Some mystery writers have trouble maintaining a series. After a few books, the plots seem repetitive, the characters stale, and the writing a bit dull. Michael Connelly is not one of those writers. Every book he turns out continues the story of Harry Bosch or, in some cases, Harry’s half brother, Mickey Haller. In The Wrong Side of Goodbye, Harry takes center stage with Mickey once again playing a supporting role.
After settling his suit for wrongful termination against the Los Angeles Police Department, Bosch is working part-time for the San Fernando Police Department. While some might see that as a demotion, the arrangement suits Bosch. Although he’s not paid, Bosch is financially secure, thanks to the lawsuit settlement money. Working for a police department, albeit a smaller one, allows him to use his skills and keep his hand in. The schedule also gives him time to visit his daughter, Maddie, now in college, and to take on other jobs.
John Creighton, formerly of the L.A.P.D. who now works for Trident Security, presents Bosch with a new private case. Whitney Vance, 85, owner of Advance Engineering, never married and has no heirs – that he knows about. But when he was a young man, he was in love with a Mexican woman and she became pregnant. Vance wanted to marry her, but his father wouldn’t allow it. The woman disappeared and after all these years, Vance wants Bosch to find the woman and possibly his son or daughter. Because there’s so much at stake, namely a board of directors that stands to profit if no heir is found, Bosch is sworn to secrecy, not even allowed to share information with Creighton
Meanwhile, Bosch and his sometime partner, Bella Lourdes, continue to work on a serial rapist case, the assailant dubbed the Screen Cutter, because that’s how he gains access to the women’s apartments. The thorn in Bosch’s side is Capt. Trevino, who isn’t pleased about the latest addition to his squad. Because he isn’t allowed to work on his private cases while at the police department, Bosch has to be careful about what he accesses from the office computers, particularly when Trevino is around.
Bosch must multi-task to keep moving ahead on both fronts. As he gets closer to locating an heir, the stakes get higher. And when a critical mistake is made in the Screen Cutter case, one of Bosch’s colleagues is placed in danger.
Some mysteries are plot driven, others character driven. Connelly manages to construct intricate plots while also creating believable characters that evolve with every outing.
We can’t wait for the next one.
Top photo of the San Fernando Valley by Bigstock
The Wrong Side of Goodbye