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on 20 July 2017
Always well-written but not a great plot.

Won't put a spoiler here, but the basis of the killer's motivation and 'modus operandae' is almost comical and stretches the reader's 'suspension of disbelief' to breaking point. In other words, it's too silly to be taken seriously, despite the gruesome methods employed by the killer.

As usual, Mr Connelly puts his background as a crime reporter to good use by including an excessive amount of detail on police, crime scene and legal procedures (unnecessary in my view, but you may enjoy pages of procedural stuff). This time he also brings in the day-to-day minutiae of a reporter's life in a major newspaper: the office politics, the jargon, the little tricks and deceptions of the trade to get a story, etc..
However - for me - Jack McEvoy isn't a particularly interesting or likeable character himself, and nor are the supporting cast: no memorable policemen, reporters, lawyers... no 'family' of characters you can buy into.

There isn't the same depth or entertainment value in McEvoy as there is in other Connelly characters like Bosch and Micky Haller, but maybe that's just me.
So... this wasn't a bad read but it was a bit of a chore to stick with it to the end.
I think I'll stick to Bosch and Haller in future...
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on 20 February 2015
Michael Connelly's continues to expand his fictional universe beyond the confines of Harry Bosch--and that's a good thing. It's not that I don't like Bosch, but it really seems that Connelly's better efforts these days are when Bosch isn't the central focus of the novel.

At the front and center of his latest book, "The Scarecrow" is former Rocky Mountain News reporter, Jack McEvoy. As the book begins, Jack has been downsized from his beat at the Los Angeles Times and given two weeks to train his replacement for the crime beat. Jack is famous for his involvement with the events detailed in "The Poet" (which if you've not read, you should, but it's not necessary to enjoy "The Scarecrow"), but that fame and his salary have put him on the chopping block. After taking a call on a seemingly innocuous crime story, Jack begins to look into things and decides to go out with a story to remember. The story concerns a young man, arrested on suspicion of murder, though the young man swears his innocence. Jack finds some troubling details in the confession as well as a larger pattern to the a potential serial killer.

Jack's investigation sets off the alerts of the Carver, who initiates an all-out attack on Jack through technological means. The Carver wants to cover his tracks and begins to set up Jack for a fall.

"The Scarecrow" alternates perspectives between Jack and the Carver as the two engage in a cat-and-mouse race-against-time. The deadline for Jack's career at the L.A. Times as well as Carver's pursuit help give the narrative the drive it needs and the suspense builds with each passing page. Equally frightening is how easily the Carver is able to use technology to cut off Jack from contact with world--including cutting off e-mail access, draining his bank account and canceling credit cards. It will make you think about identity theft and just how apparent your passwords really are in a whole new light.
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on 8 February 2013
The Scarecrow is another very good novel from the pen of Michael Connelly. In one of his previous books, The Poet, Connelly introduced the character of Jack McEvoy a crime journalist who with the help of FBI Agent Rachel Walling attempts to track down a killer that has been under the radar of the FBI for years.

Years after this Jack is still working the crime beat however his life takes a downturn when cut backs in the paper industry lead to him been laid off. Despite this Jack wants to leave with a bang. When he takes a call from the relative of a young man charged with murder it triggers his interest. Jack had previously reported the story of the boys arrest and he sees the call and the ladies pleas of her relatives innocence as a chance for him to get an inside story on what made the boy become a killer. However during his investigations Jack sees that things might not be what they seem and turns to Walling to help him......

This is a very well written book. It is nice to get a follow up book on McEvoy as his character was a strong one and it is interesting to see the after effects of the Poet case on his life. The story is a little slow at first but does pick up towards the end. As the book is written from both Jack and The Scarecrows point of view which is unusual for Connelly and gives you an insight into both what the killer is thinking and alerts you to when Jack and Rachel are going wrong! On the downside I didn't feel the book had the normally twists and turns of a Connelly book however the last few chapters are still very hard to put down as the dramatic scenes are very, very well written.

Overall I found this to be a very good book. It has a good story but it will for me always be in the shadow of the Poet book. I would recommend this book to any crime fans but I would also recommend that The Poet is read first as it will add a lot to the book if you know the history of the two main characters.
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on 9 March 2013
Unless you are super clued up on the workings of technology you, like me, may think this book was going to be hard work. But, all soon becomes clear and the activities down at "the farm" unfold. Get past this first bit and I can't see why anyone could not be drawn in to the unfolding drama.
This time Connelly's hero is Los Angeles Times crime reporter Jack McEvoy, last given an airing in The Poet. References are made to this earlier investigation by McEvoy and also expanded upon through his reunion with FBI agent Rachel Walling.
As a journalist I can identify with McEvoy's frustrations with his chiefs, his determination to stick with an investigative news feature and having to train up a junior. But the differences between journalistic law in the US and the UK are highlighted with a fluorescent marker pen. Although marginally annoying at times, overall I found these differences a fascinating comparison, as I did when reading The Poet (as well as other American crime reporting novels).
McEvoy is senior crime reporter and during the latest round of editorial downsizing, finds himself on the hit list for redundancy. He is too experienced and therefore too expensive to keep on staff.
Rather than being marched out with his box of personal possessions immediately, McEvoy is given two weeks in which to train up his young and inexperienced replacement.
Looking for a story that would see him go out on a high, McEvoy began researching the background of a youth accused of murder. The similarities of the crime to those in The Poet leads him and Rachel Walling into more than they bargained for and his trainee into danger.
Who is the scarecrow, what is he capable of and how does he manage to stay a step ahead? I would encourage you to read and find out.
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on 13 November 2017
All told, it was a decent enough read.

As always with Michael Connelly's books, he serves up plenty of creative and well researched plot-twists. But the lazy, predictable and often cliched 'cop speak' leaves me cold. You can tell he was a crime journalist who, in his day, 'knocked out' copy robotically. His editor(s) should push him to write more fluidly, to be more colourful and considered in his choice of language. If the author is content with his book being just OK, then it never stood a chance.
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on 5 September 2014
Clever too and, as always with this author, well written. I'm not keen on the endless recycling of old characters, especially when there's no real progress, when they just circle round and round in their lives. The only real issue here is -as so often with Connelly- the end doesn't really make any sense. There was no reason whatever to give themselves away going after Rachel, for a start, but the big problem is that the clue that led to the real bad guy could just as easily be linked to one of the patsies. Plus, there was no evidence against him whatsoever. So the ending was unconvincing to say the least. Enjoyable, though.
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VINE VOICEon 20 June 2017
I've just re-read The Scarecrow and thoroughly enjoyed it. This really is high end entertainment and at one pound for 500 pages of excellent writing is an absolute steal.
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on 27 July 2017
A great plot with lots of twists and turns. Halfway through I thought I had read it before but it then took a dramatic turn of direction. Really enjoyed it as I do all Michael Connelly books.
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on 20 May 2015
It was another slow starter but I have grown attached to Jack and his deepening partnership with Agent Rachel Walling. He has instinctive detective skills, capable of outwitting the FBI sometimes. He's not Harry Bosch but then Harry can't write a newspaper article or book like Jack.
I am reading everything Connelly whilst I await The Crossing in October to get my Harry Bosch fix.
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on 28 June 2017
Not exactly riveting stuff, took me ages to read this one, good start and end, but the middle part was very slow. Quitesurprising for an author of this caliber. Definitely not his best work.
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