Дэвид Балдаччи: The Fix

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Дэвид Балдаччи The Fix
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    The Fix
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The Fix: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

Предлагаем к чтению аннотацию, описание, краткое содержание или предисловие (зависит от того, что написал сам автор книги «The Fix»). Если вы не нашли необходимую информацию о книге — напишите в комментариях, мы постараемся отыскать её.

Amos Decker witnesses a murder just outside FBI headquarters. A man shoots a woman execution-style on a crowded sidewalk, then turns the gun on himself. Even with Decker’s extraordinary powers of observation and deduction, the killing is baffling. Decker and his team can find absolutely no connection between the shooter — a family man with a successful consulting business — and his victim, a schoolteacher. Nor is there a hint of any possible motive for the attack. Enter Harper Brown. An agent of the Defense Intelligence Agency, she orders Decker to back off the case. The murder is part of an open DIA investigation, one so classified that Decker and his team aren’t cleared for it. But they learn that the DIA believes solving the murder is now a matter of urgent national security. Critical information may have been leaked to a hostile government — or worse, an international terrorist group — and an attack may be imminent. Decker’s never been one to follow the rules, especially with the stakes so high. Forced into an uneasy alliance with Agent Brown, Decker remains laser focused on only one goal: solving the case before it’s too late.

Дэвид Балдаччи: другие книги автора

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The Fix — читать онлайн бесплатно полную книгу (весь текст) целиком

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Just like that, thought Jamison.

Chapter 4

They had traveled from a place filled with dead bodies to a place filled with dying people.

After making inquiries at the front desk, Decker and Milligan had been given over to the director of Dominion Hospice, Sally Palmer. The woman was shocked to hear of Anne Berkshire’s death.

“She was just here this morning,” she said as she faced them from across the desk in her small, cramped office.

“That’s what we understand,” said Decker. “And it’s why we’re here. We saw that her hand was stamped with the name of the hospice.”

“Yes, we do that as part of our security procedure.”

“Does this place need much security?” asked Milligan.

Palmer looked at him sternly. “Our patients are weak and on heavy medications. They can hardly protect themselves. It falls to us to do that, and we take that matter very seriously. All visitors are checked in through the front entrance. The hand stamp is easily seen and we change the color every day. That way at a glance our staff knows if a visitor has been properly cleared through or not.”

Decker asked, “Did Berkshire have a family member who’s a patient here? Is that why she was here this morning?”

“Oh, no. Anne was a volunteer. She would come and spend time with certain patients. Oftentimes the patient’s family may not live in the immediate area, and visits aren’t so frequent. We have volunteers, carefully vetted of course, who come in and talk to the patients, read to them, or just sit with them. It’s not easy dying. And it’s even harder dying alone.”

“Did Berkshire talk to anyone in particular today?” asked Milligan.

“I can certainly find out. Excuse me for a minute.”

Palmer rose and left.

Milligan took out his phone and checked messages. “Dabney’s wife is at the hospital with her husband. Alex says he hasn’t regained consciousness and probably won’t.”

“Did the wife tell them anything?”

“She didn’t know Anne Berkshire and was pretty sure her husband didn’t either. She also knew nothing about her husband’s business and had no idea why he would do what he did. But Alex texted again. Mrs. Dabney said her husband had taken an unexplained trip about a month ago and that he didn’t seem the same afterwards.”

“Not the same how?”

“Different mood apparently. And he wouldn’t tell her where he went.”


Milligan looked around the small office. “Do you really think we’re going to get a lead from this place?”

“People are killed by strangers, but most people know the one who kills them.”

“Well, that’s always comforting,” said Milligan dourly.

The men lapsed into silence until Palmer returned a few minutes later.

“She met with three patients early this morning. Dorothy Vitters, Joey Scott, and Albert Drews.”

“Were they people she normally would visit?” asked Decker.


“You said she came in early this morning. Did she usually come in at that time?”

“Well, no, come to think of it. She usually came in around noon. Our patients are generally more alert then.”

“Can we speak with them?” asked Decker.

Palmer looked taken aback. “I’m not sure what they can tell you. They’re very ill. And weak.”

Decker rose. “I appreciate that, but Anne Berkshire was murdered this morning and it’s our job to find out why. And if she came here at an unusual time shortly before she went downtown and was killed, then we have to run that possible lead down. I hope you can understand that.”

Milligan added quickly, “We’ll be as gentle as possible.”

“Do you have to tell them that Anne was killed? That will be extremely upsetting for them.”

Milligan said, “We’ll do our best to avoid that.”

Decker said nothing. His eyes were already on the hallway.

Dorothy Vitters was in her late eighties, frail and shrunken in the last bed she would occupy. Because of patient confidentiality, Palmer had not told them what specific illness she might have. She left them in the doorway and walked back to her office.

Decker stood in the doorway and looked around at the small, sparsely furnished space.

“You okay?” said Milligan in a low voice.

Decker was not okay, not really.

What he was seeing here wasn’t the flash of electric blue he associated with death but rather navy blue. That was a first for him. But when he looked at the terminally ill Vitters he could understand why. Near death was apparently represented in his mind simply by another shade of blue.

Well, that is interesting. My altered mind keeps throwing me curves.

He didn’t want to be here when Vitters died, because he didn’t want the navy to abruptly change to electric blue.

“I’m good,” he finally said.

He walked into the room, pulled up a chair, and sat next to the bed. Milligan stood next to him.

“Mrs. Vitters, I’m Amos Decker and this is Todd Milligan. We’re here to talk to you about Anne Berkshire. She was in to see you this morning, we understand.”

Vitters looked up at him from deeply sunken eyes. Her skin was a pale gray, her eyes watery and her breathing shallow. Decker could see the port near her clavicle where her pain meds were administered.

“Anne was here,” she said slowly. “I was surprised because it was earlier than usual.”

“Do you remember what you talked about?”

“Who are you?”

Decker was about to take out his creds when Milligan stopped him. Milligan said, “We’re friends of Anne’s. She asked us to stop in today because she wanted to come back and keep talking to you but then found out she couldn’t make it.”

The watery eyes turned to alarm. “Is she... is she all right? She’s not sick, is she?”

“She’s feeling no pain at all,” said Decker quite truthfully. He was counting on the fact that whatever meds the woman was on would slow her mental processes somewhat, otherwise Vitters might figure out that nothing they were saying made much sense.

“Oh, well, it was just the usual things. Weather. A book she was reading and telling me about. My cat.”

“Your cat?” said Milligan.

“Sunny’s dead now. Oh, it’s been ten years if it’s been a day. But Anne liked cats.”

“So nothing other than that?” asked Decker.

“No, not that I recall. She wasn’t here that long.”

“Did she seem okay to you? Nothing out of sorts?”

Her voice grew more strident. “Are you sure she’s all right? Why are you here asking these questions? I might be dying, but I’m not stupid.”

Decker saw the watery eyes turn to flint before flickering out again.

“Well, if you have to know the truth, the fact is—”

Milligan cut in. “We know you’re not stupid, Mrs. Vitters. As my colleague was about to say, the fact is, Anne fell down and hit her head today. She’ll be fine, but she’s got short-term amnesia. And she needs to remember the passcode to her phone and her apartment’s alarm system and her computer. She sent us here to find out what she was talking about to people so that we can tell her and maybe jog her memory. The doctors said that that might do it.”

Vitters looked relieved. “Oh, well, I’m so sorry she fell.”

Decker glanced at Milligan for an instant before gazing back at Vitters and saying, “So anything you can tell us would be appreciated.”

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