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The Wrong Side of Goodbye: A Bosch Novel


The Wrong Side of Goodbye: A Bosch Novel

The back cover of THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE consists of a photograph of author Michael Connelly leaning against a guardrail (on Mulholland Drive perhaps?) and appearing to be deep in thought, with what has to be a relatively tiny portion of the Los Angeles metropolitan area stretching out behind him. Connelly, using his Harry Bosch series as a vehicle, has been exploring the highways and culture of the City of Angels for almost a quarter-century and, like his now iconic character, shows no signs of slowing down. He hasn’t been afraid to change and/or evolve Bosch’s circumstances over the course of the series. It has kept the narrative new and fresh while also preserving the elements that attracted readers to the series to begin with and have kept them coming back.

THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE, Connelly’s newest offering, is a glassed case example of the foregoing. It is a book that contains, even at this stage of Connelly’s career, some of his best plotting and writing to date while bringing changes to Bosch’s life. It opens (after a short but important vignette) with Bosch working at two jobs. Having settled a lawsuit against his former employer, the City of Los Angeles, for a rather princely sum, Bosch doesn’t need to work to make his monthly nut, but he does have some other expenses looming on the horizon. He accordingly is working as a private investigator where he is in a position to be selective about his clients and cases. He also is working on a part-time, volunteer basis with the San Fernando Police Department, using his considerable knowledge and expertise to assist the very small and budget-strapped jurisdiction in whittling down a groaning table full of unsolved cases.

"It is a book that contains, even at this stage of Connelly’s career, some of his best plotting and writing to date while bringing changes to Bosch’s life."

It is this situation that makes THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE, in effect, two books in one as Bosch pursues separate cases in his separate occupations. In his self-employed job, Bosch is retained by a wealthy and elderly industrialist named Whitney Vance to resurrect the past and hopefully undo an error of omission that he has come to regret. It develops that Vance as a young man in 1950 had a love affair with a Mexican girl who became pregnant as a result. She subsequently disappeared from Vance’s life, and he had no contact with her since. Vance is now in poor health and is unable to take his billion-dollar company with him to his final reward. He retains Bosch to find his child --- his heir --- and hopefully right the wrong he committed six decades ago.

What follows is a textbook example of data mining and a demonstration that, even in these times, not all information can be found on the internet. As he investigates, Bosch becomes aware that there are others with a vested interest in Vance who have no desire to see Bosch succeed in his quest and are willing to go to great lengths to impede him.

Simultaneously, Bosch’s work with the San Fernando police results in his discovering a link that connects a number of sexual assault cases. It appears that the perpetrator is escalating in his behavior, making it important that he be found quickly. Bosch is thus faced with two ticking clocks without the luxury of doubling his time. One of the interesting pluses of this book is watching Bosch juggle his responsibilities with regard to these two unrelated cases. Something has to give, and it does, but not in the way one might expect.

THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE further blurs the lines between Connelly’s Bosch series and the Mickey Haller/Lincoln Lawyer books. Haller makes appearances throughout this new Bosch tale and plays an integral role in it (as opposed to making a cameo appearance), particularly with respect to the Vance case. It’s an attractive element to an already worthwhile book, the ending of which sets up the possibility of even more changes in Bosch’s life. I recommend it, particularly for longtime fans of the author and his protagonist.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on November 4, 2016

The Wrong Side of Goodbye: A Bosch Novel
by Michael Connelly

  • Publication Date: May 16, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455524212
  • ISBN-13: 9781455524211