Read Suicide Run: Three Harry Bosch Stories Online

Authors: Michael Connelly

Tags: #Crime &, #mystery

Suicide Run: Three Harry Bosch Stories (6 page)

BOOK: Suicide Run: Three Harry Bosch Stories
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“He told you that?”

“Yes, standing right where you are standing.”

“Are you going to tell me or not?”

He smiled and stepped back from the bars. He walked over to the chessboard and looked down at it as if he were considering a move.

“You know, they used to let me keep a cat in here. I miss that cat.”

He picked up one of the game pieces but then hesitated and returned it to the same spot. He turned and looked at me.

“You know what I think? I think that you two can’t stand the thought of that girl not having a name, not coming from a home with a mommy and a daddy and a little baby brother. The idea of no one caring and no one missing her, it leaves you hollow, doesn’t it?”

“I just want to close the case.”

“Oh, but it is closed. You’re not here because of any case. You are here on your own. Admit it, Detective. Just as McCaleb came on his own. The idea of that pretty little girl—and by the way, if you thought she was beautiful in death, then you should have seen her before—the idea of her lying unclaimed in an unmarked grave all this time undercuts everything you do, doesn’t it?”

“It’s a loose end. I don’t like loose ends.”

“It’s more than that, Detective. I know.”

I said nothing. I wanted to leave. The idea I had of getting him to tell me seemed absurd now.

“If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?”

He smiled broadly.

“If a girl is murdered in the city and nobody cares, does it matter?”

“I care.”

“Exactly.”

He came back to the bars.

“And you need me to relieve you of that burden by giving you a name, a mommy and daddy who care.”

He was a foot away from me. I could reach through the bars and grab his throat if I wanted to. But that would’ve been what he wanted me to do.

“Well, I won’t release you, Detective. You put me in this cage. I put you in that one.”

He stepped back and pointed at me. I looked down and realized both my hands were tightly gripping the steel bars of the cage. My cage.

I looked back up at him and his smile was back, as guiltless as a baby’s.

“Funny, isn’t it? I remember that day—ten years ago today. Sitting in the back of the car while you cops played hero. So full of yourselves for saving the girl. Bet you never thought it would come to this, did you? You saved one but you lost the other.”

I lowered my head to the bars.

“Seguin, you’re going to burn. You are going to hell.”

“Yes, I suppose so. But I hear it’s a dry heat.”

He laughed loudly and I looked at him.

“Don’t you know, Detective? You have to believe in heaven to believe in hell.”

I abruptly turned from the bars and headed back toward the steel door. Above it I saw the mounted camera. I made an open-the-door gesture with my hand and picked up my speed as I got closer. I needed to get out of there.

I heard Seguin’s voice echoing off the walls behind me.

“I’ll keep her close, Bosch! I’ll keep her right here with me! Eternally together! Eternally mine!”

When I got to the steel door, I hit it with both fists until I heard the electronic lock snap and the guard began to slide it open.

“All right, man, all right. What’s the hurry?”

“Just get me out of here,” I said as I pushed past him.

I could still hear Seguin’s voice echoing from the death house as I crossed back across the open field.

One-Dollar Jackpot

The call came in after the usual killing hours. Bosch checked the clock as he rolled to the side of the bed and sat up. It was 5:45
A.M.
and that was late for a murder call.

It was Lieutenant Larry Gandle with the news.

“Harry, you and Ignacio are up. Pacific is turning over a case to us. Female, thirty-eight years of age, name of Tracey Blitzstein. She got shot to death this morning in her car. One in the head. She was parked in her own driveway.”

The name sounded slightly familiar but Bosch couldn’t immediately place it.

“Who is she and why are we getting it?”

“She’s sort of a TV star. She plays poker. Uses the name Tracey Blitz. Her husband plays, too, I’m told. So if you watch that sort of thing on cable, then you’ve probably seen her a few times. She gets profiled. They use her on the commercials. She was good-looking and apparently the best thing the female species had to offer in the arena of professional poker.”

Bosch nodded. He only watched poker on TV when he had insomnia and the World Series of Poker reruns were on ESPN. He knew it was very popular. But all that wasn’t why he knew the name Tracey Blitz. Years earlier the name came up from time to time with his ex-wife, who also played poker for a living. Eleanor Wish, his ex, had always called the world of professional poker a men’s club and maintained that no woman would ever win the World Series. She said a woman named Tracey Blitz had the skills and reads to win poker’s greatest tournament but the men would simply never allow it. They would subconsciously pool their testosterone, if needed, and gang up and eliminate her if she ever got to the final table. It was about dominance of the species, Eleanor Wish said.

Now Tracey Blitz would never get the chance to win the big one. She had been eliminated from competition in a different and more permanent manner.

Bosch asked Gandle for the location of the crime scene and was given an address in Venice on the canals.

“What else, Lieutenant?” Bosch asked. “We got any witnesses?”

“Not yet—we’re not even an hour into this. I’m told the husband was home asleep. He woke up and came out and found her in the car. He saw no suspect or getaway vehicle.”

“Where is the husband?”

“I told them to take him downtown to Parker Center.”

“Who is he? You said he’s a player, too?”

“Yeah, just not at the same level as his wife. His name is David Blitzstein.”

Bosch thought about things, his mind becoming sharper as he left sleep behind and concentrated on what he was being told.

“Is it just going to be me and Ignacio?” he asked, referring to his partner.

“You guys are lead. I’ll bring in Reggie Sauer and he can coordinate from Parker Center and baby-sit the husband till you get in there. You also have the Pacific team for as long as you need them.”

Bosch nodded. That wouldn’t be much help. Usually when divisional detectives were replaced by Homicide Special, there was resentment. It was hard to get them to hang in and help.

“You got any names from Pacific?”

“Just one.”

Gandle gave him the name and cell number of the lead Pacific Division detective who had gotten the first callout at 5:01 that morning. Bosch was impressed that decisions were made quickly and he was now on the case less than an hour into it. That was a good sign. He told the lieutenant he would be in touch as the case progressed and then hung up. He immediately called Ignacio Ferras, woke him from a sound sleep and got him moving. Ferras lived more than an hour from Venice and Bosch told him to waste no time.

He then called the Pacific detective whose name Gandle had given him. Kimber Gunn picked up the call quickly and Bosch identified himself and explained he had just been tapped to take over her case. He apologized but said he was just following orders. The transfer of the case wasn’t news to Gunn but Bosch always liked to tread lightly in such situations. He had never worked with Gunn before and she surprised him. She offered her help and said she was awaiting his direction.

“I could use the help,” Bosch responded. “I’m probably a half hour from the crime scene and my partner lives out in Diamond Bar. He’ll be even longer.”

“Diamond Bar? You might want to redirect him. He’s closer to Commerce than to Venice.”

“Commerce? Why Commerce?”

“According to the vic’s husband, she spent the night playing poker at the card casino in Commerce. He said she called when she was leaving and told him she had won big.”

“Did he say how much?”

“He said she won more than six thousand dollars cash. My partner and I, well…”

“Well, what?”

“We don’t want to jump your case but we were thinking that it looks a lot like a follow home from the casino.”

Bosch thought about that for a few seconds before responding.

“Tell you what, let me call my partner and send him that way, then I’ll get right back to you.”

He closed the phone and called Ferras, who had not left his home yet. Bosch told him what he had just learned and instructed him to drive to the casino in Commerce and begin his part of the investigation there. He then called Gunn back.

“What else did the victim’s husband say, Detective Gunn?”

“He said he fell back asleep after she called. He then woke up when she pulled into the driveway—she’s got a tricked-out Mustang with glass pipes. It makes some noise. He was lying in bed and he heard her kill the engine but then she never came inside the house. He waited a few minutes and then went out to check. He found her in the car, dead. He didn’t see anybody and didn’t see any vehicles. That was it. You can call me Kim, by the way.”

“Okay, Kim. Anybody put the husband through the box?”

“My partner. No record.”

“What about ATF?”

“We checked that, too. He owns no firearms. Neither did she.”

Bosch was holding the phone in the crook of his neck while buttoning his shirt.

“Anybody swab him?”

“You mean GSR? We figured that was a call you should make. The husband’s cooperating. We didn’t want to mess with that.”

She was right in waiting for Bosch to make the call. Conducting a gunshot residue test to determine if a person had fired a weapon had become trickier and stickier in recent years. It was in a legal gray area and choices made now by detectives would be questioned and reviewed repeatedly down the line by supervisors, reporters, prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges and juries.

The issue at hand was that such testing put the subject on clear notice that he was a suspect. Therefore, he should be treated as a suspect—advised of his constitutional rights and given the opportunity to seek legal counsel. This put a chilling effect on cooperation.

Additionally, a recent directive from the District Attorney’s Office concluded that GSR testing was an invasive evidence-gathering technique that should only come voluntarily or after a search warrant had been approved by a judge, another move that would clearly put an individual on notice that he was a suspect. So gone were the days when a detective could casually tell an individual of interest to submit to GSR testing as a routine part of an investigation. A GSR test was now an indisputable means of tagging someone as it.

As Gunn had explained, David Blitzstein was cooperative at the moment. It was too early in the investigation to tag him as it.

“Okay, we’ll hold that till later,” Bosch said. “Where’s your partner?”

“He’s driving Blitzstein downtown. He’ll come back after.”

“What’s his name?”

“Glenn Simmons.”

Bosch didn’t know him. So far he didn’t know anybody on the case and that was a rub. So much of the work came down to personalities and relationships. It always helped to already know people.

“Forensics at the scene yet?” he asked.

“They just rolled in. I’ll keep an eye on things till you’re here.”

Bosch checked his watch. It was now 6
A.M.
and he knew his promise of being there in a half hour was a stretch. He’d have to stop on the way to get coffee.

“Better yet,” he said, “why don’t you knock on doors before we start losing people to work and school and the day. See if anybody saw or heard anything.”

He almost heard her nod over the phone.

“I’ve got a number of the neighbors already standing in the street here watching,” Gunn said. “Shouldn’t be too hard to scare up some wits.”

“Good,” Bosch said. “I’ll see you soon.”

The crime scene was already a hive of activity by the time Bosch got there. He parked half a block down the street and as he approached on foot he got his bearings. He realized that the houses on the left side of the street backed up against one of the Venice canals, while those on the right, smaller and older, did not. This resulted in the houses on the left being quite a bit more valuable than those on the right. It created an economic division on the same street. The residents on the left had money, their houses newer, bigger and in better condition than those right across the street. The house where Tracey Blitzstein had lived was one of the canal houses. As he approached the glowing lights set up by forensics around a black hardtop Mustang, a woman stepped away from the gathering and approached him. She wore navy slacks and a black turtleneck sweater. She had a badge clipped to her belt and introduced herself as Kim Gunn. Bosch handed her the extra coffee he had brought and she was almost gleeful about receiving it. She seemed very young to be a homicide detective, even in a divisional squad. This told Bosch that she was good at it or politically connected—or both.

“You’ve got to be a cop’s kid,” Bosch said.

“Why’s that?”

“I was told your full name is Kimber Gunn. Only a cop would name a kid that.”

She smiled and nodded. Kimber was the name of a company that manufactured firearms, in particular the tactical pistols used by specialty squads in law enforcement.

“You got me,” she said. “My father was in LAPD SWAT in the seventies. But I got it better than he did. His name is Tommy Gunn.”

Bosch nodded. He remembered the name from when he first came on the department and was in patrol.

“I heard of him back then. I didn’t know him, though.”

“Well, I’ve heard of you. So I guess that makes us even.”

“You’ve heard of me?”

“From my friend Kiz Rider. We go to BPO meetings together.”

Bosch nodded. Rider was his former partner, now working out of the office of the chief of police. She was also recently elected president of the Black Peace Officers Association, a group that monitored the racial equality of hiring and firing as well as promotions and demotions in the department.

BOOK: Suicide Run: Three Harry Bosch Stories
6.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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