After a three-year hiatus from the LAPD, Bosch has been re-hired. He has been transferred to the Open-Unsolved unit and charged with re-examining cold cases. The case that he and partner Kizmin Rider first pick up is the 1988 murder of a 16-year-old girl, Rebecca Verloren. A DNA hit on the gun used to commit the murder has yielded the name of Roland Mackey, a low-life hoodlum and white supremacist. Bosch and Rider pursue their investigation, and discover a tangled mystery including an LAPD cover-up that may or may not involve Bosch's old department nemesis, Deputy Chief Irvin Irving.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Roland Mackey's alibi is that he was being tutored at the time of the Verloren murder. It turns out that his tutor was the murderer.
- Continuity Nod: Bosch and Rider pay a visit to Thelma Kibble, parole officer and character from non-Bosch novel Void Moon. Bosch sees a picture of Void Moon protagonist Cassie Black in Kibble's office and realizes that he met her a year before, in The Narrows.
- Friends with Benefits: Bosch has a night of casual sex with LAPD makeup artist Vicki Landreth.
- Law of Conservation of Detail: A whole chapter has Bosch and Rider tailing Roland Mackey after Mackey leaves work, eventually following Mackey to a stalled car that Mackey has been summoned to tow. Guess what? Something important happens.
- Mugging the Monster: Two homeless men attempt this on Bosch. One of them sees the look in Harry's eyes and backs down before it can end very badly.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Bosch is nauseous after he realizes that his play with the newspaper story led directly to Roland Mackey's death.
- Never One Murder: The mystery deepens when Roland Mackey, Bosch's prime suspect, is run down and killed by someone who wanted to silence him.
- No Name Given: As is tradition for Harry Bosch novels, the chief of police goes unnamed. Even in this novel, when the chief takes a personal interest in Bosch and is responsible for him getting his job back.
- Real Person Cameo: Rick Jackson and Tim Marcia, two real LAPD cops who apparently serve as advisors to Michael Connelly, appear in this book as cops working with Harry Bosch.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The chief of police, who is personally responsible for re-hiring Harry Bosch.
- Shout-Out: Rider says that James Ellroy picked out the crime scene photos that decorate the walls in the Open-Unsolved office.
- Shrine to the Fallen: Rebecca Verloren's mother has left her room untouched, other than dusting, since her daughter's death. This eventually proves crucial to the climax as Bosch discovers a vital clue, a fingerprint, on the floorboards of Rebecca's bed.
- Teacher/Student Romance: One of these, one with a very dark ending, is the solution to the mystery.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Well, three years. But after finding life as a PI unsatisfactory over novels Lost Light and The Narrows, Bosch is back on the job with the LAPD.
- Title Drop: Pratt calls Open-Unsolved "the closers" because their mission is to close old cases.