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A Return To Form,
This review is from: The Scarecrow (Paperback)
After several disappointing novels, 'The Scarecrow' marks something of a return to form for Michael Connelly. It features Jack McEvoy, the reporter/investigator, from Connelly's smash The Poet. When McEvoy is told by his paper that he is surplus to requirements, he decides he wants to go out in a blaze of glory. Jack intends to write an incisive account of racial divide in the City of Angels, but discovers more than his job is at risk, when he uncovers a manipulative serial killer.
'The Scarecrow' sees Connelly in Hi-Octane mode, with each chapter pulling you onto the next, in a way that his more recent novels have failed to do. The villain is revealed early on, and McEvoy's story is interspersed with short chapters detailing what the killer is up to. I can't remember Connelly using this device before, but it is one that he employs well. The reader can see where McEvoy is right, but also where he is wrong, and the traps he is about to walk into. It alters the dynamic of the novel, and makes a welcome change.
Though better than his recent novels, 'The Scarecrow' is still not as good as some of Connelly's early books. There are a number of papered-over cracks in the plot, and for a merciless and calculating killer, who has avoided detection for so long, the killer makes some questionable decisions. One can't help feeling, now that Connelly has sold millions of novels worldwide, he doesn't have to pay such close attention to the details. I think that a pre-success Connelly would have been much more rigorous in his closing of the holes in his plot. Despite this, 'The Scarecrow' is an entertaining and easy-to-read novel. After all, an above average Connelly, knocks the spots of most of the competition...