Read The Overlook Online

Authors: Michael Connelly

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

The Overlook (23 page)

BOOK: The Overlook
11.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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“Listen, I need you to go up to that room and tell Stephen King to get out of there and then to call me on my cell.”

“I got nobody to watch the desk, Detective.”

“It’s an emergency, Alvin. I need to get him out of there. It will take you less than five minutes. Here, write this down. My number is three-two-three, two-four-four, five-six-three-one. You got it?”

“I got it.”

“Okay, go. And if anybody but me comes in there looking for him, say he checked out, took a refund and left. Go, Alvin, and thanks.”

Bosch closed the phone and looked over at Rachel. His face showed his lack of confidence in the deskman.

“I think the guy’s a tweaker.”

Bosch increased his speed and tried to concentrate on driving. They had just turned south on Cahuenga off Barham. He was thinking that, depending on traffic in Hollywood, they could get to the Mark Twain in another five minutes. This conclusion made him shake his head. With a half-hour lead Maxwell should already be at the Mark Twain. He wondered if he had slipped in the back way and already gotten to Mitford.

“Maxwell may have already gone in through the back,” he told Walling. “I’m going to come in from the alley.”

“You know,” Walling said, “maybe he’s not going to hurt him. He’ll pick him up and talk to him, judge for himself if he saw enough at the overlook that he’d be a threat.”

Bosch shook his head.

“No way. Maxwell’s got to know that once the cesium was found, his plan was going down the toilet. He’s got to take action against all threats. First the witness, then Alicia Kent.”

“Alicia Kent? You think he’d make a move against her? This whole thing is because of her.”

“Doesn’t matter now. Survival instincts take over now and she’s a threat. It goes with the territory. You cross the big line to be with her. You cross it again to save your—”

Bosch stopped talking as a sudden realization thudded in his chest. He cursed out loud and pinned the accelerator as they came out of the Cahuenga Pass. He cut across three lanes of Highland Avenue in front of the Hollywood Bowl and made a screeching U-turn in front of oncoming traffic. He punched it, and the car fishtailed wildly as he headed toward the southbound entrance to the Hollywood Freeway. Rachel grabbed the dashboard and a door handle to hold on.

“Harry, what are you doing? This is the wrong way!”

He flicked on the siren and the blue lights that flashed in the front grille and back window of the car. He yelled his response to Walling.

“Mitford is a misdirection. This is the right way. Who is the greater threat to Maxwell?”

“Alicia?”

“You bet and now’s the best shot he has of getting her out of Tactical. Everybody’s up in that alley with the cesium.”

The freeway was moving pretty well and the siren helped open it up further. Bosch figured Maxwell could have already gotten to downtown, depending on what kind of traffic he encountered.

Rachel opened her phone and started punching in numbers. She tried number after number but no one was answering.

“I can’t get anybody,”
she yelled.

“Where’s TIU?”

Walling didn’t hesitate.

“On Broadway. You know where the Million Dollar Theater is? Same building. Entrance on Third.”

Bosch flicked off the siren and opened his phone. He called his partner and Ferras answered right away.

“Ignacio, where are you?”

“Just got back to the office. Forensics worked the car for—”

“Listen to me. Drop what you’re doing and meet me at the Third Street entrance to the Million Dollar Theater building. You know where that is?”

“What’s going on?”

“Do you know where the Million Dollar Theater is?”

“Yeah, I know where it is.”

“Meet me there at the Third Street entrance. I’ll explain when I get there.”

He closed the phone and hit the siren again.

 

TWENTY-ONE

 

THE NEXT TEN MINUTES took ten hours. Bosch moved in and out of traffic and finally reached the Broadway exit in downtown. He killed the siren as he made the turn and headed down the hill toward their destination. They were three blocks away.

The Million Dollar Theater was built in a time when the movie business showed itself off in magnificent theater palaces that lined Broadway downtown. But it had been decades since a first-run film had been projected on a screen there. Its ornate façade had been covered by a lighted marquee that for a time announced religious revivals instead of movies. Now the theater waited unused for renovation and redemption while above it a once-grand office building was twelve stories of midgrade office space and residential lofts.

“Good place for a secret unit to have a secret office,” Bosch said as the building came into sight. “Nobody would’ve guessed.”

Walling didn’t respond. She was trying to make another call. She then slapped the phone closed in frustration.

“I can’t even get our secretary. She always takes lunch after one so there will be somebody in the office when the agents go to lunch earlier.”

“Where exactly is the squad and where would Alicia Kent be in there?”

“We have the whole seventh floor. There’s a lounge room with a couch and a TV. They put her in there so she could watch TV.”

“How many in the squad?”

“Eight agents, the secretary and an office manager. The office manager just went out on maternity leave and the secretary must be at lunch. I hope. But they wouldn’t have left Alicia Kent alone. It’s against policy. Somebody had to have stayed there with her.”

Bosch turned right on Third and immediately pulled to the curb. Ignacio Ferras was already there, leaning casually against his Volvo station wagon. In front of it was another parked car. A federal cruiser. Bosch and Walling got out. Bosch approached Ferras, and Walling went to look inside the fed car.

“Have you seen Maxwell?” Bosch asked.

“Who?”

“Agent Maxwell. The guy we put on the floor at the Kent house this morning.”

“No, I haven’t seen anybody. What—”

“It’s his car,” Walling said as she joined them.

“Ignacio, this is Agent Walling.”

“Call me Iggy.”

“Rachel.”

They shook hands.

“Okay, then he’s gotta be up there,” Bosch said. “How many stairwells?”

“Three,” Walling said. “But he’ll use the one that comes out by his car.”

She pointed to a pair of double steel doors near the corner of the building. Bosch headed over that way to see if they were locked. Ferras and Walling followed.

“What is going on?” Ferras asked.

“Maxwell is our shooter,” Bosch said. “He is up—”

“What?”

Bosch checked the exit doors. There was no outside handle or knob. He turned to Ferras.

“Look, there’s not a lot of time. Trust me, Maxwell is our guy and he’s in this building to take out Alicia Kent. We’re—”

“What is she doing here?”

“The FBI has a location here. She’s here. No more questions, okay? Just listen. Agent Walling and I are going up in the elevator. I want you out here by this door. If Maxwell comes out, you take him down. You understand? You take him down.”

“Got it.”

“Good. Call for backup. We’re going up.”

Bosch reached over and tapped Ferras on the cheek.

“And stay frosty.”

They left Ferras there and headed through the building’s main entrance. There was no lobby to speak of, just an elevator. It opened at the push of the button and Walling used a key card to engage the seven button. They started going up.

“Something tells me you’re never going to call him Iggy,” Walling said.

Bosch ignored the comment but thought of something to ask.

“Does this thing have a bell or a tone that sounds when it reaches the floor?”

“I can’t remem—I think it does . . . yes, definitely.”

“Great. We’ll be sitting ducks.”

Bosch pulled his Kimber out of its holster and chambered a round. Walling did the same with her weapon. Bosch pushed Walling to one side of the elevator while he took the other. He raised his gun. The elevator finally reached seven and there was a soft bell tone from outside. The door began to slide open, exposing Bosch first.

No one was there.

Rachel pointed to the left, signaling that the offices were to the left after they exited the elevator. Bosch lowered himself into a combat crouch and stepped out, his gun up and ready.

Again, no one was there.

He started moving to his left. Rachel came out and moved with him on his right flank. They came to a loft-style office with two rows of cubicles—the squad room—and three private rooms that had been built free-standing in the open floor plan. There were large racks of electronic equipment between the cubicles, and every desk had two computer screens on it. It looked like the whole place could be packed up and moved at a moment’s notice.

Bosch stepped farther in, and through the window in one of the private offices he saw a man sitting in a chair, his head back and eyes open. He looked like he was wearing a red bib. But Bosch knew it was blood. The man had been shot in the chest.

He pointed and Rachel saw the dead man. She reacted with a quick intake of breath and a low-volume sigh.

The door to the office was ajar. They moved toward it and Bosch pushed it open while Walling covered them from behind. Bosch stepped in and saw Alicia Kent sitting on the floor, her back to the wall.

He crouched beside her. Her eyes were open but dead. A gun was on the floor between her feet and the wall behind her was spattered with blood and brain matter.

Bosch turned and surveyed the room. He understood the play. It was set up so it would look like Alicia Kent had grabbed the agent’s gun from his holster, shot him and then sat down on the floor and took her own life. No note or explanation, but it was the best Maxwell could come up with in the short amount of time and opportunity that he had.

Bosch turned to Walling. She had let her guard down and was just standing there looking at the dead agent.

“Rachel,” he said. “He’s gotta still be here.”

He stood and moved toward the door so he could search the squad room. As he glanced through the window he saw movement behind the electronics racks. He stopped, raised his weapon and tracked someone moving behind one of the racks toward a door with an exit sign on it.

In a moment he saw Maxwell break free of the cover and dash toward the door.

“Maxwell!” Bosch yelled. “Stop!”

Maxwell spun and raised a weapon. At the same moment that his back hit the exit door he started firing. The window shattered and glass sprayed across Bosch. He returned fire and put six shots into the opening of the exit door but Maxwell was gone.

“Rachel?” he called without taking his eyes off the door. “Okay?”

“I’m fine.”

Her voice came from below him. He knew she had hit the floor when the shooting had started.

“Which exit is that door?”

Rachel stood up. Bosch moved toward the door, glancing at her, and saw glass all over her clothes and that she had been cut on the cheek.

“Those stairs go down to his car.”

Bosch ran from the room toward the exit door. He opened his phone as he went and pushed the speed dial for his partner. The call was answered on half a ring. Bosch was already in the stairwell.

“He’s coming down!”

Bosch dropped the phone and started down the stairs. He could hear Maxwell running on the steel steps below and instinctively knew that he was too far ahead.

 

TWENTY-TWO

 

BOSCH COVERED THREE MORE LANDINGS, taking three steps at a time. He could now hear Walling coming down behind him. He then heard the booming sound from below as Maxwell hit the exit door at the bottom. There were immediate shouts and then there were shots. They came so close together it was impossible to determine which had come first or how many shots had been fired.

Ten seconds later Bosch hit the exit door. He came out onto the sidewalk and saw Ferras leaning against the back bumper of Maxwell’s fed car. He was holding his weapon with one hand and his elbow with the other. A red rose of blood was blooming on his shoulder. Traffic had stopped in both directions on Third and pedestrians were running down the sidewalks to safety.

“I hit him twice,” Ferras yelled. “He went that way.”

He nodded in the direction of the Third Street tunnel under Bunker Hill. Bosch stepped closer to his partner and saw the wound in the ball of his shoulder. It didn’t look too bad.

“Did you call for backup?” Bosch asked.

“On the way.”

Ferras grimaced as he adjusted his hold on his injured arm.

“You did real good, Iggy. Hang in there while I go get this guy.”

Ferras nodded. Bosch turned and saw Rachel come through the door, a smear of blood on her face.

“This way,” he said. “He’s hit.”

They started down Third in a spread formation. After a few steps Bosch picked up the trail. Maxwell was obviously hurt badly and was losing a lot of blood. It would make him easy to track.

But when they got to the corner of Third and Hill they lost the trail. There was no blood on the pavement. Bosch looked into the long Third Street tunnel and saw no one moving in the traffic on foot. He looked up and down Hill Street and saw nothing until his attention was drawn to a commotion of people running out of the Grand Central Market.

“This way,” he said.

They moved quickly toward the huge market. Bosch picked up the blood trail again just outside and started in. The market was a two-story-high conglomeration of food booths and retail and produce concessions. There was a strong smell of grease and coffee in the air that had to infect every floor of the building above the market. The place was crowded and noisy and that made it difficult for Bosch to follow the blood and track Maxwell.

Then suddenly there were shouts from directly ahead and two quick shots were fired into the air. It caused an immediate human stampede. Dozens of screaming shoppers and workers flooded into the aisle where Bosch and Walling stood and started running toward them. Bosch realized they were going to be run over and trampled. In one motion he moved to his right, grabbed Walling around the waist and pulled her behind one of the wide concrete support pillars.

BOOK: The Overlook
11.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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