Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What we're reading: New Harry Bosch

I have been on a streak of reading new books in long-running series and not being thrilled by the latest entry, but I am happy to say that streak has now ended! Last week, I picked up the new one in Michael Connelly's Detective Harry Bosch series, and was pleased to discover that it was every bit as solid and engaging a job as Connelly reliably produces.

The Wrong Side of Goodbye is #21 in the Harry Bosch series. In the last book, Harry's boss in the LAPD finally finds a way to get rid of Harry, but Harry isn't having it; so he retires before they can dump him, and then turns around and sues the department. You can imagine that this makes Harry persona non grata with all his old contacts; then he compounds the offense by "crossing the aisle" to work with the defense for the first time in his career.

As this book opens, Harry has settled into being a private detective, but is still trying to keep other options open, and this results in Harry working on two cases at once. In the private sector, he has just been contacted by an elderly billionaire from South Pasadena, who wants to send him on a hunt for an heir. It seems that in his youth, Whitney Vance fell in love with a girl and got her pregnant, but then the girl mysteriously disappeared, and he doesn't even know whether she had the baby. He does know that anyone who shows up to make a claim on his vast fortune is going to be beset by the corporate guys who expect all the money to stay with his company (and under their control), so Vance swears Harry to absolute secrecy and makes Harry promise to report only to him. But just the fact that a meeting took place with a private investigator makes his associates take notice, and soon Harry is feeling that frisson on the back of his neck that says someone is taking too great an interest in him and his business.

The other case is something that falls in Harry's lap because he's working part-time, albeit unpaid, for the tiny San Fernando Police Department (they like to call themselves the SFPD just to confuse people). In later years, Harry's specialty has been resurrecting and solving cold cases, and he inherits one that initially looked cold but is actually ongoing, as Harry discovers when he connects the similarities between a bunch of previously isolated rape cases and realizes he has a serial rapist on the loose.

The paths Harry takes to solve both of these mysteries are convoluted, fascinating, and in some cases risky, and I found it all intriguing. The procedural parts were first-rate, and Harry finds some new and innovative ways to get things done, as a partial outsider. Bravo from me. Keep 'em coming, Mr. Connelly!

Burbank Public Library offers this as a hardcover and also as an audio book.

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