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Authors: Michael Connelly

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

The Overlook (18 page)

BOOK: The Overlook
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“Son of a bitch! That guy is getting out of control.”

They took the elevator down to the garage level and walked from there up an incline and out onto Los Angeles Street. She turned right and he caught up. They were heading away from the noise of the freeway. She checked her watch and then pointed toward an office building of modern design and construction.

“There’s decent coffee in there,” she said. “But I don’t want to take a lot of time.”

It was the new Social Security Administration building.

“Another federal building,” Bosch sighed. “Agent Maxwell might think that’s his, too.”

“Can you drop that, please?”

He shrugged.

“I’m just surprised Maxwell even admitted we came back to the house.”

“Why wouldn’t he?”

“Because I figured he was posted on the house because he was already in the doghouse for being a fuckup. Why admit that we got the drop on him and have to stay in there longer?”

Walling shook her head.

“You don’t understand,” she said. “First of all, Maxwell has been wound a little tight lately but no one in Tactical Intelligence is in the doghouse. The work is too important to have any fuckups on the team. Secondly, he didn’t care what anyone would think. What he did think was that it was important for everyone to know about the way
you’re
fucking things up.”

He tried another direction.

“Let me ask you something. Do they know about you and me over there? Our history, I mean.”

“It would be hard for them not to know after Echo Park. But, Harry, never mind all of that. That is not important today. What is wrong with you? We’ve got enough cesium out there to shut down an airport and you don’t seem all that concerned. You are looking at this like it’s a murder. Yes, a man is dead but that isn’t what this is about. It’s a heist, Harry. Get it? They wanted the cesium and now they’ve got it. And it would help us if maybe we could talk to the only known witness. So where is he?”

“He’s safe. Where’s Alicia Kent? And where’s her husband’s partner?”

“They’re safe. The partner is being questioned here and we’re keeping the wife at Tactical until we are sure we have everything there is to get from her.”

“She’s not going to be very helpful. She couldn’t—”

“That’s where you are wrong. She’s already been quite helpful.”

Bosch couldn’t hold back the look of surprise in his eyes.

“How? She said she didn’t even see their faces.”

“She didn’t. But she heard a name. When they were speaking to each other, she heard a name.”

“What name? She didn’t say this before.”

Walling nodded.

“And that is why you should turn over your witness. We have people who have one expertise: getting information from witnesses. We can get things that you are unable to get. We got them from her, we can get them from him.”

Bosch felt his face turning red.

“What was the name this master interrogator got from her?”

She shook her head.

“We’re not trading, Harry. This is a case involving national security. You’re on the outside. And by the way, that’s not going to change no matter who you get your police chief to call.”

Bosch knew then that his meeting at the Donut Hole had been for nothing. Even the chief was on the outside looking in. Whatever name Alicia Kent gave up, it must have lit up the federal scoreboard like Times Square.

“All I’ve got is my witness,” he said. “I’ll trade you straight up for the name.”

“Why do you want the name? You’re not going to get anywhere near this guy.”

“Because I want to know.”

She folded her arms across her chest and thought about things for a moment. Finally, she looked at him.

“You first,” she said.

Bosch hesitated while he studied her eyes. Six months earlier he would have trusted her with his life. Now things had changed. Bosch wasn’t so sure.

“I stashed him at my place,” he said. “I think you remember where that is.”

She pulled a phone from her blazer pocket and opened it to make a call.

“Wait a second there, Agent Walling,” he said. “What was the name Alicia Kent gave you?”

“Sorry, Harry.”

“We had a deal.”

“National security, sorry.”

She started punching in a number on her cell. Bosch nodded. He had called it right.

“I lied,” he said. “He’s not at my place.”

She slapped the phone closed.

“What is with you?” she asked angrily, her voice getting shrill. “We’re running more than fourteen hours behind the cesium. Do you realize it may already be in a device? It may already be—”

Bosch stepped in close to her.

“Give me the name and I’ll give you the witness.”

“All
right
!”

She pushed him away. He knew she was angry with herself for being caught in the lie. It was the second time in less than twelve hours.

“She said she heard the name Moby, okay? She didn’t think anything about it at the time because she didn’t realize it was actually a name she had heard.”

“Okay, who is Moby?”

“There is a Syrian terrorist named Momar Azim Nassar. He is believed to be in this country. He is known by friends and associates as Moby. We don’t know why, but he does happen to resemble the performer named Moby.”

“Who?”

“Never mind. Not your generation.”

“But you are sure she heard this name?”

“Yes. She gave us the name. And I have now given it to you. Now, where is the witness?”

“Just hold on. You already lied to me once.”

Bosch pulled out his phone and was about to call his partner when he remembered that Ferras would still be at the Silver Lake crime scene and be unable to provide what he needed. He opened the directory on the phone, found the number for Kiz Rider and pushed the call button.

Rider answered immediately. Bosch’s number had showed up on caller ID.

“Hello, Harry. You’ve been busy today.”

“The chief tell you that?”

“I’ve got a few sources. What’s up?”

Bosch spoke while staring at Walling and watching the anger darken her eyes.

“I need a favor from my old partner. You still carry that laptop with you to work?”

“Of course. What favor?”

“Can you get the
New York Times
archives on that computer?”

“I can.”

“All right. I have a name. I want you to check to see if it’s been in any stories.”

“Hold on. I have to go online.”

Several seconds went by. Bosch’s phone started to beep because he was getting another call. But he stayed with Rider and soon she was ready.

“What’s the name?”

Bosch put his hand over the phone and asked Walling the full name of the Syrian terrorist again. He then repeated it to Rider and waited.

“Yeah, multiple hits,” she said. “Going back eight years.”

“Give me a rundown.”

Bosch waited.

“Uh, just a bunch of stuff from the Middle East. He’s suspected of involvement in a number of abductions and bombings and so on. He’s connected to al Qaeda, according to federal sources.”

“What’s the most recent story say?”

“Uh, let’s see. It’s about a bus bombing in Beirut. Sixteen people killed. This is January third, two thousand four. Nothing after that.”

“Does it give any nicknames or aliases?”

“Um . . . no. I don’t see anything.”

“Okay, thanks. I’ll call you later.”

“Wait a minute. Harry?”

“What? I have to go.”

“Listen, I just want to tell you, be careful out there, okay? This is a whole different league you’re playing in with this.”

“Okay, I got it,” Bosch said. “I gotta go.”

Bosch ended the call and looked at Rachel.

“There’s nothing in the
New York Times
about this guy being in this country.”

“Because it’s not known. That is why Alicia Kent’s information was so genuine.”

“What do you mean? You take her word for it that the guy’s in this country just because she heard a word that might not even be a name?”

She folded her arms. She was losing her patience.

“No, Harry, we
know
he’s in this country. We have video of him checking out the Port of Los Angeles last August. We just didn’t get there in time to grab him. We believe he was with another al Qaeda operative, named Muhammad El-Fayed. They’ve somehow slipped into this country—hell, the border’s a sieve—-and who knows what they’ve got planned.”

“And you think they have the cesium?”

“We don’t know that. But the intelligence on El-Fayed is that he smokes unfiltered Turkish cigarettes and—”

“The ashes on the toilet.”

She nodded.

“That’s right. They’re still being analyzed but the betting in the office is running eight to one that it was a Turkish cigarette.”

Bosch nodded and suddenly felt foolish about the moves he had been making, the information he had held back.

“We put the witness in the Mark Twain Hotel on Wilcox,” he said. “Room three-oh-three under the name Stephen King.”

“Cute.”

“And, Rachel?”

“What?”

“He told us he heard the shooter call out to Allah before he pulled the trigger.”

She looked at him with the eyes of judgment as she opened her phone again. She pushed a single button and spoke to Bosch while waiting for the connection.

“You better hope we get to these people before—”

She cut off when her call was picked up. She delivered the information without identifying herself or giving any sort of greeting.

“He’s at the Mark Twain on Wilcox. Room three-oh-three. Go pick him up.”

She closed her phone and looked at Bosch. Worse than judgment, he saw disappointment and dismissal in her eyes now.

“I have to go,” she said. “I’d stay away from airports, subways and the malls until we find that cesium.”

She turned and left him there. Bosch was watching her walk away when his phone started to buzz again and he answered without taking his eyes off her. It was Joe Felton, the deputy coroner.

“Harry, I’ve been trying to reach you.”

“What’s up, Joe?”

“We just swung by Queen of Angels to make a pickup—some gangbanger they pulled the plug on after a shooting yesterday in Hollywood.”

Bosch remembered the case Jerry Edgar had mentioned.

“Yeah?”

Bosch knew that the medical examiner wouldn’t have called to waste his time. There was a reason.

“So, we’re here now and I go into the break room to grab some caffeine and I overhear a couple of paramedics talking about a pickup that they just made. They said they just brought in a guy and the ER evaluation was ARS and it just made me wonder if it could be connected with the guy up on the overlook. You know, since he was wearing the radiation alert rings.”

Bosch calmed his voice.

“Joe, what is ARS?”

“Acute radiation syndrome. The medics said they didn’t know what the guy had. He was burned and he was puking all over the place. They transported him and the ER doc said it was a pretty bad exposure, Harry. Now the medics are waiting to see if they’re exposed.”

Bosch started walking toward Rachel Walling.

“Where’d they find this guy?”

“I didn’t ask but I assume it was somewhere in Hollywood if they brought him in here.”

Bosch started picking up speed.

“Joe, I want you to hang up and get somebody from hospital security to watch this guy. I’m on my way.”

Bosch clapped the phone closed and began running toward Rachel as fast as he could.

 

SIXTEEN

 

THE TRAFFIC ON THE HOLLYWOOD FREEWAY was all flowing into downtown at a slow crawl. Under the laws of traffic physics—that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction—Harry Bosch had clear sailing on the northbound lanes out. Of course, this was aided by the siren and flashing lights on his car, making what little traffic there was in front of him move quickly to the side and out of the way.
Applied force
was another law Bosch knew well. He had the old Crown Vic up to ninety and his hands were white-knuckled on the wheel.

“Where are we going?”
Rachel Walling yelled over the sound of the siren.

“I told you. I’m taking you to the cesium.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means paramedics just brought a man with acute radiation syndrome into the emergency room at Queen of Angels. We’ll be there in four minutes.”

“Damn it! Why didn’t you tell me?”

The answer was that he wanted a head start but he didn’t tell her this. He remained silent while she opened her cell phone and punched in a number. She then reached up to the car’s roof and flicked off the siren toggle.

“What are you doing?” Bosch exclaimed. “I need that to—”

“I need to be able to talk!”

Bosch took his foot off the accelerator and dropped it down to seventy to be safe. A moment later her call was connected and Bosch listened to her bark commands. He hoped it was at Brenner and not Maxwell.

“Divert the team from the Mark Twain to Queen of Angels. Scramble a contamination team and get them there, too. Send backup units and a DOE assessment team. We have an exposure case that may lead us to the missing materials. Do it and call me back. I’ll be on-site in three minutes.”

She closed the phone and Bosch hit the siren toggle.

“I said four minutes!”
he yelled.

“Impress me!”
she yelled back.

He pinned the accelerator again even though he didn’t need to. He was confident they would be first to the hospital. They were already past Silver Lake on the freeway and closing in on Hollywood. But the truth was that any time he could legitimately hit ninety on the Hollywood Freeway he took advantage. There were not many in the city who could say they had done that during daylight hours.

“Who is the victim?”
Rachel shouted.

“No idea.”

They were silent for a long period. Bosch concentrated on the driving. And his thoughts. There were so many things that bothered him about the case. Soon he had to share them.

“How do you think they targeted him?”
he said.

BOOK: The Overlook
8.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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