While he has spent most of the last year suing the LAPD over his forced retirement, these days Harry Bosch is a private detective when he isn’t working as a reserve officer for the San Fernando PD. Bosch works for free as the small department does not have the funds to pay him. For Bosch it is a chance to wear the badge and work any of the city’s many unsolved cases. One of the cases Bosch is working on is the serial rapist case as the “Screen Cutter.” That case is the prominent secondary storyline of The Wrong Side Of Goodbye.
Bosch got the job at SFPD because of his old LAPD contacts. He gets his private detective jobs by way of referrals. Sometimes those referrals happen by the way of his former colleagues. While he might be an enemy of some in LAPD who are angry over the lawsuit there are plenty of others folks very aware that nobody is a better detective then Bosch on a case.
That ability and those contacts lead him to a meeting with the 85-year-old reclusive billionaire Whitney Vance. Creator and owner of Advance Engineering, Whitney Vance expanded the family legacy considerably from a modest start dating back during the California gold rush. Whitney also believes he may have expanded the family legacy another way-- by fathering a child.
While in film school at USC in 1949, he met someone. Hispanic and underage, she was not somebody that the family would appreciate. They had a brief relationship and she became pregnant. After Whitney told his father, who was convinced that the young woman was looking to become a married citizen, certain people talked to her about not having the child. She then vanished and Whitney has no idea what happened to her or the baby.
Whitney’s independence was now over as his father had leverage on him to make him conform. She was under age so there was that potential legal issue as well as the family embarrassment if the story cane out and was public. He did as he was told and left film school and transferred to Cal Tech. Eventually graduating and further expanding the family legacy.
All these years later, he can tell Bosch little at this point other than her name, Vibiana Duarte, and that she used to work at the student cafeteria known as “Everybody’s Kitchen.” Those facts and a couple of others give Bosch enough to go on. That hunt for the heir becomes the prominent storyline of The Wrong Side Of Goodbye.
This latest book in the Bosch series is far more straightforward than earlier books in the series. Bosch divides his time between both cases, with occasional side excursions to see or call his daughter, as the pages fly by. There is zero character development for anyone in the novel as Bosch and his family were fleshed out long ago. Even characters new to readers are barely more than cardboard cutouts and interchangeable as spare parts. Instead, it is about the hunt for a rapist and the heir.
It wouldn’t be a Bosch novel without a bit of workplace friction. That function is served here by having Bosch work in the San Fernando PD under a boss that has a bit of a bureaucratic bent. It isn’t surprising that Bosch flaunts a rule that he sees as petty only to have it become an issue for another character. The reader that pays attention to detail will see the setup for this coming a mile away.
Overall, the latest Bosch novel is a good one. Though it lacks the complexity of some of the earlier novels and a couple of the twists are a bit obvious, The Wrong Side Of Goodbye is a good read. The only real problem is that this read is nowhere near the high bar this author consistently set for most of this very entertaining series. Good on its own, The Wrong Side Of Goodbye, does not come close to the books earlier in the series.
The Wrong Side Of Goodbye: A Bosch Novel
Little, Brown And Company (Hachette Book Group)
LARGE PRINT Hardback (also available in hardcover, eBook, paperback and audio)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2017