In the previous book in the series, The Crossing, he had looked at a quiet retirement working on restoring a prized historic motorcycle and spending time with his daughter, Maddy. The sojourn into retirement lasted barely longer than a phone call from his half-brother, Mickey Haller, to help Mickey with the defence of an innocent man.
Conflicted over going over to the other side, criminal defence investigations, Harry held true to his conviction that “everybody counts or nobody counts” and pursued the investigation with all the vigour he brought to cases as an LAPD detective. Yet he remained clearly uncomfortable.
As the book ended I hoped, but was unsure, that Harry would work with Mickey again on criminal cases.
In The Wrong Side of Goodbye Harry has both found his way back into law enforcement and a niche as a private investigator.
Harry has joined the police force of the small city of San Fernando. While San Fernando is completely surrounded by Los Angeles the mainly Hispanic city has its own civic administration and police force.
With San Fernando still in financial disarray from the recession of the past decade the city has allowed Harry to join the Police Department as an unpaid officer. Harry is a part-time detective expected to work at least a couple of shifts a month. Of course Harry works far more often. Though members of the LAPD scorn Harry as part-time and small time Harry has a badge and is back solving cases.
Beyond Harry’s work with the SFPD (He is not beyond letting the public think he may be working for the San Francisco Police Department) Harry is available for hire as a private investigator.
As a P.I. he is retained by 85 year old Whitney Vance, a billionaire aviation businessman, to determine if Vance has a living heir. As a young man in 1950 in first year at the University of Southern California Vance had met a Mexican girl and she became pregnant. His father had forced the end of the relationship and Vance has never known what happened to Vibiana.
During the course of his investigation Harry is drawn back to the Vietnam War. He was the same age as the son born to Vibiana.
Memories of the war are never distant for Harry. While working out a restaurant to meet Maddy he refuses to go to any Vietnamese restaurant because during the war he had eaten Vietnamese food every day. Maddy does not understand. She thinks it is a racist reaction. Why, as an American soldier, was he not eating American food? Harry explained that as a tunnel rat he had to eat Vietnamese food so that he smelled Vietnamese. To have smelled like an American would have endangered him underground.
Harry, while searching for an heir for Vance, is working on the case of the Screen Cutter rapist for the SFPD. There have been four rapes within the small city in recent years where the rapist has cut a screen to gain access to a victim’s home and assaulted her. The rapist is clever but also arrogant. He has never used a condom.
For the obsessive Harry there is a challenge in pursuing two investigations each of which would normally occupy him day and night.
The Vance investigation takes an amazing twist when Harry receives a handwritten will in the mail from Vance. In my next post I will discuss this holograph will and some real life holograph wills.
With the arrival of the will Mickey is brought into the story as Harry needs legal help to navigate treacherous legal waters involving wills. Mickey is far from a wills expert but, in the same spirit with which I approach the different areas of litigation in my practice, will do the research and get extra help, if needed, to handle the case.
Harry’s fire to solve cases is undiminished. As I am but two years younger than Harry I appreciate Connelly has found a way to allow a senior citizen, without ignoring age, to be a fascinating and vital sleuth. More great adventures await Harry.
****Connelly, Michael – (2000) - Void Moon; (2001) - A Darkness More than Night; (2001) - The Concrete Blonde (Third best fiction of 2001); (2002) - Blood Work (The Best); (2002) - City of Bones; (2003) - Lost Light; (2004) - The Narrows; (2005) - The Closers (Tied for 3rd best fiction of 2005); (2005) - The Lincoln Lawyer; (2007) - Echo Park; (2007) - The Overlook; (2008) - The Brass Verdict; (2009) – The Scarecrow; (2009) – Nine Dragons; (2011) - The Reversal; (2011) - The Fifth Witness; (2012) - The Drop; (2012) - Black Echo; (2012) - Harry Bosch: The First 20 Years; (2012) - The Black Box; (2014) - The Gods of Guilt; (2014) - The Bloody Flag Move is Sleazy and Unethical; (2015) - The Burning Room; (2015) - Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts; (2016) - The Crossing; (2016) - Lawyers and Police Shifting Sides;