch was confounded by the risk Olivas had taken. He had tampered with the official record of the murder investigation for seemingly little reason or gain. He had run the risk that Bosch would discover the deceit and call him on it. He had run the risk of the deceit possibly being revealed by a smart lawyer like Maury Swann in court one day. And he did all of this knowing that he didn’t have to, knowing that Waits would be tied solidly into the case with a confession.

Now Olivas was dead and could not be confronted. There was no one to answer why.

Except maybe Raynard Waits.

“How’s your bullshit deal looking now?”

And maybe Rick O’Shea.

Bosch thought about everything and all in a moment it came together. Bosch suddenly knew why Olivas had taken the risk and put the specter of Raynard Waits into the Marie Gesto murder book. He saw it with a clarity that left him no room for doubt.

Raynard Waits didn’t kill Marie Gesto.

He jumped up and started gathering the files together. Clutching them with both hands, he hurried through the rotunda toward the exit. His footfalls echoed behind him in the great room like a crowd of people chasing him. He looked back but there was nobody there.

22

BOSCH HAD LOST TRACK of time while in the library. He was late. Rachel was already seated and waiting for him. She was holding a large one-sheet menu that obscured the look of annoyance on her face as Bosch was led to the table by a waiter.

“Sorry,” Bosch said as he sat down.

“It’s okay,” she replied. “But I already ordered for myself. I didn’t know if you were going to show or not.”

She handed the menu across to him. He immediately handed it to the waiter.

“I’ll have what she’s having,” he said. “And just the water is fine.”

He drank from the glass already poured for him while the waiter hurried away. Rachel smiled at him, but not in a nice way.

“You’re not going to like it. You’d better call him back.”

“Why? I like seafood.”

“Because I ordered the sashimi. You told me the other night that you like your seafood cooked.”

The news gave him momentary pause but he decided he deserved to pay for his mistake of arriving late.

“It all goes to the same place,” he said, dismissing the issue. “But why do they call this place the Water Grill if they’re not grilling the food?”

“Good question.”

“Forget about it. We need to talk. I need your help, Rachel.”

“With what? What’s wrong?”

“I don’t think Raynard Waits killed Marie Gesto.”

“What do you mean? He led you to her body. Are you saying that wasn’t Marie Gesto?”

“No, ID was confirmed today at the autopsy. It was definitely Marie Gesto in that grave.”

“And Waits was the one who led you to it, right?”

“Right.”

“And Waits was the one who confessed to killing her, right?”

“Right.”

“At autopsy, was the cause of death in agreement with that confession?”

“Yeah, from what I hear, it was.”

“Then, Harry, you’re not making sense. With all of that, how can he not be the killer?”

“Because something is going on that we don’t know about, that I don’t know about. Olivas and O’Shea had some sort of play going with him. I’m not sure what it was but it all went to shit in Beachwood Canyon.”

She held up her hands in a hold-it-right-there gesture.

“Why don’t you start at the beginning. Only tell me facts. No theory, no conjecture. Just give me what you’ve got.”

He told her everything, starting with the tampering with the murder book by Olivas and concluding with the detail-by-detail accounting of what had happened when Waits started to climb up the ladder in Beachwood Canyon. He told her what Waits had yelled at O’Shea and what had been edited out of the field trip video.

It took him fifteen minutes and during that time their lunch was served. Of course it came fast, Bosch thought. It didn’t have to be cooked! He felt lucky to be the one doing all the talking. It gave him a ready excuse not to eat the raw fish put down in front of him.

By the time he was finished recounting the story he could see that Rachel’s mind had gone to work on everything. She was grinding it down.

“Putting Waits in the murder book doesn’t make sense,” she said. “It connects him to the case, yes, but he is already connected through his confession and his leading you to the body. So why bother with the murder book?”

Bosch leaned across the table to respond.

“Two things. One, Olivas thought he might need to sell the confession. He had no idea if I’d be able to punch holes in it, so he wanted some insurance. He put Waits in the file. And it put me in a position of being preconditioned to believe the confession.”

“Okay, and two?”

“This is where it gets tricky,” he said. “Putting Waits in the book was a way of preconditioning me but it was also about knocking me off my game.”

She looked at him, but what he was saying didn’t register.

“You’d better explain that.”

“This is where we go off the known facts and talk about what the facts might mean. Theory, conjecture, whatever you want to call it. Olivas put that line in the chronology and then threw it in my face. He knew that if I saw it and believed it, then I would believe that my partner and I had horribly messed up back in ’ninety-three, that I would believe people were dead because of our mistake. The weight of all those women Waits killed since then would be on me.”

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