The last coyote - By Michael Connelly Page 0,1

you. Let’s try to start again. By the way, you can smoke if you’d like.”

“Is that in the file, too?”

“It’s not in the file. It didn’t need to be. It’s your hand, the way you keep bringing it up to your mouth. Have you been trying to quit?”

“No. But it’s a city office. You know the rules.”

It was a thin excuse. He violated that law every day at the Hollywood Station.

“That’s not the rule in here. I don’t want you to think of this as being part of Parker Center or part of the city. That’s the chief reason these offices are away from that. There are no rules like that here.”

“Doesn’t matter where we are. You’re still working for the LAPD.”

“Try to believe that you are away from the Los Angeles Police Department. When you are in here, try to believe that you’re just coming to see a friend. To talk. You can say anything here.”

But he knew she could not be seen as a friend. Never. There was too much at stake here. Just the same, he nodded once to please her.

“That’s not very convincing.”

He hiked his shoulders as if to say it was the best he could do, and it was.

“By the way, if you want I could hypnotize you, get rid of your dependency on nicotine.”

“If I wanted to quit, I could do it. People are either smokers or they’re not. I am.”

“Yes. It’s perhaps the most obvious symptom of a self-destructive nature.”

“Excuse me, am I on leave because I smoke? Is that what this is about?”

“I think you know what it’s about.”

He said nothing else, remembering his decision to say as little as possible.

“Well, let’s continue then,” she said. “You’ve been on leave… let’s see, Tuesday a week?”


“What have you been doing with your time?”

“Filling out FEMA forms mostly.”


“My house was red-tagged.”

“The earthquake was three months ago. Why have you waited?”

“I’ve been busy. I’ve been working.”

“I see. Did you have insurance?”

“Don’t say ‘I see,’ because you don’t. You couldn’t possibly see things the way I do. The answer is no, no insurance. Like most everybody else, I was living in denial. Isn’t that what you people call it? I bet you had insurance.”

“Yes. How bad was your house hit?”

“Depends on who you ask. The city inspectors say it’s totaled and I can’t even go inside. I think it’s fine. Just needs some work. They know me by name at Home Depot now. And I’ve had contractors do some of it. It’ll be done soon and I’ll appeal the red tag. I’ve got a lawyer.”

“You’re living there still?”

He nodded.

“Now that’s denial, Detective Bosch. I don’t think you should be doing that.”

“I don’t think you have any say about what I do outside my job with the department.”

She raised her hands in a hands-off manner.

“Well, while I don’t condone it, I suppose it serves its purpose. I think it’s good that you have something to keep you occupied. Though I’d much rather it be a sport or a hobby or maybe plans for a trip out of town, I think it’s important to keep busy, to keep your mind off the incident.”

Bosch smirked.


“I don’t know. Everybody keeps calling it the incident. It kind’ve reminds me of how people called it the Vietnam conflict, not the war.”

“Then what would you call what happened?”

“I don’t know. But incident…it sounds like…I don’t know. Antiseptic. Listen, Doctor, let’s go back a minute. I don’t want to take a trip out of town, okay? My job is in homicide. It’s what I do. And I’d really like to get back to it. I might be able to do some good, you know.”

“If the department lets you.”

“If you do. You know it’s going to be up to you.”

“Perhaps. Do you notice that you speak of your job as if it’s a mission of some sort?”

“That’s about right. Like the Holy Grail.”

He said it with sarcasm. This was getting intolerable and it was only the first session.

“Is it? Do you believe your mission in life is to solve murders, to put bad people in jail?”

He used the shoulder hike to say he didn’t know. He stood up and walked to the window and looked down on Hill Street. The sidewalks were crowded with pedestrians. Every time he had been down here they were crowded. He noticed a couple of Caucasian women walking along. They stood out in the sea of Asian faces like raisins in rice. They passed the window of a Chinese butcher