Thursday, January 21, 2010
"The Scarecrow", by Michael Connelly
Book 2 in the Jack McEvoy series
This is another neatly woven thriller that will hold your attention till the very end. The story is inspired by the decline of newspapers and the threat of the Internet and told in a way only Michael Connelly can.
The central character is Jack McEvoy, a reporter who is facing job elimination at the Los Angeles Times. Adding insult to injury he is given two weeks to train Angela Cook, his young replacement before leaving. It is then that Jack sees the opportunity to go out in a blaze of glory by writing a story of a former gang member Alonzo Winslow accused of murdering stripper Denise Babbit.
The main plot is centered on murders committed by someone called the Scarecrow. His unique way of killing has baffled law enforcement for a long time. Cases that were previously settled in an expedient manner are brought back to the forefront with the recent research on the Babbit murder. The ambitious Angela uncovers undeniable links to the past that leaves many questions to be answered. Angela's Internet research unknowingly triggers an alarm alerting data specialist Wesley Carver. At this point much of the story becomes centered on Carver and his part in the drama, exposing his true identity.
Jack McEvoy's character is at its best and the action peaks while he is in pursuit of this particularly intelligent serial killer taking the reader on a very thrilling ride. Along the way he is reunited with Agent Rachel Walling exposing his softer side.
True to his trademark, Mr Connelly filled the story with numerous clever touches and details. The plot moves at a steady pace told with a prose that is exciting and suspenseful, the action alternates between Jack and Carver chapter by chapter.
On the down side, I found revealing the Scarecrow's identity early may have removed some of the suspense.