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Книга EchoPark. Страница 83

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Bosch just smiled. He was too excited by the fact that a file was actually still in existence to be upset by one more frustration. He thanked her and told her he would be back with the court order.

Bosch stepped back out into the sunlight. He knew he was at a crossroads now. Dancing around the truth of where he was during phone calls with Abel Pratt was one thing. But if he was to apply for a search warrant seeking the DCFS records without departmental approval-coming in the form of a supervisor’s okay-then he would be completely going off the reservation. He would be conducting a rogue investigation and committing a firing offense.

He figured he could take what he had into Randolph at OIS or the Fugitive Task Force and let them run with it, or he could go the rogue route and accept the possible consequences. Since coming back from retirement Bosch had felt less constricted by the rules and regulations of the department. He had already walked out the door once and knew that if push came to shove he would be able to do it again. The second time would be easier. He didn’t want it to come to that but he could do it if he had to.

He pulled out his phone and made the one call he knew might save him from making a choice between two bad options. Rachel Walling answered her cell on the second ring.

“So what’s happening over there in Tactical?” he asked.

“Oh, we always have something happening here. How did it go downtown? Did you hear that Waits abducted another woman last night?”

She had a habit of asking more than one question at a time, especially when she was excited. Bosch told her that he had heard about the abduction and then related the tale of his morning’s activities.

“So what are you going to do?”

“Well, I’m thinking about seeing if the FBI might be interested in joining the case.”

“And what about the case would carry it across the federal threshold?”

“You know, corruption of public officials, campaign finance violations, kidnapping, cats and dogs living together-the usual stuff.”

She stayed serious.

“I don’t know, Harry. You open that door and there’s no telling where it will go.”

“But I’ve got an insider. Somebody who will watch out for me and safeguard the case.”

“Wrong. They probably wouldn’t let me anywhere near this. It’s not my group and there’s the conflict of interest.”

“What conflict? We’ve worked together before.”

“I’m just telling you how this will likely be received.”

“Look, I need a search warrant. If I go off the reservation to get one I probably won’t be able to come back on again. I know it will be the last straw with Pratt, that’s for sure. But if I can say that I was brought into a federal investigation, then that would give me a valid explanation. It would give me an out. All I want is to look at Foxworth’s DCFS file. I think it will lead us to whatever’s in Echo Park.”

She was quiet for a long moment before responding.

“Where are you right now?”

“I’m still at DCFS.”

“Go get a doughnut or something. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“You sure?”

“No, but that’s what we’re going to do.”

She hung up the phone. Bosch closed his and looked around. Instead of a doughnut he went over to a newspaper box and got the morning edition of the Times. He took a seat on the planter that ran along the front length of the DCFS building and looked through the paper for stories on the Raynard Waits and Beachwood Canyon investigations.

There was no story on the abduction on Hollywood Boulevard because that had occurred during the night and long after the paper’s deadline. The coverage of the Waits story had moved off the front page to the state and local section but it was still extensive. There were three stories in all. The most prominent report was on the so-far-unsuccessful nationwide search for the escaped serial killer. Most of the information had already been rendered obsolete by the events of the night. There was no nationwide search anymore. Waits was still here in the city.

This story jumped inside the section and was framed by two sidebars. One was an update on the investigation that filled in some of the details of what had happened during the shoot-out and escape, and the other story was a political update. This latter story was written by Keisha Russell and Bosch quickly scanned it to see if anything they had discussed about Rick O’Shea’s campaign financing had gotten into the paper. Luckily there was nothing, and he felt his trust in her rising.

Bosch finished reading the stories and there was still no sign of Rachel. He moved into other sections of the paper, studying the box scores of sporting events he cared nothing about and reading reviews of movies he would never see. When there was nothing left for him to read he put the paper aside and started pacing in front of the building. He became anxious, worried that he’d lose the edge the morning’s discoveries had given him.

He got out his phone to call her but decided instead to call St. Joseph’s Hospital and check on Kiz Rider’s condition. He was transferred to the third-floor nursing station and was then put on hold. While he was waiting to be connected he saw Rachel finally pull up in a federal cruiser. He closed the phone, crossed the sidewalk and met her as she was getting out.

“What’s the plan?” he said by way of greeting.

“What, no ‘how are you doing’ or ‘thanks for coming’?”

“Thanks for coming. What’s the plan?”

They started walking into the building.

“The plan is the federal plan. I go in and draw down on the man in charge the full force and weight of the government of this great country. I raise the specter of terrorism and he gives us the file.”

Bosch stopped.

“You call that a plan?”

“It’s worked pretty well for us for more than fifty years.”

She didn’t stop. He now had to hurry to catch up.

“How do you know it’s a man in charge?”

“Because it always is. Which way?”

He pointed straight ahead in the main hallway. Rachel didn’t break stride.

“I didn’t wait around for forty minutes for this, Rachel.”

“You have a better idea?”

“I had a better idea. A federal search warrant, remember?”

“That was a nonstarter, Bosch. I told you, I open that door and you get trampled. This is better. In and out. If I get you the file, I get you the file. Doesn’t matter how.”

She was two paces in front of him now, moving with federal momentum. Bosch secretly started to believe. She moved through the double doors beneath the sign that said RECORDS with an authority and command presence that could not be questioned.

The clerk Bosch had dealt with was at the counter speaking with another citizen. Walling stepped right up and didn’t wait for an invitation to speak. She drew her credentials from her suit jacket pocket in one smooth move.

“FBI. I need to see your office manager in regard to a matter of urgency.”

The clerk looked at her with an unimpressed face.

“I will be with you as soon as I fin-”

“You’re with me now, honey. Go get your boss or I’ll go get him. This is life-or-death urgent.”

The woman made a face that seemed to indicate she had never encountered such rudeness before. Without a word to the citizen in front of her or anyone else she stepped away from the counter and walked to a door behind a row of cubicles.

They waited less than a minute. The clerk stepped back out through the door, followed by a man wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt and a maroon tie. He came directly to Rachel Walling.

“I’m Mr. Osborne. How can I help you?”

“We need to step into your office, sir. This is a highly confidential matter.”

“Over this way, please.”

He pointed to a swing door at the far end of the counter. Bosch and Walling walked down to it and its lock was buzzed open. They followed Osborne back through the rear door to his office. Rachel let him get a look at her credentials once he was seated behind a desk festooned with dusty Dodgers memorabilia. There was a wrapped sandwich from Subway front and center on his desk.

“What’s this all-”

“Mr. Osborne, I work for the Tactical Intelligence Unit here in Los Angeles. I’m sure you understand what that means. And this is Detective Harry Bosch of the LAPD. We’re working a joint investigation of high importance and urgency. We’ve learned from your clerk that there exists a file pertaining to an individual named Robert Foxworth, date of birth eleven/three/’seventy-one. It is vitally important that we be allowed to review that file immediately.”

Osborne nodded, but what he said didn’t go with a nod.

“I understand. But here at DCFS we work under very precise laws. State laws that protect the children. The records of our juvenile wards are not open to the public without court order. My hands are-”

“Sir, Robert Foxworth is no longer a juvenile. He is thirty-four years old. The file might contain information that will lead us to the containment of a very grave threat to this city. It will undoubtedly save lives.”

“I know, but you have to understand that we are not-”

“I do understand. I understand perfectly that if we don’t see that file now, we could be talking about a loss of human life. You don’t want that on your conscience, Mr. Osborne, and neither do we. That’s why we are on the same team. I’ll make a deal with you, sir. We will review the file right here in your office with you watching. In the meantime, I will get on the phone and instruct a member of my team at Tactical to draw up a search warrant. I will see to it that it is signed by a judge and furnished to you before the end of business today.”

“Well… I’d have to call it up from Archives.”

“Are the archives here in the building?”

“Yes, down below.”

“Then, please call Archives and get that file up here. We don’t have a lot of time, sir.”

“Just wait here. I will handle it personally.”

“Thank you, Mr. Osborne.”

The man left the office and Walling and Bosch sat down in chairs in front of his desk. Rachel smiled.

“Now let’s hope he doesn’t change his mind,” she said.

“You’re good,” he responded. “I tell my daughter that she could talk a zebra out of its stripes. I think you could talk a tiger out of its.”

“If I get this, you owe me another lunch at Water Grill.”

“Fine. Just no sashimi.”

They waited for Osborne’s return for nearly fifteen minutes. When he came back to the office he was carrying a file folder that was nearly an inch thick. He presented it to Walling, who took the file as she was standing up. Bosch took the cue and stood as well.


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