"I don't know if you remember me but we have spoken, Mr. Taylor. Four years ago when the body of Angella Benton was found in the vestibule of her apartment building, the case was assigned to me. You and I spoke in your office over at Eidolon. On the Archway lot. One of my partners, Kiz Rider, was with me."
"I remember. The black woman she had known Angie, she said. From the gym, I think it was. I remember that at the time you two instilled a lot of confidence in me. But then you disappeared. I never heard from "
"We were taken off the case. We were from Hollywood Division. After the robbery and shooting a few days later, the case was taken away. Robbery-Homicide Division took it."
A low chime sounded from the stationary cycle and I thought maybe it meant Taylor had covered his first mile.
"I remember those guys," Taylor said in a derisive voice. "Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber. They inspired nothing in me. I remember one was more interested in securing a position as technical advisor to my films than he was in the real case, Angie. Whatever happened to them?"
"One's dead and one's retired."
Dorsey and Cross. I had known them both. Taylor's description aside, both had been capable investigators. You didn't get to RHD by coasting. What I didn't tell Taylor was that Jack Dorsey and Lawton Cross became known in Detective Services as the partners who had the ultimate bad luck. While working an investigation they drew several months after the Angella Benton case, they stopped into a bar in Hollywood to grab lunch and a booster shot. They were sitting in a booth with their ham sandwiches and Bushmills when the place was hit by an armed robber. It was believed that Dorsey, who was sitting facing the door, made a move from the booth but was too slow. The gunman cut him down before he got the safety off his gun and he was dead before he hit the floor. A round fired at Cross creased his skull and a second hit him in the neck and lodged in his spine. The bartender was executed last at point-blank range.
"And then what happened to the case?" Taylor asked rhetorically, not an ounce of sympathy in his voice for the fallen cops. "Not a damn thing happened. I guarantee it's been gathering dust like that cheap suit you pulled out of the closet before coming to see me."
I took the insult because I had to. I just nodded as if I agreed with him. I couldn't tell if his anger was for the never avenged murder of Angella Benton or for what happened after, the robbery and the next murder and the shutting down of his film.
"It was worked by those guys full-time for six months," I said. "After that there were other cases. The cases keep coming, Mr. Taylor. It's not like in your movies. I wish it was."
"Yes, there are always other cases," Taylor said. "That's always the easy out, isn't it? Blame it on the workload. Meantime, the kid is still dead, the money's still gone and that's too bad. Next case. Step right up."
I waited to make sure he was finished. He wasn't.
"But now it's four years later and you show up. What's your story, Bosch? You con her family into hiring you? Is that it?"
"No. All of her family was in Ohio. I haven't contacted them."
"Then what is it?"
"It's unsolved, Mr. Taylor. And I still care about it. I don't think it is being worked with any kind of . . . dedication."
"And that's it?"
I nodded. Then Taylor nodded to himself.
"Fifty grand," he said.
"I'll pay you fifty grand if you solve the thing. There's no movie if you don't solve it."
"Mr. Taylor, you somehow have the wrong impression. I don't want your money and this is no movie. All I want right now is your help."
From Lost Light by Michael Connelly. Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher, Little, Brown & Company.
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