The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly: A review

Harry Bosch can be a grade A jerk at times and he continues to solidify that reputation in The Wrong Side of Goodbye. In this instance, where he is working as a part-time reserve officer for the police force in the small town of San Fernando, his jerkitude is shown by his refusal to abide by the rules of the department by signing in and out. Apparently, he does it for no better reason than that he doesn't like the captain and wants to irritate him. Yeah, he's a jerk.

His saving grace is that he is also an excellent and dedicated detective. He is driven to solve major crimes, especially murders, and to bring justice to "his" victims. He identifies with those victims and will never rest until those who have hurt them are behind bars or dead. Being a detective is who he is. It is part of his DNA.

So, it was a bit of a hiccup in his life when he finally had to irrevocably leave the LAPD. He was forced to retire for the second time and this time there is no going back because he sued the city for wrongfully forcing that retirement and won a big settlement. All of his bridges there were burned and he had to find some other outlet for his lifelong crusade to solve crimes and stop their perpetrators.

He didn't need to work, because, with his settlement, he's basically set for life, but he hung out his shingle as a private investigator and then was given the opportunity to work in the volunteer position as a reserve officer for the understaffed department in San Fernando. That gave him the right to carry a badge again and Harry Bosch feels naked without a badge.

In this twenty-first entry in the Harry Bosch series, we get to see Harry working both sides of the street. 

In the police department, he's helping with the investigation of a serial rapist case, called the "Screen Cutter" case because that's how the rapist gains entry to the houses of his victims. 

As a private investigator, Harry has been called to the home of a frail, elderly billionaire who is not long for this world and wants the detective to find out whether he has a possible blood heir. 

It seems that when the man was a teenager he had a brief affair with a younger teenage girl and, when she became pregnant, his father forced him to give her up. She was Latina and not acceptable to the family as the mother of his child. He lost contact with her and never knew if she actually had the child. Now, facing the Grim Reaper, he is conscience-stricken at his cowardice and wants to find out what happened to her and to his putative child and to financially provide for them. 

The billionaire's case brings up some associations in Bosch's past to his experiences in the Vietnam War, and part of the plot turns on pictures taken by a corpsman in that war; a corpsman who may or may not have been the billionaire's son. Harry doggedly follows the trail to its end, uncovering the family history as he goes.

Meantime, he's also urgently working the Screen Cutter case and its resolution leads to him being asked to come on board the SFPD as a full-time paid detective! Maybe now he'll sign in and out as required. Nah, probably not. He's still a jerk.

Michael Connelly does his usual excellent job of plotting; in this instance keeping the two cases separately on their tracks to resolution. It really is a masterful job of writing and is one of my favorites in this long series.  

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


  1. Bosch is a jerk but you love him. ;-) I'm glad you two got reacquainted. It's always nice to hear from Harry Bosch and the ways he gets in trouble with the brass. This entry seems solid. Connelly, still at installment no. twenty-one, seems to be in top form. :-)

    1. At times I just want to punch him but his dedication to defending victims and putting criminals behind bars always pulls me back.

  2. This must be his latest. I don't think husband has read it yet. I must get it for him.

    1. It's next to his latest. This one was out in 2016 and there was one in 2017. After all these years of chasing him, I'm just about to catch Harry Bosch!


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