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The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly

The Last Coyote (1995)

by Michael Connelly

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harry Bosch (4)

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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
The basics: When LAPD detective Harry Bosch is placed on leave for hitting his lieutenant, he takes the time off work as his opportunity to try to solve the murder of his mother, which happened when he was eleven.

My thoughts: It's no secret I've been loving (and quickly devouring) Michael Connelly's mysteries the past few months. After The Concrete Blonde revisited the most infamous case of Bosch's career, The Lost Coyote tackles the most infamous case of Bosch's life: the murder of his prostitute mother. Taken together, these two novels could easily serve as an ending of sorts for this series; instead, Connelly uses them as a end and a beginning.

It's not an uncommon trope to have an unsolved case in a detective's personal life (in any media.) It was a pleasant surprise to see this case be the focus of an entire novel, and Connelly masterfully uses it to dig even deeper into Bosch.

The verdict: In many ways, this novel could almost serve as the end of a series, as Bosch digs deep into his history and his mother's secrets. It's both a gripping mystery and an incredibly satisfying conclusion to a mystery that began with this series. Even more than usual, I can't wait to see what Connelly does with Bosch next. ( )
  nomadreader | Apr 5, 2014 |
I could not put it down. Another fantastic Harry Bosch novel in which Harry tracks down his mother's killer. I was guessing a different outcome every other page and did not see the ending coming until it slapped me in the face. ( )
  scartertn | Nov 6, 2013 |
After being on the cusp of mental breakdown for years, Bosch has finally lost it. After comparatively minor provocation (but tangentially related to his mother), Bosch put his superior's head through a glass wall. Forced onto involuntary leave, he begins to look into the crime that has haunted him since childhood: his mother's murder. This excruciatingly painful and personal case leads Bosch into the darkness of the past and causes him to cross more lines than ever before. It's a powerful, agonizing, and gripping story, and I couldn't put it down until I reached the last page.

However, I was left with troubling doubts about the series. Maybe I read it is just that any book was bound to be a letdown after The Concrete Blonde. Much of the plot of Last Coyote centers around Bosch's explosive and unrestrained temper, but to me, this characterization seemed contradictory. Bosch seemed to always be burning with inner anger and pain, but always under tight control. His childhood memory of being pulled out of the swimming pool to be informed of his mother's death exemplified his general demeanour. Hearing the news, he dove deep into the dark waters, letting the depths swallow his screams and the water hide his tears. This is the guy who, in the last book, sat calmly, his face a mask, as he was accused of murder and scheming and called a monster. Bosch's previous actions made him seem someone who controlled and used his pent-up anger, releasing it in calculated bursts. But according to this story, he's had a "problem" with his "unrestrained temper" this whole time.

Isolation and loss are major themes of this story. However, this sudden isolation felt scripted and unnatural to me. The desertion of Bosch's love interest, Sylvia, is essentially unexplained--except it is thematically convenient. I feel Connelly has a pattern of treating women as plot devices rather than characters: in each book, a female character is introduced to provide reactions and explication in accordance to the story's theme. This female is then discarded between books, obviating any necessity of any female character development. One of the series' major themes is Bosch's repudiation of the way society treats outcasts and prostitutes. It is therefore rather ironic that Connelly exploits his female characters to develop these themes and disposes of them as soon as they are no longer useful.

I found Bosch a problematic protagonist in this book. He is definitely a rounded and empathetic antihero: deeply driven, with a problematic ethical code and a tendency to make terrible mistakes that have drastic consequences. This book adds new facets to his character by exploring the past he has repressed. But it hit me that he hasn't grown as a character; he's regressed. I'm tired of his apparent desire to alienate everyone around him and troubled and repulsed by his willingness to let ends justify means. This was a hard book to read, not least because so much of Bosch's pain, so much of his isolation, is due his own self-destructive behaviour. Tangentially, the way this book turned all the symbolism and metaphor into straightforward statements from a psychologist made the conclusions feel forced and superficial to me. I loved the relationship developing between Bosch and Irving, but I was irritated by Bosch's antagonism towards a man who has repeatedly stuck his neck out for Bosch. The two characters act as foils: while Bosch rampages towards his own goals and ignores the damage his actions inflict on others, Irving is the voice of practicality and law: a bureaucrat who cynically weighs the cost of his choices. Bosch repeatedly declares that his actions in pursuit of justice for the dead are "right," despite any illegality or cost to innocents. I was left with the sense that, despite grief at the consequence of his actions, Bosch would not rethink his path. It is not just that Bosch doesn't trust the system; he believes that the rules do not apply to him. Despite the opportunities this book provided for self-evaluation, I was left with an unsatisfying sense that Bosch was confirmed in his belief that he had the right to act as judge, jury, and executioner in the pursuit of his own ideal of justice. Perhaps as the series continues, he will begin to reconsider his actions, but I think I'll wait a bit to find out. ( )
  page.fault | Sep 21, 2013 |
Harry was still great, but I don't know who was Connelly's consultant for background on psychotherapy, but this therapist was REALLY bad. I winced every time she opened her mouth. In addition, I can't imagine any large police department using the same person to be both the therapist and one who makes the recommendation whether or not he can go back to work. ( )
  afinch11 | Aug 21, 2013 |
I found this disappointing. It's a hackneyed story, with obvious writing, from hammered-in metaphors and similes, to psychological cliches, to characters who are more wooden than I expect from this series. I'm hoping Connelly gets back on firmer ground with the next installments, because he's usually been much surer and less hokey. ( )
  Laura400 | Jul 6, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Connellyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pinchera, FrancescaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446619078, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:46 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Taking a hard look at his life after a streak of bad luck, LAPD detective Harry Bosch decides to tackle the unsolved decades-old murder of his mother and uncovers a devastating truth.

» see all 8 descriptions

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