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The Second Goodbye: A Pacific Homicide Novel

Review

The Second Goodbye: A Pacific Homicide Novel

Third time’s the charm --- as in the third outing of Patricia Smiley’s phenomenal Pacific Homicide series.

Following 2017’s OUTSIDE THE WIRE, Los Angeles Homicide Detective Davina “Davie” Richards encounters a lull in murders, perhaps initiated by an early onset of area wildfires. She sifts through cold cases and is intrigued by the glossed-over death of Sara Montaine, age 34.

Sara had volunteered at Four Paws Cat Rescue, where a promotional photo depicts Sara autographing with her left hand. Her personal life, however, had taken a turn. She surreptitiously shopped for a gun, while the owner took a call in the back room leaving Sara alone. A cursory police investigation ascertained suicide, the Smith & Wesson near the victim’s right hand. “It’s unusual for a female to off herself with a gun,” Davie opines. Although much “had happened to Sara --- her husband’s illness, his death, and the bad relationship with her stepson. Maybe life finally came crashing down on her.” But a neighbor says, “Sara wasn’t depressed. She was scared.”

"A thoroughly satisfying and well-crafted police procedural, this is my first Patricia Smiley encounter. That will change. I’ll purchase all previous books to give myself the best Christmas gift ever."

Davie’s mantra is: Assume Nothing; learn as much about the victim as the purported killer. She assimilates that Sara was married to a much older, wealthy man. Was Sara a gold-digger or selfless, in caring for her dying husband? Davie learns that before Sara’s marriage, she’d lived comfortably without obvious means of revenue. Nothing odd about that, other than being an orphan placed in foster care of those with limited income. “You think there was something hinky about the case?”

Meanwhile, Davie takes on another, “the brutal two-year-old murder of gangbanger Javier AKA Javi Hernandez.” Davie runs afoul of drug lord wannabes, and is bushwhacked by those involved with illicit drugs. “The only thing that pushed her forward was the commitment she’d made when she took this job --- to stand in the shoes of the victims, protecting their interests against all others.”

Davie learns that a hit man identified only as Mushroom Ears is following her, but which case instigated this? She tails the man tailing her, all the while picking up bits of evidence, like shells on a Pacific coast beach.

With the passing of Sue Grafton, the Queen of Alphabet Soup-titled mysteries, I’ve found a Kinsey Millhone doppelgänger in Davie Richards. A thoroughly satisfying and well-crafted police procedural, this is my first Patricia Smiley encounter. That will change. I’ll purchase all previous books to give myself the best Christmas gift ever.

Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on December 14, 2018

The Second Goodbye: A Pacific Homicide Novel
by Patricia Smiley

  • Publication Date: December 8, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Midnight Ink
  • ISBN-10: 0738752363
  • ISBN-13: 0738752363