LAPD Detective Harry Bosch crosses paths with FBI profiler Terry McCaleb in the most dangerous investigation of their lives.
Harry Bosch is up to his neck in a case that has transfixed all of celebrity-mad Los Angeles: a movie director is charged with murdering an actress during sex, and then staging her death to make it look like a suicide. Bosch is both the arresting officer and the star witness in a trial that has brought the Hollywood media pack out in full-throated frenzy.
Meanwhile, Terry McCaleb is enjoying an idyllic retirement on Catalina Island when a visit from an old colleague brings his former world rushing back. It's a murder, the unreadable kind of murder he specialized in solving back in his FBI days. The investigation has stalled, and the sheriff's office is asking McCaleb to take a quick look at the murder book to see if he turns up something they've missed.
McCaleb's first reading of the crime scene leads him to look for a methodical killer with a taste for rituals and revenge. As his quick look accelerates into a full-sprint investigation, the two crimes - his murdered loner and Bosch's movie director - begin to overlap strangely. With one unsettling revelation after another, they merge, becoming one impossible, terrifying case, involving almost inconceivable calculation. McCaleb believes he has unmasked the most frightening killer ever to cross his sights. But his investigation tangles with Bosch's lines, and the two men find themselves at odds in the most dangerous investigation of their lives.
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When a sheriff's detective shows up on former FBI man Terry McCaleb's Catalina Island doorstep and requests his help in analyzing photographs of a crime scene, McCaleb at first demurs. He's newly married (to Graciela, who herself dragged him from retirement into a case in Blood Work), has a new baby daughter, and is finally strong again after a heart transplant. But once a bloodhound, always a bloodhound. One look at the video of Edward Gunn's trussed and strangled body puts McCaleb back on the investigative trail, hooked by two details: the small statue of an owl that watches over the murder scene and the Latin words "Cave Cave Dus Videt," meaning "Beware, beware, God sees," on the tape binding the victim's mouth.
Gunn was a small-time criminal who had been questioned repeatedly by LAPD Detective Harry Bosch in the unsolved murder of a prostitute, most recently on the night he was killed. McCaleb knows the tense, cranky Bosch (Michael Connelly's series star--see The Black Echo, The Black Ice, et al.) and decides to start by talking to him. But Bosch has time only for a brief chat. He's a prosecution witness in the high-profile trial of David Storey, a film director accused of killing a young actress during rough sex. By chance, however, McCaleb discovers an abstruse but concrete link between the scene of Gunn's murder and Harry Bosch's name:
"This last guy's work is supposedly replete with owls all over the place. I can't pronounce his first name. It's spelled H-I-E-R-O-N-Y-M-U-S. He was Netherlandish, part of the northern renaissance. I guess owls were big up there."Bosch fits McCaleb's profile of the killer, and McCaleb is both thunderstruck and afraid--thunderstruck that a cop he respects might have committed a horrendous murder and afraid that Bosch may just be good enough to get away with it. And when Bosch finds out (via a mysterious leak to tabloid reporter Jack McEvoy, late of Connelly's The Poet) that he's being investigated for murder, he's furious, knowing that Storey's defense attorney may use the information to help get his extravagantly guilty client off scot-free.
McCaleb looked at the paper in front of him. The name she had just spelled seemed familiar to him.
"You forgot his last name. What's his last name?"
"Oh, sorry. It's Bosch. Like the spark plugs."
It's the kind of plot that used to make great Westerns: two old gunslingers circling each other warily, each of them wondering if the other's gone bad. But there's more than one black hat in them thar hills, and Connelly masterfully joins the plot lines in a climax and denouement that will leave readers gasping but satisfied. --Barrie TrinkleFrom the Publisher:
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