Connelly, Michael. The Wrong Side of Goodbye.

NY: Little, Brown, 2016.

Even though he must be pushing seventy now, ex-homicide cop Harry Bosch has spent the last half-dozen episodes in this long-running series fighting hard against retirement. Solving murders and getting justice for the dead is what he does. More, it’s what he is. He spent several years doing cold cases with a gang of other no-longer-active cops, and that taught him a lot — it’s made him “proficient in time travel” — and now he has his private investigator’s ticket, though he doesn’t work at it very hard.

Harry shows up in the newspapers more than most cops, and that public presence has brought him to the attention of multi-billionaire Whitney Vance, who is willing to pay him quite a large fee for his skills on a very secret case.

But Harry is also putting in a lot of hours as an unpaid volunteer reserve officer for the Valley community of San Fernando, a tiny independent municipal island surrounded by Greater L.A. They can’t offer him a paycheck (which he doesn’t really need anyway), but they can give him a badge and access to law enforcement databases. And these two halves of his current existence are each going to keep him very busy for a few months.

On the one hand, he has been sifting through a stack of past rape cases, all in the little town, and has found good evidence that all were committed by the same person. And the rapist is still active, and Harry is determined to identify him and catch him. And on the other hand, he has to find out what happened to Vance’s pregnant Hispanic girlfriend from his college days in 1950, whom his father forced him to abandon. The old man, now well into his eighties, has never married and has no known heirs — but what if he does? It’s the coldest case Harry has ever attempted.

Connelly always does a good job with the investigative nuts and bolts of Harry’s cases and these two are no exception. He can’t allow them to overlap, either, for professional reasons, but he manages to get by with the aid of a few careful favors, sorting out the evidence on the unknown rapist and also digging through the dusty public records and interviewing survivors from the old days who are even older than him. And if it all seems rather quiet and staid, just wait until the last few chapters. Because Harry Bosch doesn’t know how to quit, and he still knows how to use a gun. Several books ago, I figured we were approaching the end of his career, but that obviously won’t be the case for quite awhile yet.


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