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Authors: Michael Connelly

Tags: #Mystery & Detective, #Suspense, #Fiction, #General, #Crime, #Thrillers, #Police Procedural

The Overlook (16 page)

BOOK: The Overlook
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“The FBI didn’t say anything about it being a water-borne threat,” Bosch said.

Hadley shook his head.

“Doesn’t matter. Bottom line is that it’s a threat. I’m sure the FBI said that. Well, the bureau can talk about it. We’re going to
do
something about it.”

Bosch stepped back, trying to draw some fresh air into the discussion. This was moving too quickly.

“So you’re going to go in?” he asked.

Hadley was working his jaw in quick powerful bites of the gum. He seemed not to notice the strong odor of garbage emanating from the back of the truck.

“You’re damn right we’re going to go in,” he said. “Just as soon as that warrant gets here.”

“You got a judge to sign a warrant that’s based on a stolen car being parked in front of the house?” Bosch asked.

Hadley signaled to one of his men.

“Bring the bags, Perez,” he called. Then to Bosch he said, “No, that’s not all we got. Today’s trash day, Detective. I sent the garbage truck up the street and a couple of my men emptied the two cans that were in front of Samir’s house. Perfectly legal, as you know. And lookee at what we got.”

Perez hustled over with the plastic evidence bags and handed them to Hadley.

“Captain, I checked the OP,” Perez said. “Still quiet up there.”

“Thank you, Perez.”

Hadley took the bags and turned back to Bosch and Ferras. Perez went back to the SUV.

“Our observation post is a guy in a tree,” Hadley said with a smile. “He’ll let us know if anybody makes a move up there before we’re ready.”

He handed Bosch the bags. Two of them contained black woolen ski masks. The third contained a slip of paper with a hand-drawn map on it. Bosch looked closely at it. It was a series of crisscrossing lines with two of them marked as Arrowhead and Mulholland. Once he registered these he could tell the map was a fairly accurate rendering of the neighborhood where Stanley Kent had lived and died.

Bosch handed the bags back and shook his head.

“Captain, I think you should hold up.”

Hadley looked shocked by the suggestion.

“Hold up? We’re not holding up. If this guy and his pals contaminate the reservoir with that poison, do you think the people of this city are going to accept that we held up to make sure we dotted every
i
and crossed every
t
? We’re not holding up.”

He underlined his resolve by taking the gum out of his mouth and throwing it into the back of the sanitation truck. He took his foot off the bumper and started heading back to his crew but then made a sudden U-turn and came back directly to Bosch.

“As far as I’m concerned we’ve got the leader of a terrorist cell operating out of that house and we’re going to go in and shut it down. What’s your problem with that, Detective Bosch?”

“It’s too easy, that’s my problem. It’s not about us dotting every
i
because that’s what the killers already did. This was a carefully planned crime, Captain. They wouldn’t have just left the car in front of the house or put this stuff in the trash cans. Think about it.”

Bosch held there and watched Hadley work it over for a few moments. He then shook his head.

“Maybe the car wasn’t left there,” he said. “Maybe they still plan to use it as part of the delivery. There are a lot of variables, Bosch. Things we don’t know. We’re still going in. We laid it all out to the judge and he said we have probable cause. That’s good enough for me. We’ve got a no-knock warrant coming and we’re going to use it.”

Bosch refused to give up.

“Where did the tip come from, Captain? How did you find the car?”

Hadley’s jaw started working but then he remembered he had tossed his gum.

“One of my sources,” he said. “We’ve been building an intelligence network in this city for almost four years. Today it’s paying off.”

“Are you telling me you know who the source is or did it come in anonymously?”

Hadley waved his hands in a dismissive manner.

“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “The info was good. That’s the car up there. There’s no doubt about that.”

He pointed in the direction of the reservoir. Bosch knew by Hadley’s sidestepping that the tip was anonymous, the hallmark of a setup.

“Captain, I urge you to stand down,” he said. “There is something not right about this. It’s too simple and this wasn’t a simple plan. It’s some sort of misdirection and we need to figure—”

“We’re not standing down, Detective. Lives could hang in the balance.”

Bosch shook his head. He wasn’t going to get through to Hadley. The man believed he was poised at the edge of some sort of victory that would redeem every mistake he had ever made.

“Where’s the FBI?” Bosch asked. “Shouldn’t they be—”

“We don’t need the FBI,” Hadley said, getting in Bosch’s face again. “We have the training, the equipment and the skills. What’s more, we have the balls. And for once we’re going to take care of what’s in our own backyard ourselves.”

He gestured to the ground as if the place where he stood was the last battlefield between the bureau and the LAPD.

“What about the chief?” Bosch tried. “Does he know? I was just—”

Bosch stopped, remembering the chief’s admonishment about keeping their meeting at the Donut Hole to themselves.

“You were just what?” Hadley asked.

“I just want to know if he knows and approves.”

“The chief has given me full authority to run my unit. Do you call the chief every time you go out and make an arrest?”

He turned and marched imperiously back to his men, leaving Bosch and Ferras to watch him go.

“Uh-oh,” Ferras said.

“Yeah,” Bosch said.

Bosch stepped away from the back of the foul-smelling sanitation truck and pulled out his phone. He scrolled through his directory to Rachel Walling’s name. He had just pressed the call button when Hadley was there in his face again. Bosch hadn’t heard him coming.

“Detective! Who are you calling?”

Bosch didn’t hesitate.

“My lieutenant. He told me to update him after we got here.”

“No cellular or radio transmissions. They could be monitoring.”

“They who?”

“Give me the phone.”

“Captain?”

“Give me the phone or I will have it taken from you. We’re not going to compromise this operation.”

Bosch closed the phone without ending the call. If he was lucky Walling would answer the call and be listening. She might be able to put it together and get the warning. The bureau might even be able to triangulate the cell transmission and get to Silver Lake before things went completely wrong.

He handed the phone to Hadley, who then turned to Ferras.

“Your phone, Detective.”

“Sir, my wife is eight months pregnant and I need—”

“Your phone, Detective. You are either with us or against us.”

Hadley held his hand out and Ferras reluctantly took his phone from his belt and gave it to him.

Hadley marched over to one of the SUVs, opened the passenger door and put the two phones into the glove box. He slammed the compartment shut with authority and looked back at Bosch and Ferras as if challenging them to try to retrieve their phones.

The captain’s attention was then distracted when a third black SUV pulled into the lot. The driver gave the captain a thumbs-up. Hadley then pointed a finger into the air and started a twirling motion.

“All right, everybody,” he called out. “We have the warrant and you know the plan. Perez, call air support and get us the eye in the sky. The rest of you warriors mount up! We’re going in.”

Bosch watched with growing dread as the members of the OHS chambered rounds in their weapons and put on helmets with face shields. Two of the men began putting on space suits, as they had been designated the radiation-containment team.

“This is crazy,” Ferras said in a whisper.

“Charlie don’t surf,” Bosch replied.

“What?”

“Nothing. Before your time.”

 

FOURTEEN

 

THE SLICK BANKED OVER a thirty-acre rubber plantation and put down in the LZ with the usual spine-compressing final drop. Hari Kari Bosch, Bunk Simmons, Ted Furness and Gabe Finley rolled out into the mud and Captain Gillette was there waiting for them, holding his helmet on top of his head so he wouldn’t lose it in the rotor wash. The chopper labored as it pulled its skids out of the mud—it was the first dry day after six days of rain—and took off, following the line of an irrigation canal back in the direction of III Corps HQ.

“Walk with me, men,” Gillette said.

Bosch and Simmons had been in country long enough to have nicknames but Furness and Finley were fresh and strictly OJT—on-the-job training—and Bosch knew they were scared shitless. This was going to be their first drop and nothing they taught you back at tunnel school in San Diego could prepare you for the sights, sounds and smells of the real thing.

The captain led them to a card table set up under the command tent and outlined his plan. The tunnel system under Ben Cat was extensive and needed to be taken out as part of a first-wave attempt to take control of the village above. Already the casualties from sappers and sneak attacks inside the camp perimeter were mounting. The captain explained that he was getting his ass eaten out on a daily basis by III Corps command. He didn’t mention anything about being bothered by the dead and wounded he was losing. They were replaceable but his favor with the colonel at III Corps was not.

The plan was a simple crimp operation. The captain unrolled a map drawn with the aid of villagers who had been in the tunnels. He pointed to four separate spider holes and said the four tunnel rats would go down simultaneously and force the VC in the tunnels toward a fifth hole, where the warriors of Tropic Lightning would be on top waiting to massacre them. Along the way Bosch and his fellow rats would set charges and the operation would finish with the implosion of the entire tunnel system.

The plan was simple enough until they got down there in the darkness and the labyrinth didn’t match the map they had studied on the card table under the tent. Four went down but only one came back up alive. Tropic Lightning got zero kills that day. And that was the day that Bosch knew the war was lost—for him, at least. That was when he knew that men of rank often fought battles with enemies that were inside.

 

 

BOSCH AND FERRAS RODE IN THE BACKSEAT of Captain Hadley’s SUV. Perez drove and Hadley rode shotgun, wearing a radio headset so he could command the operation. The vehicle’s radio speaker was on loud and set to the operation’s back-channel frequency—one that would not be found listed in any public directories.

They were third in line in the entourage of black SUVs. Half a block from the target house Perez braked to let the other two vehicles move in as planned.

Bosch leaned forward between the front seats so he could see better through the windshield. Each of the other SUVs had four men riding on runners on either side. The vehicles picked up speed and then turned sharply toward the Samir house. One went down the driveway of the small Craftsman-style bungalow toward the rear yard while the other jumped the curb and crossed the front lawn. One of the OHS men lost his grip when the heavy vehicle impacted the curb and he went tumbling across the lawn.

The others leaped from the runners and moved toward the front door. Bosch assumed the same thing was happening at the back door. He didn’t agree with the plan but admired its precision. There was a loud popping sound when the front door was breached with an explosive device. And almost immediately there was another from the rear.

“All right, move up,” Hadley commanded Perez.

As they drove up, the radio came alive with reports from inside the house.

“We’re inside!”

“We’re in the back!”

“Front room clear! We—”

The voice was cut off by the sound of automatic gunfire.

“Shots fired!”

“We’ve got—”

“Shots fired!”

Bosch heard more gunfire but not over the radio. They were now close enough for him to hear it live. Perez jammed the SUV into park at an angle crossing the street in front of the house. All four doors opened at once as they jumped out, leaving the doors open behind them and the radio blaring.

“All clear! All clear!”

“One suspect down. We need medical for one suspect down. We need medical!”

It was all over in less than twenty seconds.

Bosch ran across the lawn behind Hadley and Perez. Ferras was to his left side. They entered through the front door with weapons out and up. Immediately they were met by one of Hadley’s men. Above the right pocket of his fatigue shirt was the name Peck.

“We’re clear! We’re clear!”

Bosch dropped his weapon to his side but he didn’t holster it. He looked around. It was a sparely furnished living room. He smelled the exploded gunpowder and saw blue smoke hanging in the air.

“What have we got?” Hadley demanded.

“One down, one in custody,” Peck said. “Back here.”

They followed Peck down a short hallway to a room with woven-grass mats on the floor. A man Bosch recognized as Ramin Samir was on his back on the floor, blood from two chest wounds flowing over a cream-colored robe onto the floor and one of the mats. A young woman in a matching robe was lying facedown and whimpering, her hands cuffed behind her back.

Bosch saw a revolver on the floor by the open drawer of a small cabinet with lit votive candles on top of it. The gun was about eighteen inches from where Samir was lying.

“He went for the gun and we took him down,” Peck said.

Bosch looked down at Samir. He wasn’t conscious and his chest was rising and falling in a broken rhythm.

“He’s circling the drain,” Hadley said. “What have we found?”

“So far no materials,” Peck said. “We’re bringing in the equipment now.”

“All right, let’s get the car checked,” Hadley ordered. “And get her out of here.”

While two OHS men raised the crying woman up and carried her out of the room like a battering ram Hadley headed back out of the house to the curb, where the Chrysler 300 awaited. Bosch and Ferras followed.

BOOK: The Overlook
5.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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