THE LAST COYOTE by Michael Connelly


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Connelly dishes out another big, satisfying helping of LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch (The Concrete Blonde, 1994, etc.), returning for a fourth time in this dark, angry story of murder and obsession. Bosch -- now placed on "involuntary stress leave" for attacking a superior -- has a history of trouble: He served in Vietnam, has seen 20 years' worth of murder victims, had his house totaled by the last earthquake, and has recently been dumped by his girlfriend. But Bosch thinks he'd be fine if the system would just let him return to work. The LAPD shrink he's forced to see has other ideas, and she's keeping him off the streets until a few of those snakes twisting around in his head get defanged. Meanwhile, Bosch decides that his mission is to investigate the murder of his mother. But that murder happened 31 years ago, when he was 12 years old, and the trail is stone-cold. All he has to go on is the fact that the police file on it seems woefully incomplete -- as if someone didn't want the case solved. Bosch meets with one of the murder's original investigators, who confirms his suspicions of a cover-up, and the trail eventually leads to a former LA district attorney and a political king-maker. Throughout, Bosch is haunted by the fact that his mother was a prostitute and that he grew up in institutions because she was judged unfit. The story's center is Connelly's deft characterization of a hostile, almost enraged man who struggles to find some measure of redemption in a world generally indifferent to his pain. Bosch is driven by guilt and self-loathing even while he tries to assert the importance of who he is and what he does. The ending is a surprise, if something of an emotional letdown, as Bosch becomes calmer and more predictable in the final chapters. Brooding, sullen, and on the edge. Bosch grabs you and shakes you -- and it feels great.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-316-15390-7
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995


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