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Authors: Michael Connelly

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

The Overlook (21 page)

BOOK: The Overlook
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Suddenly it all came to him. Like fusion. Two elements coming together and creating something new. The thing that bothered him about the crime scene photos, the yoga poster, everything. The gamma rays had shot right through him but they had left him enlightened. He knew. He understood.

“He’s a scavenger.”

“Who is?”

“Digoberto Gonzalves,” Bosch said, his eyes looking down the alley. “It’s collection day. The Dumpsters are all pushed out for the city trucks. Gonzalves is a scavenger, a Dumpster diver, and he knew they would be out and this would be a good time to come here.”

He looked at Walling before completing the thought.

“And so did somebody else,” he said.

“You mean he found the cesium in a Dumpster?”

Bosch nodded and pointed down the alley.

“All the way at the end, that’s Barham. Barham takes you up to Lake Hollywood. Lake Hollywood takes you to the overlook. This case never leaves the map page.”

Walling came over and stood in front of him, blocking his view. Bosch could now hear sirens in the distance.

“What are you saying? That Nassar and El-Fayed took the cesium and stashed it in a Dumpster at the bottom of the hill? Then this scavenger comes along and finds it?”

“I’m saying you’ve got the cesium back so now we’re looking at this as a homicide again. You come down from the overlook and you can be in this alley in five minutes.”

“So what? They stole the cesium and killed Kent just so they could come down here and stash it? Is that what you’re saying? Or are you saying they just threw it all away? Why would they do that? I mean, does that make any sense at all? I mean, I don’t see that scaring people in the way we know they want to scare us.”

Bosch noted that she had asked six questions at once this time, possibly a new record.

“Nassar and El-Fayed were never near the cesium,” he said. “That’s what I’m saying.”

He walked over to the truck and picked the rolled poster up off the ground. He handed it to Rachel. The sirens were getting louder.

She unrolled the poster in her hands and looked at it.

“What is this? What does it mean?”

Bosch took it back from her and started rolling it up.

“Gonzalves found that in the same Dumpster where he found the gun and the camera and the lead pig.”

“So? What does it
mean
, Harry?”

Two fed cars pulled into the alley a block away and started making their way toward them, weaving around the Dumpsters pushed out for pickup. As they got close Bosch could see that the driver of the lead car was Jack Brenner.

“Do you hear me, Harry? What does it—”

Bosch’s knees suddenly seemed to give out and he fell into her, throwing his arms around her to stop himself from hitting the ground.

“Bosch!”

She grabbed on and held him.

“Uh . . . I’m not feeling so good,” he mumbled. “I think I better . . . can you take me to my car?”

She helped him straighten up and then started walking him toward his car. He put his arm over her shoulders. Car doors were slamming behind them as the agents got out.

“Where are the keys?” Walling asked.

He held the key ring out to her just as Brenner ran up to them.

“What is it? What’s wrong?”

“He was exposed. The cesium is in the center console in the truck cab. Be careful. I’m going to take him to the hospital.”

Brenner stepped back, as if whatever Bosch had were contagious.

“Okay,” he said. “Call me when you can.”

Bosch and Walling kept moving toward the car.

“Come on, Bosch,” Walling said. “Stay with me. Hang in there and we’ll get you taken care of.”

She had called him by his last name again.

 

EIGHTEEN

 

THE CAR JERKED FORWARD as Walling pulled out of the alley and into southbound traffic on Cahuenga.

“I’m taking you back to Queen of Angels so Dr. Garner can take a look at you,” she said. “Just hang in there for me, Bosch.”

He knew it was likely that the last-name endearments were about to come to an end. He pointed toward the left-turn lane that led onto Barham Boulevard.

“Never mind the hospital,” he said. “Take me back to the Kent house.”

“What?”

“I’ll get checked out later. Go to the Kent house. Here’s the turn. Go!”

She slipped into the left-turn lane.

“What’s going on?”

“I’m fine. I’m okay.”

“What are you telling me, that that little fainting spell back there was—”

“I had to get you away from the crime scene and away from Brenner so I could check this out and talk to you. Alone.”

“Check what out? Talk about what? Do you realize what you just did? I thought I was saving your life. Now Brenner or one of those other guys will take the credit for the recovery of the cesium. Thanks a lot, asshole. That was my crime scene.”

He opened his jacket and pulled out the rolled-up and folded yoga poster.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “You can get the credit for the arrests. You just might not want it.”

He opened the poster, letting the top half flop over his knees. He was only interested in the bottom half.

“Dhanurasana,” he said.

Walling glanced over at him and then down at the poster.

“Would you start telling me what’s going on?”

“Alicia Kent practices yoga. I saw the mats in the workout room at the house.”

“I saw them, too. So what?”

“Did you see the sun discoloration on the wall where a picture or a calendar or maybe a poster had been taken down?”

“Yes, I saw it.”

Bosch held up the poster.

“I’m betting that we go in there and this will be a perfect fit. This is a poster Gonzalves found with the cesium.”

“And what will that mean?—if it’s a perfect fit.”

“It will mean that it was almost a perfect crime. Alicia Kent conspired to kill her husband and, if it hadn’t been for Digoberto Gonzalves just happening to find the tossed-out evidence, she would have gotten away with it.”

Walling shook her head dismissively.

“Come on, Harry. Are you saying she conspired with international terrorists to kill her husband in exchange for the cesium? I can’t believe I am even doing this. I need to get back to the crime scene.”

She started checking her mirrors, getting ready to make a U-turn. They were going up Lake Hollywood Drive now and would be at the house in two minutes.

“No, keep going. We’re almost there. Alicia Kent conspired with someone but it wasn’t a terrorist. The cesium being dumped in the trash proves that. You said it yourself, there is no way that Moby and El-Fayed would steal this stuff to just dump it. So what does that tell you? This
wasn’t
a heist. It actually
was
a murder. The cesium was just a red herring. Just like Ramin Samir. And Moby and El-Fayed? They were part of the misdirection as well. This poster will help prove it.”

“How?”

“Dhanurasana, the rocking bow.”

He held the poster up and over so she could glance at the yoga pose depicted in the bottom corner. It showed a woman with her arms behind her back, holding her ankles and creating a bow with the front of her body. She looked like she was hog-tied.

Walling glanced back at the curving road and then took another long look at the poster and the pose.

“We go into the house and see if this fits that space on the wall,” Bosch said. “If it fits, that means she and the killer took it off the wall because they didn’t want to risk that we might see it and connect it with what happened to her.”

“It’s a stretch, Harry. A huge one.”

“Not when you put it in context.”

“Which you, of course, can do.”

“As soon as we get to the house.”

“Hope you still have a key.”

“You bet I do.”

Walling turned onto Arrowhead Drive and punched the accelerator. But after a block she took her foot off, slowed down and shook her head again.

“This is ridiculous. She gave us the name Moby. There is no way she could have known he was in this country. And then up on the overlook, your own witness said that the shooter called out to Allah as he pulled the trigger. How can—”

“Let’s just try the poster on the wall. If it fits, I’ll lay the whole thing out for you. I promise. If it doesn’t fit, then I will quit—bothering you with it.”

She relented and drove the remaining block to the Kent house without another word. There was no longer a bureau car sitting out front. Bosch guessed that it was all hands on deck at the cesium recovery scene.

“Thank God I don’t have to deal with Maxwell again,” he said.

Walling didn’t even smile.

Bosch got out with the poster and his file containing the crime scene photos. He used Stanley Kent’s keys to open the front door and they proceeded to the workout room. They took positions on either side of the rectangular sun-discoloration mark and Bosch unrolled the poster. They each took a side and held the top corner of the poster to the top corner of the mark. Bosch put his other hand on the center of the poster and flattened it against the wall. The poster was a perfect fit over the mark on the wall. What was more was that the tape marks on the wall matched up with tape marks and old tape on the poster. To Bosch there was no doubt. The poster found by Digoberto Gonzalves in a Dumpster off Cahuenga had definitely come from Alicia Kent’s home yoga studio.

Rachel let go of her side of the poster and headed out of the room.

“I’ll be in the living room. I can’t wait to hear you put this together.”

Bosch rolled the poster up and followed. Walling took a seat in the same chair Bosch had put Maxwell in a few hours earlier. He remained standing in front of her.

“The fear was that the poster could be a tip-off,” he said. “Some smart agent or detective would see the rocking-bow pose and start thinking, This woman does yoga, maybe she could handle being hog-tied like that, maybe it was her idea, maybe she did it to help sell the misdirection. So they couldn’t take the chance. The poster had to go. It went into the Dumpster with the cesium, the gun and everything else they used. Except for the ski masks and the phony map they planted with the car at Ramin Samir’s house.”

“She’s a master criminal,” Walling said sarcastically.

Bosch was undeterred. He knew he’d convince her.

“If you get your people out there to check that line of Dumpsters, you’ll find the rest—the Coke-bottle silencer, the gloves, the first set of snap ties, every—”

“The first set of snap ties?”

“That’s right. I’ll get to that.”

Walling remained unimpressed.

“You better get to a lot of it. Because there are big gaps in this thing, man. What about the name Moby? What about the citing of Allah by the shooter? What—”

Bosch held up a hand.

“Just hold on,” he said. “I need some water. My throat is raw from all of this talking.”

He went into the kitchen, remembering that he saw bottles of chilled water in the refrigerator while searching the kitchen earlier in the day.

“You want anything?” he called out.

“No,” she called back. “It’s not our house, remember?”

He opened the refrigerator, took out a bottle of water and drank half of it while standing in front of the open door. The cool air felt good, too. He closed the door but then immediately reopened it. He had seen something. On the top shelf was a plastic bottle of grape juice. He took it out and looked at it, remembering that when he went through the trash bag in the garage he had found paper towels with grape juice on them.

Another piece of the puzzle fell into place. He put the bottle back in the refrigerator and then returned to the living room, where Rachel was waiting for the story. Once again, he remained standing.

“Okay, when was it that you captured the terrorist known as Moby on video at the port?”

“What does—”

“Please, just answer the question.”

“August twelfth last year.”

“Okay, August twelfth. Then what, some sort of alert went out through the bureau and all of Homeland Security?”

She nodded.

“Not for a while, though,” she said. “It took almost two months of video analysis to confirm it was Nassar and El-Fayed. I wrote the bulletin. It went out October ninth as a confirmed domestic sighting.”

“Out of curiosity, why didn’t you go public with it?”

“Because we have—actually, I can’t tell you.”

“You just did. You must have someone or someplace where you think these two might show up under surveillance. If you go public, they might just go underground and never show up again.”

“Can we go back to your story, please?”

“Fine. So the bulletin went out October ninth. That was the day the plan to kill Stanley Kent began.”

Walling folded her arms across her chest and just stared at him. Bosch thought that maybe she was beginning to see where he was going with the story and she didn’t like it.

“It works best if you start from the end and go backwards,” Bosch said. “Alicia Kent gave you the name Moby. How could she have gotten that name?”

“She overheard one of them calling the other one by that name.”

Bosch shook his head.

“No, she told you she overheard it. But if she was lying, how would she know the name to lie about it? Just coincidence that she gives the nickname of a guy who less than six months ago was confirmed as being in the country—in L.A. County, no less? I don’t think so, Rachel, and neither do you. The odds of that probably can’t be calculated.”

“Okay, so you’re saying that somebody in the bureau or another agency that received the FBI bulletin I wrote gave her the name.”

Bosch nodded and pointed at her.

“Right. He gave her the name so she could come out with it while being questioned by the FBI’s master interrogator. That name along with the plan to dump the car in front of Ramin Samir’s house would act in concert to send this whole thing down the wrong road with the FBI and everybody else chasing after terrorists who had nothing to do with it.”

“He?”

“I’m getting to that now. You are right, anybody who got a look at that bulletin would have been able to give her that name. My guess is that would be a lot of people. A lot of people just in L.A. alone. So how would we narrow it down to one?”

BOOK: The Overlook
7.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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