Suspended from his job with the LAPD, Harry Bosch must face the darkest parts of his past to track down his mother's killer . . . even if it costs him his life.
Harry attacked his commanding officer and is suspended indefinitely, pending a psychiatric evaluation. At first he resists the LAPD shrink, but finally recognizes that something is troubling him and has for a long time. In 1961, when Harry was twelve, his mother, a prostitute, was brutally murdered, and no one has ever been accused of the crime.
With the spare time a suspension brings, Harry opens up the thirty-year-old file on the case and is irresistibly drawn into a past he has always avoided. It's clear that the case was fumbled and the smell of a cover-up is unmistakable. Someone powerful was able to divert justice and Harry vows to uncover the truth. As he relentlessly follows the broken pieces of the case, the stirred interest causes new murders and pushes Harry to the edge of his job... and his life.
About the Author
Date of Birth:July 21, 1956
Place of Birth:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education:B.A. in Journalism, University of Florida, 1980
Read an Excerpt
The Last Coyote
By Michael Connelly
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2013 Michael Connelly
All rights reserved.
Any thoughts that you'd like to start with?"
"Thoughts on what?"
"Well, on anything. On the incident."
"On the incident? Yes, I have some thoughts."
She waited but he didn't continue. He had decided before he even got to Chinatown that this would be the way he would be. He'd make her have to pull every single word out of him.
"Could you share them with me, Detective Bosch?" she finally asked. "That is the purpose of—"
"My thoughts are that this is bullshit. Total bullshit. That's the purpose. That's all."
"No, wait. How do you mean, bullshit?"
"I mean, okay, I pushed the guy. I guess I hit him. I'm not sure exactly what happened but I'm not denying anything. So, fine, suspend me, transfer me, take it to a Board of Rights, whatever. But going this way is bullshit. ISL is bullshit. I mean, why do I have to come here three times a week to talk to you like I'm some kind of—you don't even know me, you don't know anything about me. Why do I have to talk to you? Why do you have to sign off on this?"
"Well, the technical answer is right there in your own statement. Rather than discipline you the department wants to treat you. You've been placed on involuntary stress leave, which means—"
"I know what it means and that's what's bullshit. Somebody arbitrarily decides I'm under stress and that gives the department the power to keep me off the job indefinitely, or at least until I jump through enough hoops for you."
"Nothing about this was arbitrary. It was predicated on your actions, which I think clearly show—"
"What happened had nothing to do with stress. What it was about was ... never mind. Like I said, it's bullshit. So why don't we just cut through it and get to the point. What do I have to do to get back to my job?"
He could see the anger flare behind her eyes. His total disavowal of her science and skill cut to her pride. Quickly the anger was gone, though. Dealing with cops all the time, she had to be used to it.
"Can't you see that all of this is for your own welfare? I have to assume the top managers of this department clearly see you as a valued asset or you wouldn't be here. They'd have put you on a disciplinary track and you'd be on your way out. Instead, they are doing what they can to preserve your career and its incumbent value to the department."
"Valued asset? I'm a cop, not an asset. And when you're out there on the street nobody's thinking about incumbent value. What does that mean, anyway? Am I going to have to listen to words like that in here?"
She cleared her throat before speaking sternly.
"You have a problem, Detective Bosch. And it goes far beyond the incident that resulted in your being placed on leave. That's what these sessions are going to be all about. Do you understand? This incident is not unique. You have had problems before. What I am trying to do, what I have to do before I can sign off on your return to duty in any capacity, is get you to take a look at yourself. What are you doing? What are you about? Why do these problems happen to you? I want these sessions to be an open dialogue where I ask a few questions and you speak your mind, but with a purpose. Not to harass me and my profession or the leadership of the department. But to talk about you. This is about you in here, no one else."
Harry Bosch just looked at her silently. He wanted a cigarette but would never ask her if he could smoke. He would never acknowledge in front of her that he had the habit. If he did, she might start talking about oral fixations or nicotine crutches. He took a deep breath instead and looked at the woman on the other side of the desk. Carmen Hinojos was a small woman with a friendly face and manner. Bosch knew she wasn't a bad person. He'd actually heard good things about her from others who had been sent to Chinatown. She was just doing her job here and his anger was not really directed at her. He knew she was probably smart enough to know that, too.
"Look, I'm sorry," she said. "I should not have started with that kind of open question. I know that this is an emotional subject with you. Let's try to start again. By the way, you can smoke if you'd like."
"Is that in the file, too?"
"It's not in the file. It didn't need to be. It's your hand, the way you keep bringing it up to your mouth. Have you been trying to quit?"
"No. But it's a city office. You know the rules."
It was a thin excuse. He violated that law every day at the Hollywood Station.
"That's not the rule in here. I don't want you to think of this as being part of Parker Center or part of the city. That's the chief reason these offices are away from that. There are no rules like that here."
"Doesn't matter where we are. You're still working for the LAPD."
"Try to believe that you are away from the Los Angeles Police Department. When you are in here, try to believe that you're just coming to see a friend. To talk. You can say anything here."
But he knew she could not be seen as a friend. Never. There was too much at stake here. Just the same, he nodded once to please her.
"That's not very convincing."
He hiked his shoulders as if to say it was the best he could do, and it was.
"By the way, if you want I could hypnotize you, get rid of your dependency on nicotine."
"If I wanted to quit, I could do it. People are either smokers or they're not. I am."
"Yes. It's perhaps the most obvious symptom of a self-destructive nature."
"Excuse me, am I on leave because I smoke? Is that what this is about?"
"I think you know what it's about."
He said nothing else, remembering his decision to say as little as possible.
"Well, let's continue then," she said. "You've been on leave ... let's see, Tuesday a week?"
"What have you been doing with your time?"
"Filling out FEMA forms mostly."
"My house was red-tagged."
"The earthquake was three months ago. Why have you waited?"
"I've been busy. I've been working."
"I see. Did you have insurance?"
"Don't say 'I see,' because you don't. You couldn't possibly see things the way I do. The answer is no, no insurance. Like most everybody else, I was living in denial. Isn't that what you people call it? I bet you had insurance."
"Yes. How bad was your house hit?"
"Depends on who you ask. The city inspectors say it's totaled and I can't even go inside. I think it's fine. Just needs some work. They know me by name at Home Depot now. And I've had contractors do some of it. It'll be done soon and I'll appeal the red tag. I've got a lawyer."
"You're living there still?"
"Now that's denial, Detective Bosch. I don't think you should be doing that."
"I don't think you have any say about what I do outside my job with the department."
She raised her hands in a hands-off manner.
"Well, while I don't condone it, I suppose it serves its purpose. I think it's good that you have something to keep you occupied. Though I'd much rather it be a sport or a hobby or maybe plans for a trip out of town, I think it's important to keep busy, to keep your mind off the incident."
"I don't know. Everybody keeps calling it the incident. It kind of reminds me of how people called it the Vietnam conflict, not the war."
"Then what would you call what happened?"
"I don't know. But incident ... it sounds like ... I don't know. Antiseptic. Listen, Doctor, let's go back a minute. I don't want to take a trip out of town, okay? My job is in homicide. It's what I do. And I'd really like to get back to it. I might be able to do some good, you know."
"If the department lets you."
"If you do. You know it's going to be up to you."
"Perhaps. Do you notice that you speak of your job as if it's a mission of some sort?"
"That's about right. Like the Holy Grail."
He said it with sarcasm. This was getting intolerable and it was only the first session.
"Is it? Do you believe your mission in life is to solve murders, to put bad people in jail?"
He used the shoulder hike to say he didn't know. He stood up and walked to the window and looked down on Hill Street. The sidewalks were crowded with pedestrians. Every time he had been down here they were crowded. He noticed a couple of Caucasian women walking along. They stood out in the sea of Asian faces like raisins in rice. They passed the window of a Chinese butcher shop and Bosch saw a row of smoked ducks hanging whole, by their necks.
Farther up the road he saw the Hollywood Freeway overpass, the dark windows of the old sheriff's jail and the Criminal Courts building behind it. To the left of that he could see the City Hall tower. Black construction tarps hung around the top floors. It looked like some kind of mourning gesture but he knew the tarps were to hold debris from falling while earthquake repairs were made. Looking past City Hall, Bosch could see the Glass House. Parker Center, police headquarters.
"Tell me what your mission is," Hinojos said quietly from behind him. "I'd like to hear you put it in words."
He sat back down and tried to think of a way to explain himself but finally just shook his head.
"Well, I want you to think about that. Your mission. What is it really? Think about that."
"What's your mission, Doctor?"
"That's not our concern here."
"Of course it is."
"Look, Detective, this is the only personal question I will answer. These dialogues are not to be about me. They are about you. My mission, I believe, is to help the men and women of this department. That's the narrow focus. And by doing that, on a grander scale I help the community, I help the people of this city. The better the cops are that we have out on the street, the better we all are. The safer we all are. Okay?"
"That's fine. When I think about my mission, do you want me to shorten it to a couple sentences like that and rehearse it to the point that it sounds like I'm reading out of the dictionary?"
"Mr.—uh, Detective Bosch, if you want to be cute and contentious the whole time, we are not going to get anywhere, which means you are not going to get back to your job anytime soon. Is that what you're looking for here?"
He raised his hands in surrender. She looked down at the yellow legal pad on the desk. With her eyes off him, he was able to study her. Carmen Hinojos had tiny brown hands she kept on the desk in front of her. No rings on either hand. She held an expensive-looking pen in her right hand. Bosch always thought expensive pens were used by people overly concerned with image. But maybe he was wrong about her. She wore her dark brown hair tied back. She wore glasses with thin tortoiseshell frames. She should have had braces when she was a kid but didn't. She looked up from the pad and their eyes locked.
"I am told this inci—this ... situation coincided with or was close to the time of the dissolving of a romantic relationship."
"Told by who?"
"It's in the background material given to me. The sources of this material are not important."
"Well, they are important because you've got bad sources. It had nothing to do with what happened. The dissolving, as you call it, was almost three months ago."
"The pain of these things can last much longer than that. I know this is personal and may be difficult but I think we should talk about this. The reason is that it will help give me a basis for your emotional state at the time the assault took place. Is that a problem?"
Bosch waved her on with his hand.
"How long did this relationship last?"
"About a year."
"No." "Was it talked about?"
"No, not really. Never out in the open."
"Did you live together?"
"Sometimes. We both kept our places."
"Is the separation final?"
"I think so."
Saying it out loud seemed to be the first time Bosch acknowledged that Sylvia Moore was gone from his life for good.
"Was this separation by mutual agreement?"
He cleared his throat. He didn't want to talk about this but he wanted it over with.
"I guess you could say it was mutual agreement, but I didn't know about it until she was packed. You know, three months ago we were holding each other in bed while the house was shaking apart on the pad. You could say she was gone before the aftershocks ended."
"They still haven't."
"Just a figure of speech."
"Are you saying the earthquake was the cause of the breakup of this relationship?"
"No, I'm not saying that. All I'm saying is that's when it happened. Right after. She's a teacher up in the Valley and her school got wrecked. The kids were moved to other schools and the district didn't need as many teachers. They offered sabbaticals and she took one. She left town."
"Was she scared of another earthquake or was she scared of you?"
She looked pointedly at him.
"Why would she be scared of me?"
He knew he sounded a little too defensive.
"I don't know. I'm just asking questions. Did you give her a reason to be scared?"
Bosch hesitated. It was a question he had never really touched on in his private thoughts about the breakup.
"If you mean in a physical way, no, she wasn't scared and I gave her no reason to be."
Hinojos nodded and wrote something on her pad. It bothered Bosch that she would make a note about this.
"Look, it's got nothing to do with what happened at the station last week."
"Why did she leave? What was the real reason?"
He looked away. He was angry. This was how it was going to be. She would ask whatever she wanted. Invade him wherever there was an opening.
"I don't know."
"That answer is not acceptable in here. I think you do know, or at least have your own beliefs as to why she would leave. You must."
"She found out who I was."
"She found out who you were, what does that mean?"
"You'd have to ask her. She said it. But she's in Venice. The one in Italy."
"Well, then what do you think she meant by it?"
"It doesn't matter what I think. She's the one who said it and she's the one who left."
"Don't fight me, Detective Bosch. Please. There is nothing I want more than for you to get back to your job. As I said, that's my mission. To get you back there if you can go. But you make it difficult by being difficult."
"Maybe that's what she found out. Maybe that's who I am."
"I doubt the reason is as simplistic as that."
"Sometimes I don't."
She looked at her watch and leaned forward, dissatisfaction with the session showing on her face.
"Okay, Detective, I understand how uncomfortable you are. We're going to move on, but I suspect we will have to come back to this issue. I want you to give it some thought. Try to put your feelings into words."
She waited for him to say something but he didn't.
"Let's try talking about what happened last week again. I understand it stemmed from a case involving the murder of a prostitute."
"It was brutal?"
"That's just a word. Means different things to different people."
"True, but taking its meaning to you, was it a brutal homicide?"
"Yes, it was brutal. I think almost all of them are. Somebody dies, it's brutal. For them."
"And you took the suspect into custody?"
"Yes, my partner and I. I mean, no. He came in voluntarily to answer questions."
"Did this case affect you more than, say, other cases have in the past?"
"Maybe, I don't know."
"Why would that be?"
"You mean why did I care about a prostitute? I didn't. Not more than any other victim. But in homicide there is one rule that I have when it comes to the cases I get."
"What is that rule?"
"Everybody counts or nobody counts."
"Just what I said. Everybody counts or nobody counts. That's it. It means I bust my ass to make a case whether it's a prostitute or the mayor's wife. That's my rule."
"I understand. Now, let's go to this specific case. I'm interested in hearing your description of what happened after the arrest and the reasons you may have for your violent actions at the Hollywood Division."
"Is this being taped?"
"No, Detective, whatever you tell me is protected. At the end of these sessions I will simply make a recommendation to Assistant Chief Irving. The details of the sessions will never be divulged. The recommendations I make are usually less than half a page and contain no details from the dialogues."
"You wield a lot of power with that half page."
Excerpted from The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly. Copyright © 2013 Michael Connelly. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Earlier this year I started reading the Bosch series in order. The premise of this one didn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm, and it did start out a little slow. If you like Connelly/Bosch - get it, stick with it and see it all the way through. So much of Harry's inner being is revealed and you gain an ever greater understanding and rooting interest for him. Characters are rich and deep and one can see how Connelly has gradually honed his craft with each new book in the series. The plot is far better than I imagined and it left me rushing right into #5 in the series - Trunk Music. Loved this book.
I am so glad that I discovered this series. Harry has a great personality and analytical mind that keeps the story interesting.
Harry Bosch has a down to earth, regular fellow personality. He has to bear his soul to the shrink to get his old job back, and although he resists at first, he ends this book knowing himself better than even he thought possible. He is like the last coyote he is afraid he may never see again......
First off, Michael Connelly is my favorite mystery writer (very different from crime writers such as George Pelecanos and Richard Price, whom I advise to check out). Connelly created a great character in Bosch, a detective that is very easy to identify with and learn to greatly admire. This is my fourth Connelly novel (I am reading them in order, which I would advise any new Connelly readers to do, because of the way he connects each novel, despite who the central character is) and so far, it is impossible for me to pick a favorite. His first three are written so well, compelling me to read so much in a short period of time, and The Last Coyote is no different. I never give away too much plot in my reviews so all I'll say is that Connelly allows Bosch to solve his most personal case in the Last Coyote, the murder of his mother in 1961. Bosch goes to great lengths and danger to solve the case, and it was a pleasure to follow him on his journey. I'm very new to Connelly's work and I intend for that to change as I continue to read his novels. Not that this is difficult to do, because his books are just so great. Connelly is a master of mystery fiction and reader's unaware of his work should read them, just remember, read them in order, you's understand why.
My only mistake was reading City of Bones and Lost Light before I read the first 3 Harry Bosch novels (great books, just wish I would have started from the beginning to understand Bosch better) - if you like the Harry Bosch novels, then you have to read this book to know the man. Harry is so complex - he can't seem to help himself, but you really can't help but like him. Michael Connelly really delved deep into Harry's soul in this book and the storyline was wonderful - just when you think you might have it figured out - you don't. Read this book.....
I ENJOY HARRY BOSCH SERIES, BUT HAD STARTED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SERIES. NOW I'M PLAYING "CATCH-UP" WITH THESE BOOKS. STRONGLY RECOMMEND READERS TO START AT #1 AND GET A LISTING OF THE SERIES
I am currently reading all of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series in order, and I LOVE them. I am a big mystery/detective story fan, and I have tried so many different series from different authors, but I finally found the one for me! What can I say? I often find myself not really liking the main characters in novels, but I truly like Harry; he is a good guy - not perfect, but he works hard, isn't a womanizer, and isn't overly macho. All of the stories are well-written, realistic, contain surprises and twists, and keep me hooked until the very end. My favorites have been The Black Echo (#1), The Concrete Blonde (#3), Trunk Music (#5), City of Bones (#8), The Narrows (#10), although again - I enjoyed all of them. If you like detective mystery novels, you won't be disappointed with Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch.
Once you get hooked on the character of Harry you want to read each of the books in the series. This one does not disappoint and continues to make you want to flip the page to see what happens next.
This is my third Connelly book, and he does not disappoint. I especially liked this book because due to the personal nature of the case for Bosch, you really get to know the character...where he came from and what makes him tick.
Like all other Connelly books, this one grabs you on the first page and doesn't let go until last. A murder mystery at its best, this story is complicated enough to keep you guessing, while at the same time, easy to pick up from your bookmark.
I'd never read Connelly before I read this book. I have since read every book in the series. Harry Bosch just makes you want to be better and do better. The world tries to knock him down, but he just keeps fighting back. His motto in every one of his books is 'everybody counts or nobody counts' - that motto is personified in this book when he searches for the truth behind his mother's murder. To say anything more would be giving away key details. Just know that this book is a winner.
Harry is determined to find out what happened to his mother and will stop at nothing to do so. Ya gotta love a guy who just doesn't give up! I've read all the Harry Bosch novels with the exception of the last three (Angels Flight, City of Bones, Lost Light), up to now, all have been fantastic reads! If you're on the fence about jumping in, make sure to with both feet - you won't regret it.
I have not read all of Connelly’s work. This is an earlier book. It was a good book, but not as good as the later ones. It does demonstrate how seriously Connelly takes his writing. Despite his success, he has continued to improve his craft, and that is why he is one of the best.
This is an ok book. Harry Bosch the main character has been suspended from the LAPD. He uses his free time to investigate his Mothers murder 25 years earlier. Harry uncovers a few old home truths. He finds love along the way ruffles some feathers in his own department. This is the first Harry Bosch wook I read it wont be the last.
I do think this by far the best in the series to date. Connelly plays Bosch close to the vest and is almost reluctant to reveal Harry's character, much like Harry himself.
Harry Bosch is recovering from problems within at his work. He decides to find out who killed his mother in the early 1960s. The chase leads him through political intrigue and ends up with the murderer being a jealous girl friend. His search causes others to die and leads him to question his life goals.
Another excellent Harry Bosch. Harry has been suspended for assaulting his boss and is undergoing compulsive therapy. During his enforced absence his mind turns to the question of his mother's murder over 30 years previously and who was responsible. Thus begins a crusade to find those responsible, irrespective of who gets caught in the cross-fire and the fact that he might not welcome the truth.
Another good detective novel from Connelly. A very good character study of Harry Bosch, the detective. He deals with his own demons as he solves the murder of his mother many years before.
One of the best Harry Bosch stories. Great plot, well written and plenty of surprises. Michael Connelly's eye for detail really adds to a good story
The Last Coyote is one of the best of Connelly's Harry Bosch series. A great mystery story with great characters. Harry Bosch is on involuntary stress leave after putting his supervisor through a glass window. His career in doubt and his house has been red-tagged after an earthquake and is slated for destruction. We learn more of Harry's early past as he digs into the 30 year old case of his mother Marjorie's murder. Good read. Highly recommended.
Poignant and intense story featuring loner detective Harry Bosch whose suspension from the LAPD gave him time to investigate his own mother's murder from 33 years ago. Connelly used very haunting imagery throughout, he wrote whole chapters where the case doesn't really move forward but Bosch broods and reflects. Coupled with Bosch's house in post-earthquake disarray, and his budding relationship with a woman hiding a secret of her own, this book marks a turning point in Bosch's life.
Secondary title - Harry Has to Go to Therapy to Keep His Job. Therapy doesn't help him very much; neither does getting a new girlfriend. In fact, he starts the book miserable and he ends the book in almost the exact same place. Solving the mystery of who killed his mother 25+ years ago doesn't help Harry much either. He still ends up pretty much where he started out - morose, drinking to much, and pissing everybody else off. But in some ways that is what Harry does almost as well as solve mysteries, he collects rage and misery. Two people who don't need to be dead, end up dead anyway because of Harry and the choices he makes. He solves one homocide case and his actions lead to 2 other homocides. It's his life story in some ways, he is absolutely committed to working relentlessly to bringing the bad guys to justice, yet he breaks rules and circumvents the law every 15 pages. He is not just a walking contradiction, he is a miserable walking contradiction.Late one night Harry sees a scrawny, scraggly coyote come up out of a canyon. He used to see them quite often and fears that one day he will stop seeing them. He talks to the therapist he is forced to go and see. He realizes he is like the coyote, able to adapt to mankind and it's relentless development of what is wild and natural, but unable to thrive any longer in the face of all the encroachments he sees around him. In the end he leaves and goes to see his new girlfriend in Florida. Florida is probably not any better, but at least it isn't California.
Back story about killing of mother.
Yet another outburst of violence has LA Homicide Detective Harry Bosch in trouble again¿only this time, he shoved his superior, Lt. Pounds, and he is suspended from the force pending a psychiatric evaluation from the Department psychologist, Dr. Carmen Hinojos. Other aspects of Bosch¿s life are just as bleak; an earthquake has rendered his home officially unlivable (although of course Bosch continues to live there), and Sylvia Moore, with whom he has had a year-long serious relationship, has left him. While struggling to come to terms with his life, Bosch becomes convinced that he can only understand what drives him if he is able to solve the 30+ year old murder case of his mother. Using his suspension, he tries to pick up the dropped threads of an old, cold investigation.Before long, oddities crop up: unusual police procedures, missing pages from the murder book, hints of undue interference from political figures. By the very nature of the case, Harry talks with people from his past, especially his mother¿s best friend, and former police officers who are unduly wary of inquiries from Los Angeles.The trail heats up, and leads Harry to several confrontations, one of which costs Pounds his life. Chagrined but determined to find out who killed his mother, Harry pushes on despite the danger to himself and others.Another excellent installment in this series. Connelly¿s novels always start out the way I imagine police investigations do¿wandering a bit, especially in this instance with such an old case. There is no clear trail, nothing definite to put one¿s finger on, just the sense of needing to push on. The writing is excellent and the plotting is superb. The climax is unexpected, and extremely well done. As usual, I¿m left with the desire to read more.Highly recommended.
Connelly used a tired formula with this novel - cop suspended from force due to lashing out, and has to spend time hashing over his past. All the while he's using his connections to hunt for his mother's killer. I'll give Connelly some credit, he still managed to keep my interest thru the entire book and put a nice twist at the end, just when you think you know who killed Bosch's mother, he flips it on you. The ending redeemed the book overall, but the build-up just seemed to drag for a while. Considering how good Concrete Blonde was (the Bosch book immediately preceding Lost Coyote) from beginning to end, I thought this was an overall disappointment. 3 stars as a book that had a solid ending but a fat, saggy middle.