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The Scarecrow (Jack McEvoy, 2) Audio CD – Unabridged, October 9, 2018
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"Michael Connelly is the master of the universe in which he lives, and that is the sphere of crime thrillers. This man is so good at what he does."―Huffington Post
About the Author
- Publisher : Little, Brown & Company; Unabridged edition (October 9, 2018)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1478975792
- ISBN-13 : 978-1478975793
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.13 x 1.5 x 5.63 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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My Review Five Stars*****
I have been a huge fan of Michael Connelly's works for literally decades. I re-read THE POET (1996) last summer, in fact a year ago this month. I have been excited about the release of FAIR WARNING (2020) in the summer of this year, and have been looking forward to reading it. Having said that, it is Connelly's third novel to feature Jack McEvoy, the hero of THE POET (1996) and later of course THE SCARECROW (2009). It has been over a decade since I read THE SCARECROW but I certainly recall how much I loved it. I felt like it would enhance my enjoyment of Jack's new adventure in FAIR WARNING if I were to re-read THE SCARECROW.
I will readily acknowledge that it is one of my favorite Connelly works, in part because I liked the protagonist, journalist Jack McEvoy, and of course FBI Agent and former profiler Rachel Walling is a fascinating character. Another reason that I feel that this novel felt so genuine and riveting is the fact that Connelly actually worked as an LA Times crime reporter. The author's technique of alternating the chapters and points of view between Jack and the chilling sociopath who inhabits this dark and captivating serial killer thriller is superbly effective. The "Scarecrow" is every bit the genius and the sadistic psychopath when we compare him to "The Poet". Character development is one of Connelly's strong suits, well to be fair so is writing dialogue, and ratcheting up suspense and tension. I'm not sure Connelly has an Achilles Heel. The story pulls you in right at the beginning and proves to be "unputdownable". I loved reading it again after all these years, and it is simply an outstanding thriller.
In any case, adoring fans over the past nearly a decade since this book first fit the shelves nine years ago have delivered far more articulate and comprehensive accolades than I could ever manage to do. I love Connelly and he is among my very favorite authors. THE SCARECROW is a 5-Star Read with no need to even ponder the rating for a millisecond.
Bonus materials in the Kindle Edition I purchased included an in-depth interview with the author about writing "The Scarecrow" which I enjoyed very much. It is pertinent that in part the author intended for this novel to be a swan song for the newspaper industry. It was obvious to Connelly when he wrote the book that the internet was the future of journalism and that all facets of reporting were rapidly going digital. Obviously now, almost a decade down the road, his instincts were "spot on". I am ready to start reading his new novel just released this summer FAIR WARNING. It was a coincidence that I spotted a review on Amazon that was indicative that the recent release featuring Jack McEvoy is politically slanted. I am SO HOPING that as a former reporter himself, and one of the most successful crime fiction writers on the planet, that the niggling feeling I have right now is simply paranoia. I guess I will find out soon...
He gets a call from a very angry woman who accuses him of writing a piece that points the finger at her 16 year old (grand)son and she is livid. He begins to look into the case and finds another, eerily similar murder involving another woman whose body was found in the trunk of her husband's car. McEvoy takes up the challenge. There is no way the two victims crossed paths, so what was the common denominator.
Rachel Walling believes him, and together they figure out who the mastermind and who the minions are. The mastermind, the Scarecrow, is able to hack into remote camera databases and basically knows what they are doing as soon as they do.
Top reviews from other countries
McEvoy is an experienced reporter, and for the last nine years has been chief crime correspondent for the LA Times. By 2010, however, the paper is struggling to keep its head above water, as hard copy sales diminish, and even its internet version finds difficulty competing with its rival titles. It is, therefore, ‘downsizing’, and McEvoy falls victim to an austerity drive. Because of the exploits recounted in ‘The Poet’, he had come to the paper as a celebrated journalist who could command a high salary. Nine years on, that high salary puts him on a list of reporters that the paper chooses to ‘let go’, giving him a fortnight’s notice and, to add insult to injury, he is asked to train up his young (and therefore much cheaper) replacement.
Still dazed from his bruising encounter with the newspaper’s HR department, he receives a call from a woman complaining about the way her son has been represented by both the paper and the police. It transpires that he has been arrested for the murder of a young woman whose mutilated body was found in the boot of her car. McEvoy had run a brief story which closely followed a press notice issued by the police. Conscious that there may be some mileage in investigating further, thinking it might make for an interesting final case with the paper, he resolves to look into the case more deeply.
Working with his prospective replacement, who emerges as already highly capable, and desperately ambitious, he uncovers some anomalies in the police handling of the case. Having reviewed the available evidence, he comes seriously to question the conclusions that the police have arrived at, and believes that the man in custody may be innocent. He and his new partner also uncover some strong similarities to a previous murder.
Like ‘The Poet’, this novel is principally recounted in a first-person narrative from Jack McEvoy, occasionally interspersed with third person authorial narration following the actual murder. He is a computer expert and accomplished hacker, who is able to follow McEvoy’s investigation from afar.
This is Connelly being as accomplished as ever: a strong, watertight plot and highly plausible characters. Connelly just seems to get even better as time goes on.
Won't put a spoiler here, but the basis of the killer's motivation and 'modus operandae' is almost comical and stretches the reader's 'suspension of disbelief' to breaking point. In other words, it's too silly to be taken seriously, despite the gruesome methods employed by the killer.
As usual, Mr Connelly puts his background as a crime reporter to good use by including an excessive amount of detail on police, crime scene and legal procedures (unnecessary in my view, but you may enjoy pages of procedural stuff). This time he also brings in the day-to-day minutiae of a reporter's life in a major newspaper: the office politics, the jargon, the little tricks and deceptions of the trade to get a story, etc..
However - for me - Jack McEvoy isn't a particularly interesting or likeable character himself, and nor are the supporting cast: no memorable policemen, reporters, lawyers... no 'family' of characters you can buy into.
There isn't the same depth or entertainment value in McEvoy as there is in other Connelly characters like Bosch and Micky Haller, but maybe that's just me.
So... this wasn't a bad read but it was a bit of a chore to stick with it to the end.
I think I'll stick to Bosch and Haller in future...
It was okay because Michael Connelly is a fine writer, but I fear he is straying from the style I most admire: he writes best when he writes about what he knows. The one area he really does know is how cops and detectives tick. That thread of authenticity runs right through his earlier novels.
In this book, it strikes me he offers a lot of information dumping, no doubt inspired by researching stuff he knew little about. Yes, it's well written, but it still comes across as an information dump and frankly, it gets boring. As does the gimmick of using hyperlinks which take the reader to his website. So annoying!
The book itself continues the exploits of Jack McEvoy, the reporter, who, it seems, has a knack for finding serial killers. The plot, per se, isn't too shabby, but I do find McEvoy's fight scenes to be leaning towards the implausible, as is the continued story of Agent Rachel Walling's in and out FBI employment. Give me a break!
I have still a lot of this author's books to read but I think I will go back to his earlier books.
Must try harder, Mister Connelly.