The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly

Book Reaction (not a full review)


The Scarecrow

by Michael Connelly

As always, Michael Connelly can spin a story. My attention was captured from beginning to end. Connelly brings all of his personal experiences to bear in The Scarecrow, which opens with a bitter portrait of modern reporting. Jack McEvoy has just been canned, a victim of the downsizing endemic in the newspaper game. More humiliating still, he is forced to train his replacement, a gorgeous, unscrupulous, technologically-savvy neophyte. But when he sees an opening to go out with a bang with a story about a teenage killer, he decides to take it. Unfortunately for Jack, he soon realises that the kid is innocent and the real killer is still at large and stalking him.

The plot itself is in the same style as Connelly's other thriller-style books, with the protagonist's narration interspersed with narrative from the killer's perspective. In this case, rather outlandishly unrealistic hacking and technological espionage plays a major role in the plot. Connelly's age is more apparent here, as he present technology with a certain wonder and mysticism that betrays his memory of a world before the web's supremacy.

I've always experienced a certain disconnect with Jack McEvoy, and I think it was exacerbated in this book. McEvoy sees tragedy as a story, to the point that his memory of the Poet is the fame it brought him, not his own brother's death. In the same way, he readily lies to a kid's family to get close enough to write a vicious story, and views the deaths around him as an opportunity rather than a tragedy. I also had some issue with McEvoy's racial prejudices. This book also brings Rachel Walling back into the picture, and she's never been precisely my favourite character.

All the same, it's an enjoyable, captivating tale, a nice conclusion to McEvoy's saga, and with plenty of cameo roles from the characters of Connelly's other series.