The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly. Little, Brown. 400 pages. Hardcover $29.00.
Harry Bosch, now an independent private investigator, also has a gig as a reserve officer in the San Fernando Police Department, a tiny outfit compared to the huge LAPD where Harry had worked for thirty years. It’s a part-time, volunteer job with little status, but the badge is real as is access to police databases. Though Harry knows that he shouldn’t use that access – or other government equipment – to further his private eye work, he’s having trouble drawing the line.
Especially since his two cases – one a local serial rapist case, the other a search for a billionaire’s heir – are pulling him in two directions in terms of his time, energy, and sense of responsibility.
Whitney Vance, the mogul, is a very withdrawn fellow. He is concerned about replacing his will just in case there is someone out there whom he fathered. He pays Harry a goodly sum to meet and discuss the assignment, which must be kept secret. Harry’s research uncovers a son, a young man who died during a tour of duty in Vietnam. But is he the lone heir? And how can evidence, DNA and otherwise, be secured that will hold up in court?
When Mr. Vance is found dead, the plot indeed thickens. There seems to be plenty of competition for influencing the dispensation of Vance’s wealth. There are threats. The vultures had been lining up as the tycoon’s age advanced and his health declined.
Harry connects with his half-brother, lawyer Mickey Haller, in a cooperative effort to cover the legal bases of a claim on behalf of an heir. Harry takes great pains to safeguard original documents prepared for the case, and he hides copies in various secure locations.
Just after Vance is found dead, Harry receives a “last will and testament” and other instructions in Vance’s shaky handwriting, along with a special pen that Harry had seen during his meeting with Vance. It seems Vance’s secretary had been charged with mailing this material in case of her boss’s death.
A death that is soon ruled a murder. Now what?
The other case, the Screen Cutter rapes, partners Harry with a lesbian officer, Bella Lourdes, at the San Fernando PD. Here, Harry painstakingly puts together the connecting links joining crimes first thought as isolated. He has been working cold case files, and his scrutiny has led to the discovery of important common denominators such as location and method of entrance.
The case becomes even more complicated with Detective Lourdes is sent to the Public Works Department to enlist the help of a former San Fernando officer named Dockweiler. When Lourdes disappears, others point out that she and Dockweiler have been on bad terms. One more mystery to solve – what happened to Lourdes . . . ?
To read the full review, as it appears in the December 14, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the December 15 Naples and Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte editions, click here: Florida Weekly – The Wrong Side of Goodbye