The Wrong Side of Goodbye

Suggested by Brad Nelson • Two cases confront Harry Bosch. As a part-time detective in the SFPD, he’s after a serial rapists. As a private investigator, he’s been hired by a billionaire to track down an old flame. Nineteenth in the series of 21, the series shows no signs of getting old.
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12 Responses to The Wrong Side of Goodbye

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    There once was an LA detective
    Whose methods were always effective
    But good golly gosh
    It’s Hieronymus Bosch
    For boredom he is the corrective

    This is a pretty good no-nonsense page-turner. We’re not deluged with non-stop plot twists. The novel has a pleasing realism to it.

    It’s one primary fault is the virtue-signaling and political correctness. Given that these novels are written around and in Los Angeles, the local gods of homosexuality and illegal immigration must be bowed to. As with Rome, even if you don’t believe in them, you were expected to give them at least token respect. Connelly does that and more

    It gets a bit obnoxious. But other than that, and a somewhat lack-luster ending, this is a fun read.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      If he’s actually named Hieronymus Bosch (the same as the late medieval artist of “The Garden of Earthly Delights”), there must be something interesting to make of that. Especially for something set in LA or SF or both. Of course, Bosch was also good at showing where these delights could lead in the end.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        If he’s actually named Hieronymus Bosch (the same as the late medieval artist of “The Garden of Earthly Delights”), there must be something interesting to make of that.

        In this book, he mentions to someone that this mother gave him that name and that she was a bit “out there.” I don’t remember if the TV series gave an explanation for the name. Was his mother an artist? Was her favorite painter Hieronymus Bosch? It surely takes this up in one of the early novels….you would think. Here’s a nice example of his work. It looks as if he was a religiously apocalyptic sort of guy. As you say, he paints where many of these people in LA could end up. That site mentions that only 25 of his works survive.

        One site notes this about his name:

        Hieronymus Bosch, born Jeroen Anthonissen van Aken was born Jheronimus (or Jeroen) van Aken (meaning “from Aachen”). He signed a number of his paintings as Bosch (pronounced Boss in Dutch). The name derives from his birthplace, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which is commonly called “Den Bosch”.

        In the TV series, he’s definitely called “Bosch” as rhymes with “posh.”

        One of the fun things to do is to follow along with Bosch’s music suggestions. He mentions a couple of jazz artists in The Wrong Side of Goodbye. I’m only now getting a little into jazz, thanks to my ongoing 3-month free trial of Apple Music which puts a gazillion songs at your disposal.

        Bosch first mentions Christian Scott’s album Anthem. He was particularly praiseful of the opening track, “Litany Against Fear.” I also sample a couple of his other album on Apple Music. But none caught my ear like this one which I added to my library.

        He mentions a couple more artists/albums that I tried and liked as well. He likes a good piece of jazz on when sifting through murder books and such at home. He mentions Horace Tapscott in connection with an Officer Tapscott he met while on a case. He wondered if they were related. I listened to Tapscott’s Thoughts Of Dar Es Salaam and liked it. Wiki says that Dar es Sallam is the former capital as well as the most populous city in Tanzania. It’s located on the Swahili coast.

        I’ve just started book #18 in the series, The Crossing. In it (and I’m not very far into it) Bosch also mentions some artists including some collaborative works by Ron Carter and Houston Person. I listened to their Chemistry and liked it. At this moment I’m listening to their Now’s the Time/Something in Common. I can see where this would be soft, quiet music to have on in the background after a day of stressfully working with deadbeats, scumbags, rapists, petty thieves, and murderers — not to mention the many asshole officials and cops that Bosch runs into in a normal day.

        I must say, it’s a fun experience to listen to this music while reading the book. And I have no idea why these type of electronic books don’t give you links right to the music. I don’t know why there aren’t embedded links to many of the places mentioned. Isn’t that what digital is good for? I commonly will take a look at the locations described by Bosch via Google Maps. It gives you a sense for the place, especially the strange and wild place known as Chicano Park. An embedded link in the book would make this much easier.

        It’s not to Connolly’s credit that he wallpapers over the racist and separatist aspect of much of this art in Chicano Park. But Connolly seems to be another white person living in California who feels he must pay for his skin color by overlooking all this nonsense and interpreting it as wholesome and good. In at least these later novels, it’s clear he’s picked up the theme that “a white guy always does it.” I’m very early into The Crossing but already this has popped up. A couple Joses (literally, Jose Sr. and Jose Jr.) are murdered in their apothecary shop. Surveillance cameras show a couple of men covered with masks and gloves. But one of the cameras catches a bit of skin between the glove and the sleeve in one of the shots. Of course the skin color is white.

        The Wrong Side of Goodbye has some similar nonsense.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I had started on #18, “The Crossing,” and decided it would be better to read the novel following “The Wrong Side of Goodbye.” They have at least eight books available via the Libby app so no shortage of reading material if I go on a Bosch-a-thon.

    Two Kinds of Truth is #20 in the series and very contemporary (2017). There is passing mention of the desire to impeach Trump, for example.

    As with “The Wrong Side of Goodbye,” Bosch is involved in two cases. This time both are police cases. One is chasing down the murderers of a father/son team who owned and ran an apothecary. The other is about an old conviction of Harry’s where supposedly new evidence has come up which could release a killer (and besmirch Harry’s reputation as well).

    I’m 80% into it and I think this one is actually better than #19. I won’t give anything major away, but we do see a return of J. Edgar. Apparently he and Bosch had parted as partners years ago and had lost touch. It had mentioned that J. Edgar had never even met his daughter, Maddie. The TV series therefore has to be some kind of composite of the novels because J. Edgar and Maddie are both a central part of the show.

    Bosch continues with has part-time pro bono work at the San Fernando Police Department. Generally everyone hates Bosch because of the corrupt officers he has confronted in his past and who go out of their way to smear him. But once the SFPD officers get to know him, they soften their opinion. In fact, in one scene, Bosch is copiously complimented by an officer….something Bosch notes has never happened before.

    But it’s not all touchy-feely because Bosch still has many in the LAPD who hate his guts. I’ll report back how this novel ends and see how it holds up, although one of the story lines has ended already with a satisfactory conclusion. Now to find out if Bosch’s reputation (and his ambulance-chasing lawyer half-brother, Mickey Haller) work out.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Oh. San Fernando. When you initially referred to the SFPD, I thought it was San Francisco (Harry Callahan’s old bailiwick).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Bosch specifically will use the acronym, “SFPD,” when making calls to other agencies and departments when trying to track down information. He figures most will think he’s a cop from San Francisco. And he supposes few will give much credence to a cop from San Fernando.

        This leads to perhaps the best aspect of these novels: Am much as I might like Sam Spade (especially when played by Bogart), real detective work obviously involves a lot of sifting through data, making phones calls, and various forms of drudgery. I think Connelly does an excellent job of giving a realistic view of what a real investigation likely looks like.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Note that Nero Wolfe would disdain this sort of work and let the NYPD (Inspector Cramer and his not-so-merry men) do it because they had the manpower to do so. This way Rex Stout would show his awareness of what so much police work (and work for private detectives as well) amounted to without having to risk boring the readers with it.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Obviously you don’t read four or five pages of Bosch methodically sifting through reams of data or making several dozen phone calls trying to track down a lead. But you do get precise information describing the types of things a detective has to do and how long it takes him to do them.

            There’s a place for the more romantic adventures of the private eye or detective. But the inserted realism of the Bosch books makes them somewhat educational as well. In fact, you can tell that Connelly is in love with at least two things: Jazz music and the various sites, sounds, and restaurants of the whole Los Angeles Basin.

            I’ve had all kinds of fun referring to Wiki and Google Maps searching for the locations he mentions, including Salvation Mountain. (Google Map image here.) What a garish, hippie-esque thing. But it’s cool in it’s own way. Given that the entire idea of Jesus (even the multi-colored psychedelic one) is now all but an outlawed idea in California, I kind of like it from that standpoint. It’s a big thumb in the nose of these atheist assholes even if it was never intended as such.

            By the way, I finished “Two Kinds of Truth” last night. The other plot line finished satisfyingly enough. I’m not sure if I can do 3 books in a row. I think I’d be wearing it out. But I could come back later and explore another one. But certainly these two books I can recommend. One might suppose the earlier ones are even better.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I did start reading another Bosch novel last night: The Burning Room.

    I’m 22% into it and this is a bit dull compared to the other two. Number 17 in the series, Bosch is still working for the LAPD. He’s just joined a cold case unit. His first case is a high-profile one. A mariachi musician has (after 10 years) succumbed to his wound from an apparent drive-by shooting.

    This new cold-case unit must have a “magic bullet” in order to proceed:

    The Open-Unsolved Unit followed a protocol when it came to investigating cold cases. It relied upon new evidence as the criteria for reengagement. That new evidence usually came from the application of recent advances in forensic sciences to old cases and the establishment of national databases to track criminals through DNA, ballistics, and fingerprints. These were the big three. The magic bullets. Without a hit on one of these databases, a case would be considered not viable and routinely returned to the archives.

    They did an autopsy on the musician who just recently died. The coroner called the death a consequence of the bullet so therefore it was a murder case. The medical examiner dug the bullet out of the spine of the skeleton but there’s no match with any other gun in the national database.

    That’s when the case supposedly should have been turned over to someone else or put back on the shelf. But a former mayor, who had made much public use of the shooting victim on the campaign trail (while he was alive), is now shooting for the governor’s office. He’s made this a cause célèbre so Bosch and his rookie partner will trudge on.

    One suspects this will not be a gang shooting but something that connects higher up. We’ll see. I still find Connelly’s political correctness to be annoying.. Perhaps he’s just stupid. I mean, yes, it’s nice that he notes that his partner was a benefit to the department because she was a twofer (both a woman and Hispanic). But then he says that it’s a well-known fact that many subversive types slipped into the LAPD when they lowered their standards. And why did they lower their standards? Connelly writes it was because there was a shortage of officers.

    That may have been the case. But there’s no mention of affirmative action being the reason for lowered standards. I mean, it’s just a little of this garbage here and there. You can drive past it. But it’s kind of lame. It ruins the sense of Bosch being a hard-nosed realist when PC words and ideas are simply stuffed into his mouth.

    I’ve read a review that says there is no proper conclusion to this story and it’s left as a cliffhanger. I may just stop here then. I found the winding-up of the case to be interesting enough. But I can sort of see where this might be going. Nowhere. One reviewer writes:

    I have now read all of Michael Connelly’s novels. I’m a fan and consider the author one of the best living crime writers so I’m sad to report that The Burning Room is his worst book. For almost 3/4 of the novel the characterization and dialogue are flat. Good thing I knew Bosch from the previous 18 novels because he is completely colorless throughout this book. He has a new partner, young, female, Hispanic, heroine of a shoot-out (which takes place before this story), and an injured party of a cold crime now under re-investigation. Nevertheless, her dialogue is just a dull as Harry’s and her sole purpose seems to be as foil for Bosch to bounce theories off of and vice versa. Bosch’s extremely well- behaved teen-aged daughter also appears in the story. Will he get home in time to say good night? Who will make dinner and what are they having?

    I can’t disagree with any of that.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      The more of Connelly’s books you review, the more I am inclined to give him a pass.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I do highly recommend the two books that I’ve finished. And one has to admit it’s nearly impossible to conceive of a California writer not including some of this stuff. It’s the world they live in. There’s also an aspect too of “Seeing how the other half libtard.”

        But I do get annoyed at the normalization of illegal aliens. California culture is now so thoroughly Mexican, even if the Left didn’t require this to be seen as normal and good, I can see where there is little choice now for the average Californian but just to accept it as the status quo.

        Bosch himself is a virtuous public official….the kind you wish everyone was. He’s just an all-around great guy. But the intermittent apologies for lawlessness and gender politics grates on the ear from time to time.

        I just tell it like it is. I recommend the two books I’ve read but neither am I going to soft-peddle some of the nonsense and pretend it doesn’t exist. I wouldn’t want you to be put off them.

        And surely these days it’s an unreasonable expectation that there isn’t going to be some of this nonsense spread around even the finest things. I still can’t get over Rush Limbaugh paying Elton John a million dollars to perform at his wedding. Wouldn’t a conservative have given that to some veteran’s musician group or something? It just shows you how wafer-thin conservatism is. It’s the liberal ladies to whom most men conform their behavior to.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I did finish The Burning Room. It got better. And to leave it incomplete was like not following through on a case. I had to see it out. It’s what Harry would do.

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