on October 30, 2002
Michael Connelly has dusted off an increasingly rare gemstone in the crown jewels of American literature: the hard-boiled detective. Present in Connelly's pithy and believable prose is all of the wit and grit of Hammett, MacDonald, Stout, and Spillane. What he's brought us in Harry Bosch is a cop's cop. Bosch, an LAPD homicide detective, is a real-life hero for whom the principled drive to see justice done allows him to deal with the treacherous world of Los Angeles politics and some even more treacherous politicians (some of whom masquerade as police officials).
While _The Last Coyote_ is the fourth Bosch novel, the plot and characters are so artfully developed that this novel could stand alone as a complete novel. At the same time, the writing is so compelling and captivating that it is a real pleasure to know that Bosch is a recurring character in Connelly's work. Although this is my first Connelly story, I am officially an addict, and I cannot wait to devour the rest of the titles in the Bosch series.
_The Last Coyote_ opens with Bosch under suspension for assaulting his Commanding Officer, Harvey "98" Pounds. With his newfound freedom comes a mandatory psychiatric evaluation to determine his fitness as a police officer. The ensuing therapy sessions force Bosch to take a hard look at his options, should he later be kicked off the force for the assault on his CO.
Faced with his ever-present personal demons, his suspension, and time on his hands, Bosch begins to investigate perhaps his greatest mystery: the unsolved 1961 murder of his call-girl mother. Though cautioned by his therapist that solving this mystery may remove his motivation to be a detective, Bosch dives into a mystery (and his personal story) that exposes the seedy underside of Los Angeles political corruption. The ride is taut, human, and utterly engrossing, and we are at once deeply satisfied and virtually winded when the dust settles.
My introduction to Harry Bosch was one of those rare joys: a gifted writer spinning a fascinating tale with grace and skill. Perhaps equally enjoyable to me was the principled drive of the protagonist to get at the facts, despite the potential costs-to himself, his career, and his department. Bosch's belief that the truth shall set you free is more than a bromide. While freedom may not always bring redemption, it allows him to sleep at night.
Michael Connelly does not disappoint his faithful with this one. It was a great chance to learn a little bit more about a character that is close to my heart.
During a leave from duty Bosch delves deep into his past to make sense of his mother's murder (and hopefully find the killer).
While the action is quick and the writing is strong what really makes this Connelly book stand out is that we really learn what makes Bosch tick. The title is also great - it has a double meaning, it signifies how Harry sees himself as well as the earthquake ravaged LA neighborhood in which Bosch resides - he has a coyote that visits his hillside home from time to time.
A very enjoyable read.
on August 1, 2002
"The Last Coyote" is the first of Connelly's Bosch novels that I have read. I enjoyed the story thoroughly.
LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is very much a flawed hero. Throughout this novel he is on adminsitrative leave from his job as a result of having assaulted and battered his lieutenant boss. He decides to use the idle time (when not in sessions with a charming female police psychologist whose recommendation will determine whether or not Bosch is restored to active service) looking into an unsolved murder from 1961. The victim of the murder was none other than Bosch's prostitute mother. Bosch's unauthorized investigation leads to some very powereful political figures and puts not only Bosch's job, but also his life and liberty in danger. There are villains galore, but even the villains may not be all bad. Part of the intrigue of this book is that it shows there can be a fine line between good and evil, and in the end Bosch has to come to grips with the evil of his own ways.
The story is fast-paced, and it is nice to read about a hero who is all too human. The plot is entertaining and involves enough surprises to keep the reader guessing up to the very last page.
My only criticism is that I found some parts of the book -- for example the descriptions of Bosch's exact street routes from one place to another in Los Angeles -- a bit tedious at times. Also he uses some awkward sentence constructions that bothered me. I find that when a writer's style attracts my attention negatively, it distracts me from my enjoyment of the story.
Still, "The Last Coyote" was an excellent, fast and compelling crime novel that kept me awake far to late a few nights just because I wanted to find out what would happen next.
on November 13, 2000
I don't like Los Angeles much but when Michael Connelly writes about it through the eyes of Harry Bosch, I can't stop turning the pages.
In this, the fourth, Harry Bosch novel, readers are let into the heart and soul of a man who you don't think you could like (drinks too much, an in your face smoker and generally dark sort of guy) and you end up wanting to name your next cat after him. Actually, Harry probably would prefer a dog but the independent, ornery nature of a cat seems more true.
Harry's on suspension and finds himself digging into the unsolved murder of his prostitute mother. By the time he's done we've learned plenty about Los Angeles in the early 60's, politics and the angst of a policeman without a badge. My husband, a former cop, simply shakes his head at Connelly's ability to express the experience of a renegade cop.
We listen to these as books on tape and 13 hours go by in flash. Connelly's books are terrifically paced and this one has one heck of an ending.
It's only been in the past couple of weeks that veteran L.A. homicide detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch pushed his boss's face through the plate glass window of the latter's office. You see, Lt. Pounds - the consummate desk jockey - had interfered with one of Harry's interrogations, which resulted in the (probably guilty) suspect walking free. Now, Bosch is on involuntary stress leave with orders to see the department head doctor. To kill time between appointments, Harry unofficially re-opens an unsolved 30+ year-old murder case, that of his mother, a Hollywood hooker. Then there's his Hollywood Hills home, damaged by a recent earthquake and subsequently earmarked for demolition, to worry about. It makes for angst that would cause testiness even in the Pope. And, when Pounds is tortured and murdered and Lt. Brockman of Internal Affairs brings Bosch in for the third degree, our hero loses it:
"Bosch shoved the table toward Brockman ... and pinned Brockman against the wall ... as he went without air ... (Brockman's) eyes bugged."
The fictional road to this book's conclusion is the well-travelled one through police and political chicanery, either of which I can read about in the daily newspaper if I feel the unlikely compulsion. Rather, since each of us perhaps occasionally feels that mad urge for self destruction, the fun of THE LAST COYOTE is watching Bosch be a bull in his own china shop and then clean up the shards. Even that would earn it only four stars, in my opinion, except that the completely unexpected plot twist in the last ten pages merits it the ultimate fifth. If you're still bothering to fly the nation's unfriendly skies, or you're just stuck in a long post office que, THE LAST COYOTE is the perfect distraction to numb the experience.
on October 26, 2004
"The Last Coyote" is Michael Connelly's fourth book, was first published in 1995 and features Harry Bosch as its central character. Something of Bosch's background has been covered in the previous three books. Bosch's mother was a prostitute who was murdered when he was twelve - he spent his teenage years in and out of youth halls. He enlisted in the army and served in Viet-Nam, before returning home and joining the police force. Once a member of the LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide Division, Bosch currently works at the Hollywood Division's Homicide table. He's still a jazz-loving loner, seen by some as a maverick, with a taste for coffee, beer and cigarettes. There have been some changes in his life since the end of "The Concrete Blonde", though - his relationship with Sylvia Moore has finished and his house has been damaged in a recent earthquake. Despite the fact that it's been declared unfit for habitation, he's still unofficially living there.
As "The Last Coyote" opens, Bosch is in trouble with the department again. After his boss, the bureaucratic Harvey "98" Pounds, interfered with the questioning of a suspect, Bosch lost his temper and pushed Pounds head-first through an office window. As a result, he's been placed on involuntary stress leave and has to attend regular sessions with Dr Carmen Hinojos, a psychiatrist at Behaviorial Sciences Division. These sessions contribute to Bosch deciding to investigate the one case that really matters to him : his mother's murder. Although he's working on the case unofficially and has lost his badge - albeit temporarily - he still manages to pull the original case file. Opened in October 1961, it was investigated at the time by two detectives called Eno and McKittrick. Leaving aside the apparent lack of effort to solve the case, a few things seem odd to Harry. The mentions an interview with Johnny Fox - his mother's pimp, and therefore an obvious suspect. However, the file doesn't contain an interview summary. A passing reference to Arno Conklin also catches his eye. At the time, Conklin would have been one of the city's top prosecutors and subsequently became the city's DA. Although exactly what role he had is unclear, his involvement in the case seems curious. The only other person apparently interviewed was Meredith Roman - a 'colleague' and old friend of his mother's, who'd also worked for Johnny Fox. The starting point, Harry feels, is to track these people down - though cut off from the LAPD's resources, he has to be a little more creative than usual in how he achieves this. He starts by using a new contact at the LA Times, Keisha Russell, to gather some stories on Conklin and Fox. Based on what he's read, Harry adds Conklin's campaign manager, Gordon Mittel, to his list of suspects. For other police-related information, Harry isn't above 'borrowing' Harvey Pound's identity to acquire it. However, just because a case is over thirty years old doesn't mean the investigation will be safe - least of all when important people are involved.
As with Connelly's previous books, I found this to be a very enjoyable book - and it deals with the very case I had wondered about. It's probably better, though not strictly necessary, to read the books in order. The 'newcomer' won't feel left out, as this book covers enough of Bosch's past to tell the story without any gaps. However, reading the previous books and getting to know the 'full story' will add to the enjoyment of this instalment. The other books ("The Black Echo", "The Black Ice" and "The Concrete Blonde") are very enjoyable also - reading them will be anything other than a burden !
on September 26, 2003
I just discovered Michael Connelly and am excited about the books I have left in this seris to read. I've read in a week, Blood Work, The Black Echo, The Concrete Blonde and finished The Last Coyote. I decided to post my review and my feelings for his work up to this point. Connelly is a refreshing writer and an author I waited too long to read. What I enjoy about the series so far is his protagonist, Harry Bosh, a flawed, lonely cop who has a standard for his job that he sticks by: everybody counts or nobody counts. Another strength of the series is the focus on solving the case, the politics within the police department and the level of violence in his novels are not as bad as some of the writers I've come across.
In THE LAST COYOTE, Connelly starts off with slowly, with the decision by Harry to investigate a case that is personal to him. As he slowly goes over the case and starts asking questions, he stirs up a hornet's nest of trouble. I love Harry Bosch. He only wants to do what is right. This book started off slow and picked up speed after the first three or four chapters. The ending was a complete surprise. Bosch was warned that the case would do more harm that good and it does cost Bosch emotionally. If I had to describe this installment in the series, it would be haunting.
If you haven't tried Connelly yet, this is not where you want to start. I usually don't read books in order but with the Harry Bosch series, I highly recommend that you do read them in order. My grade, A. Thank You Mr. Connelly. You are an excellent author. So far, THE LAST COYOTE is the best of the series thus far. Reading order is below:
The Black Echo (1992)
The Black Ice (1993)
The Concrete Blonde (1994)
The Last Coyote (1995)
Trunk Music (1997)
Angels Flight (1999)
A Darkness More Than Night (2001)
City Of Bones (2002)
Lost Light (2003)
The Narrows (2004)
The Closers (2005)
Echo Park (2006)
The Overlook (2007)
The Brass Verdict (2008)
Nine Dragons (2009)
The Reversal (2010)
The Fifth Witness (2011) (one page brief appearance)
The Drop (2011)
The Black Box (coming November 2012)
provided by Michael Connelly's website.
In The Last Coyote, number 4 in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, the LAPD homicide detective finds himself in the cooker. This is not an unusual place for Bosch to be as even his own colleagues call him "an outsider in an insiders job." But things are even more serious this time around. LA is still recovering from an earthquake, and Bosch's cantilevered house has been condemned. Bosch's girlfriend has left for Italy (a permanent move). Bosch is also recovering from his own earthquake in a meltdown that caused him to put his boss through a glass window at the office. The Last Coyote finds Bosch on forced leave and his return to the job is based on the findings of police psychologist, Dr. Carmen Hinojos.
In Bosch's sessions with Dr Hinojos, one theme keeps coming up--the unsolved murder of his mother, Marjorie Lowe. Lowe was a prostitute and lost Harry to an orphanage when the city determined she was an unfit mother. She was trying to turn her life around and regain custody of 11 year old Harry when she was brutally murdered. Lowe "knew" a number of police officers and men in high places, and it is obvious that there was a cover-up. With his free time, Harry decides to try and solve this 33 year old case. This is not always easy as some of the key players are dead and some have disappeared. Also, he has to do it without a gun or a badge, which makes the situation even more dangerous and also makes witnesses more reluctant to talk. As with all Connelly books, The Lost Coyote will keep you twisting until the end and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.
Connelly is an incredible writer with a keen eye. When Bosch discovers one of the original detectives that investigated his mother's death, he muses "Something about the old case was like a pebble in his shoe. He had worked it over to the side where it didn't hurt when he walked. But it was still there. Bosch had to make him want to take it out." I also stumbled upon Connelly's website which enhanced the book even more with the many photos included that tie in with each book. His books have enticed me to think about a trip to LA--something that never appealed to me before.
I'm hooked enough on Connelly and Bosch that I have already started the next book, Trunk Music. I'm not going to stop until I'm done them all.
on August 20, 2004
Another wonderful book by Connelly. This one goes straight for Harry's heart. Everything in his life broken (yes, even more broken than usual) and he goes straight into what he calls in Concrete Blonde the "dark heart." Harry finally begins to solve the murder of his mother (again, I could not help but think of James Ellroy's real life struggles) and his own guilt. Some of the twists here are indeed shocking--Pounds for example, but again Irving surpises and we meet some new stars--Russell, Jazz, and even a decent IAD cop. When the story threatens to go off the tracks, connelly brings it back and adds a final surprise just at the end. This guy is SO good.
on May 14, 2016
As a middle aged, third generation Angelino, who is a private investigator, once worked at a newspaper, was married to a cop and worked with several retired cops & FBI there are several things I like about this series.
I love that this man knows, understands and good and bad, loves our city and really LA is more than the city itself, it is an area, a very large area. I don’t find this is often the case with most fiction books I have read that take place here.
He is pretty accurate with police procedure, investigation, newspapers, the history of LA, how police are, the politics and how it feels to investigate. In this book little things thrown in like the huge bonus the contractor received for getting the 10 open ahead of schedule and the octopus in San Pedro killing itself are true and give a feeling of authenticity. Although there were things that did not make sense and I questioned I can’t help but love Bosch. I am reading this series in order and I am waiting to see if he brings up less known things about LAPD and expands the areas he works in.