Дэвид Балдаччи: The Fix

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Дэвид Балдаччи The Fix
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    The Fix
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    Grand Central Publishing
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    Триллер / на английском языке
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The Fix: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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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.

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

“Well, again, we didn’t talk about much. Although, it did seem that Anne was preoccupied. She usually led the conversations we had but today I had to prompt her a few times.”

Milligan glanced sharply at Decker, but Decker kept his gaze on Vitters.

“Did you ask her if anything was wrong?”

“I did actually. But she said everything was fine. She just had something on her mind, but she didn’t say what.”

“Do you know if you were the first person that Anne visited today, or were there others before you?”

“I think I was the last. She mentioned she had to leave after seeing me. She had somewhere to go.”

“She didn’t mention where that was?”


Decker rose and turned to leave.

Milligan said hastily, “Thank you for your help. Is there anything we can do for you?”

Vitters smiled grimly. “Put in a good word for me with the man upstairs.”

As they left, Milligan whispered, “Hey, Decker, you need to go a little easy with these folks, okay? They’re dying.”

He passed by Decker, who turned and looked back at Vitters lying in the bed, her eyes now closed. He walked back over to her and looked down. The navy blue image in his mind was starting to turn electric blue. Decker didn’t believe he could foresee someone’s death, but his mind was obviously making the logical leap with the terminally ill Vitters.

He reached down and adjusted the woman’s pillow to make her head rest more comfortably. His hand grazed over the white hair and then he said in a low voice, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Vitters.”

He didn’t see Milligan watching him from the doorway. The FBI agent hurried off before Decker turned around.

Chapter 5

Joey Scott was an even sadder case than Dorothy Vitters.

Decker and Milligan stood in the doorway with Palmer. Scott was only ten years old, but his short life was nearing its end. Eschewing patient privacy law, Palmer, who had escorted them here, had said in response to their blank looks, “Leukemia. The untreatable kind.”

Milligan said, “But why would Berkshire have to visit him? Don’t his parents come?”

Palmer bristled. “He was in the process of being adopted out of foster care. When he got sick his ‘adoptive’ parents pulled out. I guess they wanted a healthy model,” she added in disgust. “And it’s not like they couldn’t afford it. Anne visited him at least twice a week. She was really all Joey had.”

Then she turned and left, her face full of despair.

Decker looked down at the little body in the bed and his thoughts wandered back to the daughter he’d once had. Molly had been murdered before her tenth birthday. Decker had found her and his wife’s bodies at their old home. And because of his hyperthymesia, he would always remember every detail of this tragedy like it had just occurred that second.

There could be nothing that ever happened to Decker that could be more horrible and depressing than finding his family murdered. But seeing this came close.

He sat down next to the boy, who slowly opened his eyes. IV and monitoring lines ran all over his withered frame.

With a quick glance at Milligan, Decker said, “Hello, Joey, I’m Amos. This is my friend Todd.”

Joey raised a hand and made a little wave.

“I understand your friend, Anne, was in today?”

Joey nodded.

“Did you have a good talk?”

“She read to me,” Joey said in a small voice.

“A book?”

He nodded. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s on the shelf over there. She said she’d be back tomorrow to finish it.”

Decker reached over and snagged the book, flipping through some pages until he came to the bookmark about ten pages from the end. He glanced at Milligan before looking back at Joey. “That’s great. Is that all she did? Read?”

Joey shook his head. “We talked some.”

“What about?”

“Are you friends with Anne?”

Decker said, “I just saw her this morning. She’s the reason we came to see you. She wanted us to meet her friends here.”

“Oh, okay.”

Milligan said, “How long have you been here, Joey?”

Joey blinked up at him. “I don’t know.”

Milligan took a step back and put a hand against the wall. He looked hopelessly at Decker.

Decker said, “Do you remember what you talked about with Anne? Maybe things about the book?”

“She asked me if I saw the sun come up.”

Decker looked to the large window, which faced east. He slowly looked back at Joey. “Did you?”

Joey nodded. “It was nice.”

“I used to get up early and watch the sun rise when I was a kid,” said Decker, drawing a surprised look from Milligan. “I grew up in Ohio so the sun got to us later than it does here.”

On the nightstand next to the bed was a framed photo. Decker picked it up. It was a picture of Peyton Manning.

“You like Manning?”

Joey nodded. “I used to watch football a lot. And I played before I got sick.”

“I played too.”

Joey ran his gaze over Decker’s huge physique. “You look like a football player. I might have grown up to be big like you.”

Milligan rubbed at his eyes. Regaining his composure, he said, “Joey, Decker here played in the NFL. For the Cleveland Browns.”

The little boy’s eyes grew wide and a tiny smile crept across his features. “You did?”

Decker nodded. “My career was short and not necessarily sweet.” He put the photo back. “Before that I was an Ohio State Buckeye. Some of the best years of my life.”

“Wow,” said Joey. “Do you know Peyton Manning?”

“No, but he was one of the greatest. First-ballot Hall of Famer.” He sat back. “Did you talk with Anne about anything else?”

The smile faded. “Not really.”

“Did she tell you where she was going after she left here?”

Joey shook his head.

Decker rose, glanced at Milligan, and said, “Thanks, Joey, you’ve been a big help.”

“You’re welcome.”

Milligan looked down at him and said, “Hey, would it be okay if I came back and saw you again?”

“Sure. Maybe you can come with Anne.”

Milligan said, “Well, we’ll see.” He took a card from his pocket and put it on the nightstand next to the Peyton Manning photo. “You need anything, have them give me a call on that number, okay?”


“Thanks again.”

“Can I shake your hand?” asked Joey, eyeing Decker. “I never met an NFL player before.”

Decker put out his hand and slowly gripped the little boy’s. It was like a whale swallowing a minnow.

“It was an honor meeting you, Joey.” Decker put the book back on the shelf and walked out, followed by Milligan.

“Damn,” said Milligan. “I’m not sure I’ll ever smile again.”

“You will,” said Decker. “But whenever you feel things are bad, you’ll think of Joey and then things will look a lot better for you.”

Albert Drews was in his forties and volunteered that he had final-stage pancreatic cancer. He was pale and thin and his skin looked brittle and jaundiced.

“By the time I had any symptoms it was too damn late,” he said after they’d introduced themselves and shown him their IDs. “Chemo, radiation, kicked the shit out of me. Then I go into remission, for about two months. Then it comes back like a hurricane, and now this is it.”

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