The Last Coyote (Harry Bosch #4), by Michael Connelly

The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Sartre to Connelly: Last year, at a meeting, a colleague told me she had found my website and mentioned how diverse my reading was. I guess she was right. (Hi, Barbara!)

I came from an exhausting read and needed something to just plain enjoy, to read-wallow in, and to indulge in – and “The Last Coyote” was pretty much the perfect book for that.

Harry, on leave for attacking his superior, Pounds, makes it his mission to finally solve his mother’s murder. Most of the people from back then, the 60s, are dead and/or unwilling to talk. The rest are still among the high-and-mighty and Bosch doesn’t play nice with the latter kind of person.

Harry also attends mandatory counselling sessions with a therapist. I really liked this part of the narration on many levels: In 1997, getting professional help and allowing others to help was still not entirely normalised. Maybe not quite stigmatised anymore, people, especially men, wouldn’t (in general) talk about such topics openly.

Not only is this therapy positively depicted here, but the old stigma is addressed in constructive ways. It also gives us more of Bosch’s personal background, which I immensely enjoyed because Bosch is a complex character.

»“These stories, Harry,” she finally said, “these stories that you tell are heartbreaking in their own way. It makes me see the boy who became the man. It makes me see the depth of the hole left by your mother’s death. You know, you would have a lot to blame her for and no one would blame you for doing it.”«

He’s gloriously imperfect and broken but instead of simply going into denial which is Harry’s first instinctive reaction, he opens up. He makes the decision to work on himself and it showed.

I really liked the psychologist as well: A very down-to-earth person who takes Harry very seriously and who is very transparent for him as well.

»You’re not understanding what I’m saying. I don’t want any guilty person to get away, especially with murder. But what I am talking about here is you. You are my only concern here.«

During his investigation, Harry meets a woman, of course, in whom he finds both a lover and his match…

»“Something tells me it’s a good story.”
“What’s that?”
“Whatever it is you’re doing. If you ever feel like telling it, the number’s in the paper. But you already know that.”
Bosch nodded. He was speechless. He stepped through the door and closed it behind him.

I grinned broadly over their interactions as I liked pretty much everything about those two.

»“You want to come home with me, Bosch?”
Now he hesitated. Not because there was any deliberation in his answer. But he wanted her to have the chance to withdraw it in case she had spoken too quickly. After a moment of silence from her he smiled and nodded.
“Yes, I would like that.”

Of course, Bosch is Bosch and, thus, not everything is as consensual as the previous quotation implies…

»IN THE MORNING Bosch awoke first. He took a shower and borrowed Jasmine’s toothbrush without asking.«


As always, this novel was wonderfully written: very smooth, readable, intelligent prose that is greatly structured in every possible way. I became so immersed in the story, I didn’t even get to think “just one more page!”. I just read on, ignoring everything else.

The mystery itself is thrilling and engaging but for me at least, it’s the characters who really make or break a story, not just the twists (which are there and done well!) or the suspense (definitely there!).

Everything in this novel “just works” extremely well. Within and without its genre, it stands tall and proud among its bookish siblings.

Five stars out of five.

»There was one story after the traffic report that caught his attention. An octopus on display at a city aquarium in San Pedro had apparently killed itself by pulling a water circulation tube out of its tank fitting with one of its tentacles. The tank emptied and the octopus died. Environmental groups were calling it suicide, a desperate protest by the octopus against its captivity. Only in L.A., Bosch thought as he turned the radio off. A place so desperate even the marine life was killing itself.«

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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