The fourth Harry Bosch novel finds the L.A.P.D. homicide detective depressed and in a world of trouble. In a fit of anger, he pushed his boss's head through a window and has been suspended from the force. His badge and gun are gone and he's forced to undergo counseling if he has any hope of getting his job back. To make matters worse, the woman he's been involved with recently has left him, and his house has been badly damaged in an earthquake. The building inspector has condemned the house.
Angry and depressed on several fronts, Harry is using some of his free time to try to make repairs to the house and save it from destruction. He also decides to investigate a very cold case--the murder years earlier of his own mother, who was working as a prostitute. Her death was the turning point of Harry's life. He knew his mother loved him but had never met his father. As a young boy, he was thus condemned to a life in an orphanage and a series of foster homes until he could finally escape into the Army.
Harry goes to the department archives and pulls the material relating to his mother's case. In and around his visits to the police psychologist who is assigned to work with him, he begins digging into the case and before long has stirred up a veritable hornets' nest.
This is another gripping story in the Bosch saga, one that goes a long way in explaining how Harry turned in to the man he has become. One would think that a thirty-year-old case would be too cold ever to clear, and it's fun to watch the inventive approaches that Bosch takes as he attempts to solve the crime.
If I have a complaint about this book and about the character, it is that Bosh sometimes seems to go deliberately out of his way to insult or anger people when there's no good reason to do so. Sometimes these are people who are actually trying to help him, but Harry treats them like crap, which is pretty much the same way he treats everyone. I understand that Connelly is trying to create a hard, dark character here--a loner with a chip on his shoulder who is reminiscent of the last coyote--but he may overdo it just a bit. Sometimes Harry reacts in a way that takes the reader, or at least this one, right out of the story, wondering why in the hell Harry would act that way when there was simply no cause to do so.
It's always fun to watch Bosch give some jerk exactly what he's got coming to him, but it's mystifying when he turns around and does it to someone who clearly doesn't deserve it. Still, this is a relatively small complaint and on the whole, I really enjoyed reading this book again.