The Last Detective is the eleventh novel written by Robert Crais, and the ninth to feature private investigator Elvis Cole. The book was published on 18 February 2003.

The novel is notable for an appearance by LAPD detective Harry Bosch on pages 109 and 110:

I said, "Hey."
It took him a moment to place me. A few years ago, his house had been damaged in the big earthquake. I didn't know him then or that he was with LAPD, but not long after I jogged past while he was clearing debris and saw that he had a small rat tattooed on his shoulder. The tat marked him as a tunnel rat in Vietnam. I stopped to give him a hand. Maybe because we had that connection.
He said, "Oh yeah, how ya doin'?"
"I heard you quit."
He frowned at the cigarette, then drew deep before dropping it.
"I did."
"I don't mean the smoking. I heard you left the job."
"That's right. I hadda come around to sign the papers."
It was time to go, but neither of us moved. I wanted to tell him about Abbott and Fields, and how I pretended to be sick after they died because I was scared to go out again. I wanted to tell him that I had not murdered anyone and how the rage in Lucy's eyes scared me and all the other things that I had never been able to talk about because he was older and he had been there and I thought he might understand, but, instead, I looked at the sky.
He said, "Well, stop around some time. We'll have a beer."
"Okay. You, too."
He walked around the side of the building, and then he was gone. I wondered about the silence that he carried, and then I wondered at my own.

Bosch is not specifically named, but he quit the force at the end of City of Bones (which was published the year before the Last Detective), his house in the Hollywood Hills was severely damaged in the Northridge earthquake in January of 1994, and he bears a tattoo of a small rat on his shoulder from his time as a tunnel rat during the Vietnam War" (which played an integral part in his investigation in The Black Echo).

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