Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

First Sentence:  They charged from the cover of the elephant grass toward the LZ, five of them swarming the slick on both sides, one among them yelling, “Go! Go! Go!”—as if each man needed to be prodded and reminded that these were the most dangerous seconds of their lives.”
      
Harry Bosch is on leave from the LAPD but has been taken on as a volunteer reserve officer investigating the cold case of a serial rapist for the San Fernando PD.  However, working as a private investigator, Bosch has been hired by an elderly billionaire to find any heirs he may have from when he was a college student.  The man’s company very much wants Harry to fail.
      
It is interesting that we open with a reminder of the terrible cost of war.  Any war.  All wars. 
      
Connelly has such a clear and distinctive voice, part of which is the ever-present sarcastic humour—“You can come back now.” “Good. Any longer and I was going to jump.” She didn’t smile. …”It’s impact-resistant glass,” she said. “It can take the force of a category-five hurricane.” “Good to know,” Bosch said. “And I was only joking.”
     
It’s good that we learn the backstory of Bosch’s situation with the LAPD. One thing one never needs worry about is learning the history and/or backstory of people and places.  Connelly is very good and providing those, often with an interesting perspective—“Working cold cases had made Bosch proficient in time travel.”  However, one does rather wonder what is the normal rate of an officer clearing murder cases.
      
Another of Connelly’s many skills is outlining police procedures, and describing the impact budget reductions has on solving crimes.  This is not only informative but adds a strong element of realism.  Even so, Bosch is a character who likes to do things very much his own way.
      
It is nice to have Bosch’s half-brother, Mickey Haller, brought into the story.  However, there are a lot of coincidences, and the interactions with Bosch’s daughter seemed random and didn’t really add anything to the story.  Another rather irritating factor is the constant relating of driving directions. It is rather as if listing to a GPS.  It doesn't really provide a true sense of place and feels like filler. 
      
The plot is well done.  Connelly balances the two story threads very well.  There are good twists, red herrings, and “ah-ha!” moments.  The buildup of suspense nicely done, as is the exposure of the killer.
      
The Wrong Side of Goodbye” is classic Connelly.  It’s a satisfying read Connelly fans will enjoy.

THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE (Pol Proc-Bosch/Haller-LA-Contemp) – Good
      Connelly, Michael – 19th in series
      Little, Brown and Company – Nov, 2016

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