20 June 2011
Book Banter -- The Scarecrow
Author: Michael Connelly
Length: 419 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: LA Times reporter Jack McEvoy is on his way out from the profession he loves, cut in a staff reduction. With two weeks left in his career, he starts to pursue a story that will end his career with a blaze of glory -- proving a murder suspect innocent of the crime. But as Jack works to prove one young man's innocence, he finds himself investigating a far bigger crime, a serial killer who uses the power of the Internet to lure his victims. Jack teams up again with FBI agent Rachel Walling to find a killer, to save his career and hopefully prevent more killings.
Banter Points: It's been great to see Connelly evolve his plots as the times have moved forward. Thinking back to the early Bosch books, Bosch typed his reports up on a typewriter. The crime in The Scarecrow involves Internet security and websites and IP addresses. It's nice to see that Connelly has continued to learn and evolve with modern crimes instead of staying in a groove of mysteries set in the late 90s (which he could have done just as easily.)
Bummer Points: Normally, I'm pretty good at suspending disbelief -- especially around amateur sleuths -- who just happen to be there when the body drops, or the one who can figure out the crime. For some reason, I had a real hard time with this story feeling contrived that Jack was suddenly able to find a murderer, and a serial killer at that, just as his career was going down the tubes.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Even with the trouble hanging up my disbelief, it was still a great read from a mystery master.