If you haven't read the books that precede this one in the Harry Bosch series, I strongly urge you to stop reading this review and any others about The Last Coyote and go back to The Black Echo and work forward in order the books were published. You'll miss a lot of the character development that makes this such a special book unless you've seen a lot of Harry at work before he takes on this case while suspended for stress leave.
As this book opens, Harry is receiving "counseling" after attacking his superior officer. Harry finds this to be like listening to fingernail scratches on a chalkboard. He's also having house problems: His stilt-based house with a great view has been condemned by the city after the big earthquake. The earthquake also shook his girlfriend so much that she left town.
Frustrated that he can't work, Harry decides to take a look at the file on his mother's death. From there, he begins to work the case. It's a tremendous opportunity for readers to understand Harry's youthful years much better. As you might expect, not all things are as they seemed at the time of the murder. Uncovering the truth is difficult and painful. But in the end, justice is done.
One of the beauties of this book is how much it shows about a range of emotions and motives that people employ to look out for themselves. In a way, Harry is an aficionado of depravity, it's part of being human. It's just that he has to stop it when it goes too far . . . or arrange for justice when the eggs cannot be unscrambled any more.
I don't recall a more bittersweet story in this series. You'll be thinking at the end: What if?