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The Scarecrow
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Product Description

Forced out of the Los Angeles Times amid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paperto write the definitive murder story of his career.

He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow's so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent.

Jack is soon running with his biggest story since The Poetmade his career years ago. He is tracking a killer who operates completely below police radar and with perfect knowledge of any move against him. Including Jack's.

Customer Reviews:

  • This guy is so good in his zone
    I love MC books, but I actually like these characters better than Bosch. Connelly really knows this subject matter (reporting/law enforcement procedural) and brings it to life with a totally up to date plot construction. Best book since the Poet and actually more interesting (although I read the Poet so long ago, I could be wrong). I do like the way the Poet is woven into the story.

    Don't miss this one; it's the best of its genre, which seems to be growing overpopulated with much weaker versions from other authors who are cashing in on (our/my) looking for the next great character driven procedural....more info
  • scarecrow
    love connelly and have read all his books/but i refuse tobe gouged on price. amazon and/or publishers need to wake up....more info
  • Tough one to rate
    This book reminded me of the final season of The Wire series where they dealt with the rapid changes and downsizing of the newspaper industry, some of the start of the book is very reminiscent of this.

    I found this book to be a good and quick read that I liked but it just did not grab me like a Harry Bosch book does. I think that the author is wanting to spread his literary wings a bit with books on Jack McEvoy and the Mickey Haller series but it just comes off as a bit flat to me.

    The depth of writing is lacking when Bosch is not involved and we get a kind of shallow set of characters who one just does not get into at all.

    In this novel, Connelly sets up a novel revolving around the newspaper industry but soon this gets pushed aside for the story of the murders. This is all well and good but I would really have liked to have seen more depth about the industry and how the characters view newspapers and the future, rather than a fairly mundane mystery.

    All in all, I give the book 3 stars....more info
  • This Scarecrow Doesn't Dance
    This is Michael Connelly at his best. It's a fascinating read, like so many of his earlier works. I was a bit disappointed with two recent books, The Brass Verdict and The Overlook, but not with The Scarecrow.

    The story is compellingly told, mostly from the perspective of the central character. It seems to me that Connelly is at his best when writing about a strong, ethical character, like Detective Harry Bosch, star of several Connelly works. The Scarecrow features such a strong person, Jack McEvoy, who battles the forces of evil.

    McEvoy is a well-respected veteran L.A. Times crime reporter who gets fired due to the deep budget cuts that reflect the decline of printed media in the face of Internet competition. (People want their news NOW.) Instead of a swift boot out the door, McEvoy gets two week's notice if he agrees to train his replacement. This sort of thing is as current as today's headlines: a lot of good people with years of experience are getting axed and replaced by younger workers with small salaries.

    McEvoy is determined to use those two weeks to build a big story that will help him create a best seller. Several years before his dismissal, McEvoy wrote a best seller about a sensational murder case that he investigated. This is where an earlier Connelly book, The Poet, intersects with The Scarecrow. Connelly also includes FBI Agent Rachel Walling, who has appeared before.

    McEvoy wants another big bucks success as a way of thumbing his nose at the Times. So, in The Scarecrow he works a story about two brutal murders in which the victims' bodies were stuffed in car trunks. The trail leads to a "genius" psycho who uses the Internet for no good at all. And it turns out that the psycho's job gives him access to an overwhelming arsenal of high-tech devices.

    A typical Connelly tactic is to "tutor" the reader as the plot unfolds. In The Brass Verdict it was jury selection and the conduct of a trial. In The Scarecrow there are many details about computer technology and the Internet. The Internet can be a dark alley used for identity theft, character assassination, and extortion. Clearly, Connelly is one of those (most likely, well past forty) who feel somewhat overwhelmed by the new technology. These are people who grew up before there was a P.C. on every desk and a cell phone in every pocket/purse.

    There's plenty of suspense in The Scarecrow. Connelly skillfully reveals things to the reader without telling McEvoy and Walling. The reader then "helplessly" watches McEvoy and Walling stumble about as disaster lurks.

    The Scarecrow gets an easy five....more info
  • A really good book considering it doesn't feature Harry Bosch
    The Scarecrow works at a computer farm where top secret data is stored for many top law firms and businesses that want their secrets secured. The scarecrow scares off any potential hackers to the farm. He's also a master criminal that has been getting away with many vile crimes for many years without even a sniff of suspicion by law enforcement.

    Jack McEvoy, the crime reporter for the LA Times is featured in this novel. McEvoy was the lead in THE POET, where he helped catch a man who killed his brother and wrote a bestselling book about it. Now, McEvoy is a victim of the tough economic times and is laid off from his job. McEvoy hopes to write one last great story and go out with a bang. While looking into a case where a 16-year-old gang banger murdered a prostitute, he discovers the kid may have been innocent. More importantly, he discovers there have been other people put jail for similar crimes that may also be innocent. Jack begins investigating and enlists the help of one time lover, FBI Agent Rachel Walling.

    The good: I don't think they were mentioned by name, but Bosch and Mickey Haller both get mentions in this novel. Connelly's writing is excellent as always, a true page turner.

    The not so good: I don't think Connelly does this with Bosch novels, but in this book, Connelly covers the point of view of the Scarecrow. Other authors are great at this, but Connelly is at the top of his game when he writes a straight procedural and we don't know who the villian is.

    Connelly fans should rejoice that the author has two books coming out this year. THE SCARECROW is not as good as most Bosch novels, primarily because Jack McEvoy isn't the same beloved character as Harry Bosch. Still, a must read.
    ...more info
  • A thriller that moves like a bullet
    Connelly uses a reporter, Jack, he introduced once before, in "The Poet". Jack has just been told he is being laid off from the Times. Newspapers are in serious trouble, and Jack's salary is higher than that of the brand new reporter who will take his place.

    All of this just adds depth to the story, which centers around a murder. Jack had reported briefly about the routine slaying of a stripper by a 16-year-old who was apparently selling her drugs.

    Or was the young man the killer?

    This one is so much fun you will need to schedule a whole day free so you can read it all at once. Because you certainly won't want to stop!...more info
  • Michael delivers again......!
    This will be short and sweet....I cannot be more thrilled when a new book of his comes out....I savor every word this talent puts on paper. I especially noted the view of the current situation newspapers are in and how a reporter might deal with this matter. The way this whole story is revealed and solved is just brilliant and regardless of the few negative comments this is a book to savor on many levels. I like this character and hope we will continue to hear from him....more info
  • Excellent Entertainment
    A great read. I couldn't put the book down. The book was extremely entertaining and thrilling....more info
  • Jack is back!!!
    Jack McEvoy is back in Michael Connelly's latest thriller, The Scarecrow. McEvoy, a crime writer who was previously featured in The Poet, is now writing for the LA Times.

    As The Scarecrow opens, McEvoy is becoming a dinosaur. So is the newspaper business in general. He's given two weeks notice if he agrees to train his new replacement, Angela Cook. McEvoy decides that he is going to go out in a blaze of glory, writing a story that will make The Times regret that they gave him the boot. He stumbles upon a case where a young gang-member has been blamed for the rape, torture and murder of a woman found in the trunk of a car. But McEvoy starts discovering that perhaps the kid is innocent after all and that this might actually be the work of a serial killer. He elicits the help of FBI agent Rachel Walling (who appeared in 3 previous Connelly books, including The Poet). Even with the help of the FBI, their lives are in danger as they match wits with someone so evil and with more tools than they can imagine. It's a race to see if McEvoy will even live to write his story.

    The Scarecrow has another story to tell as well, and that is the demise of the newspaper business. Connelly is a former crime-beat writer and knows the score. McEvoy muses "Like the paper and ink newspaper itself, my time was over. It was about the Internet now. It was about hourly uploads to online editions and blogs. It was about television tie-ins and Twitter updates. It was about filing stories `on' your phone instead of using it to call rewrite. The morning paper might as well be called the `Daily Afterthought'. Everything in it was posted on the web the night before." He calls Angela Cook a "baby reporter...She's very good and she's hungry, but she doesn't have the chops...The newspaper is supposed to be the community's watchdog and we're turning it over to the puppies." As someone who can't survive without a morning newspaper or two, this is all very depressing stuff.

    I'd be hard pressed to decide which of Connelly's characters I like best--Bosch or McEvoy. I think I'm leaning toward McEvoy as I suspect that there is a lot of Connelly in his fictional newsman. But whichever one I choose, The Scarecrow is a superb book to add to Connelly's accomplished body of work.

    ...more info
    Jack McEvoy is a seasoned "cop-shop" reporter at the Los Angeles Times... who also had a best seller based on his harrowing personal experience with a serial killer a number of years ago... but despite his experience and pedigree... he has just been notified that he will be canned in two weeks. If being unceremoniously removed from the payroll isn't bad enough... in order for Jack to get an extra two weeks pay... he has to train his replacement... the attractive young Angela Cook. As Jack shows Angela the ropes... and introduces her to all his hard earned connections at police headquarters... he gets a strange phone call from a woman saying she's the mother of Alonzo Winslow a black gang banger from South Central L.A. who's already been arrested for the murder of Denise Babbit... and according to a small "filler" article in the L.A. Times... Alonzo has already confessed to the murder. The murder was being called a "TRUNK-MURDER" since the body of Denise Babbit was found "asphyxiated with a length of commonly purchased clothesline used to tie the plastic bag around her neck" in the trunk of Denise's deserted car in a parking lot at Santa Monica beach. The autopsy showed that she had been repeatedly raped with a foreign object. Alonzo's "mother" says it's a lie! Alonzo didn't do it. As Jack and... under his direction... Angela look into the case... many questions immediately arise. Such as what was a South Central gang banger doing at the Santa Monica beach... and how did he get back to the ghetto? The car was wiped clean... except for Alonzo's finger print on the rear view mirror. Jack also gets his hands on information he wasn't authorized to see... and among other things... Alonzo never admitted he killed her.

    An internal battle between Jack and Angela ignites over who will research what... and the L.A. Times management makes the situation tenser by their decisions as to how the byline will be distributed. During the research a similar "TRUNK-MURDER" is uncovered on the internet... Jack heads to Las Vegas... and so many things happen so quickly and conveniently... it's a little hard to believe. Credit cards are cancelled... cell phones are shutoff... the email accounts of EVERY single employee of the world famous... super hi-tech L.A. Times is penetrated with impunity... and all of a sudden a person close to Jack is missing.

    The author introduces the killer almost immediately... and as Jack's last two weeks as a Times reporter is enveloped in twisted murders and depravity... he must call in his long lost love... FBI agent Rachel Walling... to help save his life... but don't worry... he makes up for that by saving hers. It's almost like watching a super-charged tennis match. He's getting fired... she's getting fired... she's offered her job back... Jack's offered his job back... and then there's their rekindled romance... where there are so many lines drawn... that the reader and participants need some type of human GPS to gauge who can do what... to whom... when. Can we hug? Can we kiss? Can we make lifelong plans? Can we not make lifelong plans? The reader needs to make a personal decision on how much you'll buy into... and that will ultimately determine how much you'll enjoy this book. The most accurately depicted parts of the story are the ones that relate to present time layoffs and the downsizing of the newspaper business.
    ...more info
  • Nothing Short of Amazing
    As I am not usually a fan of "reporter" books, I did not think I would be enthralled by Michael Connelly's latest novel. THE SCARECROW is just that, marking the return of crime reporter Jack McEvoy after lo these many years, last seen in 1996's THE POET. I am pleased to report that this new title easily surpassed my not-so-high expectations.

    McEvoy is a legendary but nonetheless realistic reporter for a fictitious newspaper called the Los Angeles Times (any relation between Connelly's creation and the real-world version would be strictly coincidental). McEvoy's chief claim to fame is his series of stories regarding a serial murderer nicknamed The Poet, and McEvoy's ultimate involvement in the sequence of events that led to The Poet's death. As THE SCARECROW begins, however, McEvoy's world has moved ahead. His book regarding the story, also entitled THE POET, has been long out of print, and he has never had a front-page, top-fold story byline, notwithstanding his more than solid reputation as a first-class journeyman crime reporter.

    What is significant for McEvoy is that in his world, as in this one, the age of the print newspaper is reaching its end. In some of his best writing to date, Connelly describes how the newsroom as we know it is gradually winding down and the consequences that follow. One of these is that McEvoy is unceremoniously kicked to the curb with a two-week separation notice. His final assignment, to train a fresh-faced and eager rookie reporter, is a humiliating one. But McEvoy wants to go out with a bang, and discovers an interesting story with which to bring his career to a climax. The core of the story consists of an L.A. Police Department press release concerning the arrest and confession of Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer, for the murder of a stripper. Winslow is, from all accounts, an irredeemable waste of skin. Yet McEvoy finds that the arrest report demonstrates that Winslow did not actually confess to murdering the woman, contrary to what is contained in the press release.

    In the course of researching the case, McEvoy discovers a second murder occurring in Nevada some years before that is so similar in terms of execution, and in resemblance to Winslow's alleged victim, that for both individuals to have been murdered by different assailants would be beyond the realm of coincidence. In the Nevada case, the victim's ex-husband was tried and convicted, and is incarcerated. Accordingly, he could not have committed any subsequent murders, including the one with which Winslow is charged. And Winslow may be innocent as well. When McEvoy travels to Nevada to investigate the earlier homicide, he sets off a series of events that pits an unseen, unknown adversary --- the real killer of both women, and several other victims as well --- against McEvoy and a totally unexpected ally.

    The actual culprit is the Scarecrow, an MIT graduate named Wesley Carver who oversees security for an Internet website maintenance and data storage firm. The reader meets Carver immediately, but he is operating so far beneath the radar that no one knows who he is, let alone what he is doing. Sitting where he is, doing what he does, Carver is aware that McEvoy is looking for him even before McEvoy knows himself, and, more importantly, before McEvoy truly realizes what terrible danger he is in. When McEvoy makes a horrific discovery --- one that comes close to placing him under suspicion of murder himself --- the pursuit of the Scarecrow becomes personal. The Scarecrow remains one step ahead, even as McEvoy, relying on his keen powers of observations and instinct, stays on his trail.

    Connelly is nothing short of amazing in THE SCARECROW, building the story somewhat slowly in the beginning before introducing explosive revelations, twists and turns, which increase in frequency and intensity. There are a number of pleasant surprises here, especially for readers who fondly remember THE POET. Connelly leaves open the possibility, if not the promise, of more to come from McEvoy. If all of this is not enough for you, he also takes a sub-plot line that he briefly set up in his fine Harry Bosch novels and advances it a step or so, teasing the reader with it but saving a possible revelation for another day. And speaking of revelations, THE SCARECROW includes the first 14 pages of NINE DRAGONS, the next Harry Bosch book, which will be published later this year. One could not reasonably ask for more.

    --- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub...more info
  • Michael delivers again......!
    This will be short and sweet....I cannot be more thrilled when a new book of his comes out....I savor every word this talent puts on paper. I especially noted the view of the current situation newspapers are in and how a reporter might deal with this matter. The way this whole story is revealed and solved is just brilliant and regardless of the few negative comments this is a book to savor on many levels. I like this character and hope we will continue to hear from him....more info