LAPD cop Harry Bosch must juggle two cases, a murder from 1989 and an alleged suicide of a councilman's son and what he discovers will shake up the city a well as the police department. Detective Harry Bosch liked his assignment to the Open-Unsolved Unit because he didn't have to rush off to crime scenes anymore and he enjoyed the look on a criminals face when he busted him after he thought he got away with a crime. Plus since his ex-wife died, he is raising his fifteen year old daughter and doesn't like to be gone. With only a few years left before retirement, this unit handled all the unsolved cases and Harry loved it. He and his partner Chu were assigned a case which involved an unsolved murder from 1989, a young girl raped and killed with no suspects except for an eight-year old boy. Their Lieutenant wanted Harry on the case because she thought their might have been a mix up in the lab from previous officers handling the case. Harry needed to find out what happened in the lab and keep it quiet.
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Harry and Chu start their investigation by interviewing the two detectives that had the case previously. They swear there was no mix-up in the lab and hand over all their evidence they had worked with. Harry reads the report that stated the nineteen year of Lilly Price had been snatched off the street in Venice and her body was found the next day, naked on the rocks by the beach. The police found a blood smear on her neck from being strangled. The blood matched that of an eight year old boy. Harry and Chu set out to find the guy who would now be an adult. But not before the Lieutenant calls Harry in for an important emergency meeting.
Seems the son of Councilman Irving had either killed himself or was thrown from a balcony on the seventh floor of the Chateau Marmont hotel. The councilman had requested only Harry investigate the case in spite of their bad work relationship in the past. Harry had a feeling the chief of police had made some sort of deal with Irving but he had to take the case, he knew he would figure it out. He and Chu head over to the hotel to see the scene of the 'crime'. The body is smashed on the ground - face down. Harry checks out the room while Chu checks out the hotel guests and surrounding homes. Harry thinks it looks like murder but doesn't want to tell the councilman until he has a suspect. Which leads him to the dead man's workplace. There Harry finds that the son, George, is doing some unethical deals for a cab company to help them get the city contract. It also involved and ex-cop who was busting the drivers on DUI's and many traffic violations. This would make the cab company look bad to the city council and therefore award the contract to the cab company George wanted. Harry interviews George's wife and finds she was going to file for divorce.
In the meantime, Harry and Chu find the now-grown kid from the 1989 case, Clayton Pell, spending part days at a rehab house. There Harry meets his therapist, Dr. Stone. Clayton slowly reveals some of his childhood abuse and crimes. He himself abused small children and ended up doing a short term in prison where he was castrated by the inmates when they found out what he did. Harry tells him they have his blood from the crime but figured out it was transferred to the victim by a belt they figured out was used on Clayton when he was a boy. Clayton tells them about the man his mother and he lived with when he was 8. When ever his mother was gone prostituting he would beat Clayton and sexually abuse him. Clayton didn't know if he was dead or alive and could only remember that his name was Chill.
The councilman and chief of police are getting tired of waiting for Harry's results on the alleged suicide. They want a suspect arrested. They want to put the case 'to bed'. But Harry isn't satisfied yet that he has a suspect. The ex-cop he interviewed admitted he went to see George in his hotel room the night he died. He admitted he did the cop choke hold on him and knocked him out but he insists he was alive when he left. He even had a solid alibi. As Harry's investigation goes deeper, he finds more corruption between the councilman and his son. He meets again with the widow and her son. More things fall into place. Harry also finds out that there is a leak from within his department to the press on this case. He does some checking on the reporter and finds she is a 'friend' of his partner, Chu. When Harry confronts him he admits it but only because he wanted to have relationship with her. Harry is livid, he tells Chu they will never work together again when their cases are over.
Harry is ready to meet with the Chief and the councilman to reveal his findings. The final findings in the case of George Irving is suicide. It became apparent to Harry that George was distraught over his sons moving out and his wife just telling him that she wanted a divorce. It was all he could handle so he jumped from the balcony at the hotel. Harry also adds the facts that the councilman and his son were involved in the illicit conduct of the ex-cop and others so they could manipulate the contracts and make money off of it. It also seemed there were some other deals going on but Harry just didn't care anymore.
So he goes back to finding the guy named Chill, thinking he could be behind the murder and abuse case. He takes Clayton to the neighborhood he grew up to see if he could identify his old home. He does and reveals a few more clues to help find Chill. Harry puts Chu on the hunt for background checks on names and locations. They find and address in Los Alamitos of a man that could be Chillton or his father. They go for a visit. A stooped over old man with an oxygen tank answers the door. He claims to be Chilton's father and hasn't had contact with his son for years. Harry does a little investigating in the house, telling the old man it's for his own safety so as not to break any laws. He finds empty oxygen tanks in the upstairs bathroom, empty for years. He also finds suspicious clothes and keys. After putting it all together he figures out that this is not Chilton's father but Chill himself impersonating his dad.
Harry calls him out on it, Chu throws him down and handcuffs him. He admits he is Chill and that he killed his dad and took over his identification so no on would find him. Harry asks him about Clayton and Lily Price. He laughs. They were only a few he admits and gives Harry a key to a room that has so much more. He tells Harry what you see will change your life. Harry and Chu shackle him and throw his couch on top of him so he can't get away while they search the house before calling the other police. They find the van he used to kidnap his victims. They find clothes from his victims, pictures wile he was killing them and videos of the rapes and murders. Just before calling 'it' in, Harry asks him how many are there? Chill takes his shirt off and reveals a tattoo of a graveyard with 37 crosses. They arrest him.
Now Harry had the task of informing Lily Prices' parents that they had the killer of their daughter. And he can tell Clayton that they got the man that molested him as a child. And they had the belt he used to whip Clayton which had left trace blood on Lily's body. Harry invited Dr. Stone to dinner. Just when he thinks it's all over, he gets a call that Clayton didn't show up for his session or at work. Harry finds out Clayton hit a cop and got thrown in jail, the same jail that Chill was in waiting to go to court for arraignment. And it just so happens that they are now on the same bus on the way to court.
Harry calls in the sheriff to contact the bus to pull over. He grabs a cop call from the jail and heads out after the bus. A couple more cars follow him. They find the bus and pull it over just as a commotion breaks out in the back. Clayton has attacked Chill and the inmates are all yelling to kill him. Clayton had taken his chain around his waist and pulled it up and over Chilton's neck, choking him.Harry jumps in there and finally breaks it up. Both men survived and await sentencing.
Harry goes home only to have a visit by his Lieutenant. Harry is convinced that Irving was clean and not trying to hurt the department. The Lieutenant is still trying to cover something up.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really liked the suspense and the twists in each case.
Best scene in story:
I really liked the scene when Harry figures out that Chillton is playing his dad and he finds all the evidence to put him away. He was a sick man!
Opinion about the main character:
I liked Harry because he was determined to find the truth and not be influenced by politic or 'higher' ups on the force.