Michael Connelly

The Scarecrow

"... the best book I have read so far this year."


Jack McEvoy is at the end of the line as a crime reporter. Forced to take a buy-out from the Los Angeles Times as the newspaper grapples with dwindling revenues, he's got only a few days left on the job. His last assignment? Training his replacement, a low-cost reporter just out of journalism school. But Jack has other plans for his exit. He is going to go out with a bang - a final story that will win the newspaper journalism's highest honour - a Pulitzer prize.

Jack focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer from the projects who has confessed to police that he brutally raped and strangled one of his crack clients. Jack convinces Alonzo's mother to cooperate with his investigation into the possibility of her son's innocence. But she has fallen for the oldest reporter's trick in the book. Jack's real intention is to use his access to report and write a story that explains how societal dysfunction and neglect has created a 16-year-old killer.

However, as Jack delves into the story he soon realizes that Alonzo's so-called confession is bogus, and Jack is soon off and running on the biggest story he's had since The Poet crossed his path years before. He reunites with FBI Agent Rachel Walling to go after a killer who has worked completely below police and FBI radar - and with perfect knowledge of any move against him.

What Jack doesn't know is that his investigation has inadvertently set off a digital tripwire. The killer knows Jack is coming - and he's ready.

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Connolly returns with The Scarecrow, which is in this reviewers humble opinion his best novel to date. It is a mix of murder, forensics and technology, put together by an expert author and definitely 'hits the mark'. McEvoy is a character who is very easy to like, although at times a little arrogant, he is still very believable. As are all the characters in this book. Intriguingly, the ending of the book leaves a few doors open for some of the characters to return, so watch this space for what I believe to be the return of McEvoy in a different role. Don't miss this one – it's the best book I have read so far this year.

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