When the body of high profile black lawyer Howard Elias is found inside one of the cars on Angels Flight, a cable railway in downtown Los Angeles, there's not a detective in the city who wants to touch the case. For Elias specialized in lawsuits alleging police brutality, racism, and corruption, and every LAPD cop is a possible suspect in his killing. Detective Harry Bosch is put in charge. Elias's murder occurred on the eve of a major trial: on behalf of black client, Michael Harris, Elias was to bring a civil case against the LAPD for violent interrogation tactics that had caused his client the partial loss of his hearing.
Harris had been acquitted of the rape and murder of a twelve-year-old girl, but many, including Bosch, believe him guilty. Elias had let it be known that the trial would serve a dual purpose - to target and bring down the guilty cops and to expose the real murderer of the little girl. Post Rodney King, the 1992 riots, and the trial of O.J. Simpson, the City of Angels is living on its nerves. To discover the truth Harry must dig deep in his own backyard - except that it's a minefield of suspicion and hate that could detonate in his face. And as if he didn't have enough on his mind, his happiness with Eleanor Wish looks to be short-lived. Five cards on the felt are pulling her back to a place where Harry cannot follow, back to herself.