Chasing the Dime
Goodreads ratings
3.97 / 5

"Chasing the Dime" Summary

By Michael Connelly

mystery | 371 pages | Published in 2002

The messages waiting for Henry Pierce when he plugs in his new telephone clearly aren't intended for him: "Where is Lilly? This is her number. It's on the site."Pierce has just been thrown out by his girlfriend and moved into a new apartment, and the company he founded is headed into the most critical phase of fund-raising. He's been "chasing the dime" - doing all it takes to come out first in a technological battle whose victor will make millions. But he can't get the messages for a woman named Lilly out of his head:"Uh, yes, hello, my name is Frank. I'm at the Peninsula. Room six twelve. So give me a call when you can."Something is wrong. Pierce probes, investigates, and then tumbles through a hole, leaving behind a life driven by work to track down and help a woman he has never met.The world he enters is one of escorts, websites, sex, and secret passions. The beautiful Lilly is an object of desire to thousands. To Pierce, she becomes the key that might fix a broken life. But in pursuing Lilly, Pierce has entered a landscape where his success and expertise mean nothing. He is a mark, an outsider, and soon he is also the victim of astonishing violence, the chief suspect in a murder case, and fighting for his life against forces he can barely discern.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A scientist becomes entangled in a dangerous web of intrigue and mystery when he accidentally receives a new phone number and becomes obsessed with finding its previous owner.


In "Chasing the Dime" by Michael Connelly, readers are taken on a thrilling journey through the mysterious world of technology and its dark side. This gripping novel combines elements of suspense, mystery, and technological intrigue to create a fast-paced and thought-provoking story. With its well-crafted plot, complex characters, and insightful exploration of the human condition, "Chasing the Dime" is a must-read for fans of crime fiction and techno-thrillers.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in Los Angeles, where Henry Pierce, a brilliant scientist and entrepreneur, finds himself caught up in a web of deception and danger. After a painful breakup, Henry moves into a new apartment and begins receiving calls for a woman named Lilly. Curiosity gets the better of him, and he decides to investigate further. His search for Lilly leads him to a mysterious online escort service called "The Pink Pagoda."

As he delves deeper into the online world, Henry becomes obsessed with finding Lilly and uncovering the truth behind the Pink Pagoda. Along the way, he encounters a cast of intriguing characters, including a hacker named Miriam, a detective named Frank, and various unsavory individuals connected to the escort service. As the stakes rise and the danger becomes more palpable, Henry finds himself in a race against time to save Lilly and protect his own life.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Henry PierceA brilliant scientist and entrepreneur, driven by his curiosity and a desire for the truth.
LillyA woman who mysteriously disappears, drawing Henry into a dangerous world.
MiriamA talented hacker who becomes an unexpected ally to Henry.
FrankA detective who helps Henry navigate the criminal underworld.

Summary of Story Points

Chapters 1-5: The Discovery

Henry moves into a new apartment and begins receiving calls for a woman named Lilly. Intrigued, he starts investigating and discovers the Pink Pagoda, an online escort service. He becomes consumed with finding Lilly and figuring out what happened to her.

Chapters 6-10: Unraveling the Mystery

Henry enlists the help of Miriam, a skilled hacker, to trace the calls and dig deeper into the Pink Pagoda. They uncover a web of deceit, with connections to organized crime and corrupt officials. As they get closer to the truth, their lives are put in danger.

Chapters 11-15: The Race Against Time

Henry and Miriam discover that Lilly was involved in a dangerous game and may be in grave danger. They race against time to find her and bring down the criminal enterprise behind the Pink Pagoda. Along the way, they face numerous obstacles and unexpected twists.

Chapters 16-20: The Final Showdown

Henry and Miriam confront the mastermind behind the Pink Pagoda and engage in a deadly battle to save Lilly and expose the truth. Lives are lost, secrets are revealed, and the true extent of the darkness lurking in the online world is exposed.

Main Events

  • Henry moves into a new apartment and starts receiving calls for a woman named Lilly.
  • Henry discovers the Pink Pagoda, an online escort service, and becomes obsessed with finding Lilly.
  • Henry enlists the help of Miriam, a hacker, to trace the calls and uncover the truth.
  • They uncover a web of deceit and corruption connected to the Pink Pagoda.
  • Henry and Miriam race against time to save Lilly and bring down the criminal enterprise.
  • They confront the mastermind behind the Pink Pagoda in a final showdown.

Themes and Insights

"Chasing the Dime" explores several themes and provides insights into the human condition. The novel delves into the dark side of technology, highlighting the potential dangers and ethical implications of our increasingly interconnected world. It raises questions about privacy, online identity, and the blurred lines between the virtual and physical realms.

The story also touches on themes of obsession and the consequences of letting curiosity drive our actions. Henry's relentless pursuit of the truth leads him down a dangerous path, putting his own life at risk and forcing him to question his own motivations.

Additionally, "Chasing the Dime" explores themes of trust, betrayal, and the lengths people will go to protect their secrets. It examines the corrupting influence of power and the realization that sometimes the people we trust the most are not who they seem.

Reader's Takeaway

"Chasing the Dime" is a gripping and thought-provoking read that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Connelly's skillful storytelling and meticulous attention to detail create a vivid and immersive world that is both thrilling and unsettling. The novel raises important questions about technology's impact on our lives and serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers that can lurk behind our screens.

As readers follow Henry's journey, they are reminded of the need for caution and critical thinking in our increasingly digitized world. "Chasing the Dime" serves as a reminder to question the information we encounter and the motivations of those we interact with, whether in the virtual or physical realm.


"Chasing the Dime" is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that seamlessly blends elements of crime fiction and techno-thrillers. Michael Connelly's masterful storytelling and compelling characters make this book a must-read for fans of the genre. Through its exploration of technology, obsession, and the dark side of human nature, "Chasing the Dime" offers readers a thrilling and insightful experience that will leave them questioning the world around them.

Chasing the Dime FAQ

  1. What is 'Chasing the Dime' about?

    'Chasing the Dime' is a thriller novel by Michael Connelly that follows the story of a scientist named Henry Pierce who becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of a wrong number he receives on his new phone.

  2. Who is the author of 'Chasing the Dime'?

    The author of 'Chasing the Dime' is Michael Connelly, a renowned American author known for his crime fiction novels featuring the popular character Detective Harry Bosch.

  3. Is 'Chasing the Dime' part of a series?

    No, 'Chasing the Dime' is a standalone novel by Michael Connelly and is not part of any series.

  4. What genre does 'Chasing the Dime' belong to?

    'Chasing the Dime' falls under the genre of thriller fiction. It combines elements of suspense, mystery, and fast-paced storytelling.

  5. Is 'Chasing the Dime' suitable for young readers?

    As 'Chasing the Dime' is a thriller novel with mature themes and some violent scenes, it is recommended for adult readers.

  6. When was 'Chasing the Dime' published?

    'Chasing the Dime' was published in 2002.

  7. Are there any movie adaptations of 'Chasing the Dime'?

    As of now, there are no movie adaptations of 'Chasing the Dime'.

  8. Where can I purchase 'Chasing the Dime'?

    'Chasing the Dime' is available for purchase at most major book retailers, both online and in physical stores. It can also be found in libraries and as an e-book.

  9. Is 'Chasing the Dime' a page-turner?

    Yes, 'Chasing the Dime' is a gripping and suspenseful novel that keeps readers engaged and eager to unravel the mysteries presented.

  10. Does 'Chasing the Dime' have any memorable characters?

    Yes, 'Chasing the Dime' features well-developed characters like Henry Pierce, the protagonist, and various supporting characters who contribute to the overall suspense and intrigue of the story.