“The Second Goodbye” by Patricia Smiley is the third book in the Pacific Homicide series featuring Detective Davie Richards. The book stands on its own merits, and it is not necessary to have read the previous books to enjoy this one. Any background information about the characters is included seamlessly within the current narrative. The book opens with a crime, a murder, but an unusual one that grabs readers.
“Knowing she would not pass a background check, Sara Montaine had never tried to buy a gun. Instead, she stole one. In the store, she asked to see a gun, and when the phone rang, she saw her chance. The storeowner stepped out to take the call; she slipped behind the counter and turned the key to unlock the gun case. She reached in and grasped the handle of the gun, a perfect fit. The gunshot jolted the owner. He returned to the showroom and saw the woman on the floor. He immediately called 911.”
LAPD Homicide Detective Davie Richards was sifting through the division’s unsolved murders, and her boss directed her to a death in a gun store, but not a murder. The case had been closed as a suicide, but the coroner did not find any gunshot residue on the victim’s hands and ruled the death undetermined. Readers follow as Richards carefully and methodically reviews two unsolved cases, the gun store shooting, and a gang murder. These are cold cases with few cooperating witnesses, second hand evidence, and an increasing number of unanswered questions.
Smiley masterfully intertwines the two main story lines along with additional material that increases the richness of the novel. The pace is steady, purposeful, and not without surprising twists and turns. The characters are well developed, and each is distinctive and thought provoking. Richards is focused and strong, and the supporting characters are discrete and interesting, adding color and depth to the story. There is also a nice shout out to a long-standing event for California and Nevada law enforcement, the Baker to Las Vegas relay race.
“The Second Goodbye” is a captivating novel with a strong female central character and a plot that will hold a reader’s interest to the end. I received a copy of “The Second Goodbye” from Patricia Smiley, Midnight Ink, and NetGalley. I have enjoyed the previous books in the Pacific Homicide series, and this book was no exception. I recommend the entire series and eagerly await the next book in the series.