Friday, April 16, 2021

Book Review: The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly (Jack McEvoy #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great thriller with strong characters
Cons: A bit more detail than needed in one scene; the obvious climax set up scene
The Bottom Line:
One last news story
Sends Jack on a thrilling ride
Page turning suspense

Will Jack End His Career in a Blaze of Glory?

While Michael Connelly has spent most of his career writing about LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, he has a few other characters he will revisit occasionally.  One of those is reporter Jack McEvoy.  The Scarecrow marks Jack’s second lead roll out of only three books, and it is a page turner.

For the last decade, Jack has been working at The Los Angeles Times, working the crime beat.  His time at the paper is coming to an end, however.  His just been given notice that his name is number ninety-nine out of one hundred the paper has to let go to cut costs.  He’s been offered the chance to stay an extra two weeks in order to train his replacement, an offer that he decides to take.

But Jack has his own motive for staying.  He decides he is going to write one last blockbuster story that will be an exclamation point on his career.  And it looks like that story might be the case of Alonzo Winslow, a sixteen-year-old drug dealer in prison for a brutal murder – a murder he might not have committed.  As Jack begins to investigate, his path once again crosses with FBI agent Rachel Walling.  Will the two of them track down the real killer?

When this book came out in 2009, it had been thirteen years since Jack’s first starring role, but he had made some cameos in other books that Michal Connelly had written.  Rachel Walling had had more prominent parts in a couple of the Bosch novels.  It’s one thing I’m enjoying going through all of Michael Connelly’s books in order is watching the characters pop in and out of each book.

This was the perfect story to team Jack and Rachel back up.  It naturally flows from Jack’s newspaper story.  While we can guess that the story is going to be bigger than Jack originally suspects early on, it is still fun watching it unfold and Jack follows each clue to the next.  I was quickly caught up in the twists and turns along the way to the suspenseful climax.

This book does fall into one of the traps I’ve noticed in other Michael Connelly books.  There are some scenes that are obviously nothing but setting up the climatic set piece.  In fact, it is painfully obvious data dump.  I’m not quite sure how to get us that information in a less obvious way, but this is a minor complaint overall.

I hadn’t realized how much I liked Jack and Rachel until we got another book focused on them.  They are wonderful characters, and they work well together.  Which worries me since Michael Connelly doesn’t have a habit of letting his characters have happy romantic lives.  The rest of the cast is just as strong.

We are dealing with some brutal murders in this book, which isn’t a surprise for another who has read Michael Connelly’s books before.  They are of a sexual nature.  I could have done with less detail, but there are only a couple scenes that crosses the line for me.  The foul language is kept to a minimum, which I appreciated.

I’m still listening to these books on audio, and Peter Giles was the narrator of the version I listened to.  I’ve enjoyed his narration in the past, and he did a great job again here.  The really oddity to me was when it came to reading an email.  We got the email addresses, time the email was sent, etc.  Detail that I don’t even pay attention to when I’m checking my email in real life much less reading a novel.  I get why it was included in an unabridged production, but it was still odd.

I know I’ve got one more visit with Jack ahead of me, but I’ve got quite a few books to get through first.  I’m looking forward to it.  If you haven’t yet read The Scarecrow, you are in for a great thriller.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read Michael Connelly in awhile. Thanks for putting him back on my radar.


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