Book Review: The Last Coyote

How does it feel to be in conflict with oneself? The life when it's on the edge; the time when you feel lonely and hapless at your own miserable position. But what if, to add fuel to the fire, certain hidden truths are to be pursued and if revealed could have grave implications where you end up losing more than you bargained for? Yeah, sort of a Pyrrhic victory. Touching upon such an aspect, Michael Connelly's fourth installment in the LAPD Detective Harry Bosch series, The Last Coyote, is one of the best mystery thrillers I have read so far.

The opening could never have been so ominous and bleak. Harry Bosch, the LAPD detective for the Hollywood division, has been put on involuntary stress leave after attacking his commanding officer, Lt. Pounds. His girlfriend for almost an year, Sylvia Moore, has left him for good and his home has been battered following an earthquake. He is also forced to take a psychiatric evaluation, which if he doesn't clear may cost his job forever.

Reluctant at first, the sessions with Dr. Carmen Hinojos later turn out to be therapeutic for Bosch as he opens a cold case involving the death of a prostitute way back in 1961, who happens to be his own mother. When Bosch begins to poke around, top LA politicos are rattled and it becomes clear that they very much want to keep the secret buried. Will Bosch really get to know the circumstances behind his mother's death? Will the truth alter his life? Read the book to find the answers.

In the starting chapter, when Dr. Hinojos prods Bosch on his misbehavior with Lt. Pounds, he talks about an unspoken thumb rule - Everybody counts or nobody counts. Having betrayed himself in this regard, his guilty conscience at not being able to pursue the truth about his mother (whose death was instrumental in him joining the police) has been brought out well.

Connelly has once again delivered a moralistic thriller that takes a close-up view of Bosch - the dedicated smart cop who never lets up on his cases till the end, even if it means losing everything he had held onto. The book too is relentless in a similar way, which once you begin, is extremely difficult to put down. Armed with enough twists, a set of well-etched characters and a recurring analogy to a lone coyote (which Bosch perceives as himself caught in a place where his existence is threatened as with the animal entangled in midst of urbanization), TLC is a riveting thrill ride that keeps the reader glued till the very last page.

In the end, when Bosch confronts the truth, he acknowledges the damage and sets out to heal himself and so are we, who root for him to win despite all odds. The Last Coyote is a book you won't be disappointed!

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