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.