5 stars out of 5
It doesn't matter which of the author's series it is - the one with "Lincoln Lawyer" Mickey Haller or this one with private investigator Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch - when the latest edition is released, I want it - and I want it now. This one is no exception, and my 5-star rating says Mr. Connelly remains solidly on his A-game.
Of course, one might argue that with one, you get the other; in an earlier book, they - and readers - learned they're half-brothers. Ever since then, one has made at least a cameo appearance in the other's books, as is the case here. But there's no question that it's Bosch at center stage - and working two parallel story lines, no less.
The first story begins as Bosch, a former Los Angeles Police Department 30-year police detective turned PI who now works part-time (think: free) for the budget-challenged San Fernando Police Department, is asked by a former LAPD supervisor that one of the supervisor's clients wants a meeting with Bosch. The elderly client has written Bosch a check for $10,000 for the meeting - regardless of whether Bosch agrees to take on the job. As it turns out, the 85-year-old Whitney Vance is filthy rich (Howard Hughes is his godfather, for gosh sake), not in the best of health and, as far as the rest of the world knows, will pass on to the great beyond with no heirs. That last point, however, is in question; it seems a long-ago encounter with an older Mexican girl may have resulted in a child, and Vance wants Bosch to find out for sure before the old guy, well, croaks.
In Bosch's other life as a part-time detective, a serial rapist dubbed the Screen Cutter is on the loose and racking up victims. Never one to pass up a challenge, Bosch throws himself smack in the middle of that investigation, hoping to find the perp before he strikes again and - if profilers got it right - escalates to murder. Meantime, the premise is that no female in the San Fernando area is safe, perhaps including Bosch's own daughter.
Needless to say, with two cases moving along at the near-speed of light, the action doesn't let up much. The often irascible Bosch has the expected run-ins with other law enforcement characters who don't quite see things his way, and his part-time job is threatened when he goes against orders to use SFPD resources on the case he's working on as a PI. But never fear. Bosch will prevail - with more than a little help from his half-brother. And at the end, readers get a glimpse into what the future holds for Bosch (well, at least the immediate future; with a guy like him, that's about as far ahead as anyone - including Bosch himself - can predict. And that's just fine with me.
The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown and Co., November 2016); 401 pp.