THE SCARECROW by Michael Connelly [Review]

The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow is Michael Connelly’s follow-up to his 1996 novel, The Poet. Newspaper reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI agent Rachel Walling return and once again partner to catch a killer. As a reporter in Denver, McEvoy helped snag a serial killer in The Poet and also wrote a successful book about the case. Twelve years later, he’s now a reporter in Los Angeles and is about to be laid off due to the decline of the newspaper industry. He’s been given two weeks to train his young replacement and he decides to write a story so good that they’ll regret letting him go. He ends up stumbling upon another serial killer, The Scarecrow, and, with dreams of a Pulitzer dancing in his head, he begins chasing the story.

What I like about The Scarecrow is that Connelly takes you inside McEvoy’s head as he tries to piece together the mystery. The reader already knows who the serial killer is because part of the book is told from his point of view. Knowing who the killer is from the beginning eliminated some of the suspense, but it’s still a gripping story. McEvoy is likeable as an old-school reporter with a bit of disdain for his younger coworkers and their Blackberries. There’s plenty of action, but no ridiculously over-the-top stunts that make you roll your eyes. As far as crime fiction goes, Michael Connelly is a step above the rest.

It’s not really necessary to have read Connelly’s previous books to enjoy The Scarecrow but if you would like to read them in order start with The Poet and then The Narrows. Both are fantastic books and are a great introduction to Michael Connelly.

Quotes from The Scarecrow:

Like the paper and ink newspaper itself, my time was over. It was about the Internet now. It was about hourly uploads to online editions and blogs. It was about television tie-ins and Twitter updates. It was about filing stories on your phone instead of using it to call rewrite. The morning paper might as well be called the Daily Afterthought. Everything in it was posted on the web the night before.

Goodwin took his payout and set up shop with a website and a blog that covered everything that moved inside the Times. He called it thevelvetcoffin.com as a grim reminder of what the paper used to be: a place to work so pleasurable that you would easily slip in and stay till you died.

“Death is my beat,” I whispered to myself… Words spoken before but not as my own eulogy. I nodded to myself and knew just how I was going to go out. I had written at least a thousand murder stories in my time. I was going to write one more. A story that would stand as the tombstone on my career. A story that would make them remember me after I was gone.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Little, Brown and Company | Pages: 448 | Source: Library | Buy on Amazon

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