The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Harry Bosch is retired from his days as a detective with the LAPD, but certainly not from his days investigating crime. Bosch is working for himself, as a private investigator on a referrals only basis, and he's also a reservist with a small police department with a limited budget in San Fernando Valley. When Bosch gets word that a new client, Whitney Vance, wants to hire him, he can't help but be intrigued. Vance is a billionaire and heir to a fortune via his family's company, Advance Engineering. The aging man wants Bosch to track down a supposed heir: when Vance was in college, he had a fling with a young Mexican woman, and believes she had a child. If so, somewhere out there could be a heir to Vance's vast fortune (besides his eager, greedy board). Vance swears Bosch to secrecy, as no one associated with Advance Engineering and the board would be too keen to hear about someone standing in the way of their potential fortune. Meanwhile, in his work at the police department, Bosch is helping his colleagues track down a serial rapist. The suspect seems to be getting more and more bold; can they stop him before he strikes again?
Picking up a Harry Bosch book is always like coming home again, and this one was no exception. Bosch is a well-loved, nuanced, and wonderful character. He is complex and well-written, and I will forever be saddened when Connelly stops writing about him, or Bosch decides to stop investigating crime. I sincerely love him dearly. This novel is Bosch and Connelly at their best: a well-plotted mystery novel backed by Bosch's backstory and ruminating. Bosch is amusing, stubborn, and familiar, and he's also wonderful at his job.
Connelly does an excellent job of telling the tale with Bosch's two disparate cases (Vance and the Screen Cutter rapist); neither seem to overshadow the other, and you don't get confused with both threads going on simultaneously. Both are interesting cases, and Bosch is torn finding time to devote to each, much as the reader is. The story features appearances from Bosch's daughter and Mickey Haller (Bosch's half-brother, and a key character in the Lincoln Lawyer series), which is always fun, too. I was very intrigued by both of Bosch's cases, and Connelly kept me guessing until the end. I find it amazing that he's managed to keep Bosch so relevant and in the game all this time, but I suppose that's a testament to Bosch's skill (and Connelly's).
Overall, this isn't some amazing beyond words mystery, but it's just so well-done, with its dual cases, and features such a wonderful character, that I really loved it. If you haven't read any of Connelly's books, I highly recommend them. I started at the beginning with the Bosch series and certainly didn't regret it. But you could always start with this one, too. 4.5 stars
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