It's Christmas night and L.A.P.D homicide detective Harry Bosch is eating his Christmas dinner alone at home, with only a jazz CD and the police scanner to keep him company. He doesn't mind spending the holiday alone; in fact, he prefers it. Harry is a loner who identifies with a solitary coyote that hangs out near his house.
Harry's evening is interrupted when he picks up chatter on the police scanner regarding a suspicious death in a down-at-the-heels Hollywood motel. It's clear from the scanner that department brass are assembling at the scene and Harry can't help but wonder what in the hell is going on. He's on call and should have been the first one notified of the death. He calls in only to discover that the brass are taking control of the situation and that he is supposed to stay well away.
Harry goes to the scene and discovers that the body is that of a missing narcotics cop, Calexico Moore, who may have gone over to the dark side. It appears that Moore has committed suicide in the bathroom of the seedy motel. It's also clear that the brass want to close the case ASAP, sweep the bad news under the rug, and limit any damage to the department's reputation.
Harry is specifically ordered to stay well away from the case, and shortly thereafter his boss assigns him a pile of homicide cases that belonged to a useless detective who has suddenly quit the department. Harry's boss is anxious to see an improvement in the unit's clearance rate by the end of the year, which is only a week away. He begs Harry to pick through the cases in an effort to solve the easiest one or two of them in time to sweeten up the stat sheet.
Reluctantly, Harry begins digging into the cases only to find one homicide that crosses the trail of Calexico Moore, the dead narcotics detective. Even though he's been instructed to stay clear of the Moore case, Harry begins digging into the ties that seem to link the two cases. In the process, he will stumble into a web of intrigue and will also mightily antagonize his superiors. But Harry Bosch serves justice first, and has absolutely no time or respect for a bunch of self-serving bureaucrats.
Harry will follow the trail wherever it leads no matter the dangers to his career or to his personal safety. It's a great ride with lots of surprising twists and turns, a novel that will appeal to a large number of crime fiction fans and that will also further establish the reputation of this series as the best police procedural series of the modern era.