Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Scarecrow Review


Title:  The Scarecrow
Series: Jack McEvoy #2 (Harry Bosch Universe #19)
Author:  Michael Connelly
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Release Date:  May 26, 2009
Purchase Link:  Amazon

Main Characters: Jack McEvoy & Rachel Walling

My Rating:  4.5 Blood Red Hearts



Synopsis:
For Jack McEvoy, the killer named The Poet was the last word in evil. 
Think again, Jack.
Jack McEvoy is at the end of the line as a crime reporter. Forced to take a buy-out from the Los Angeles Times as the newspaper grapples with dwindling revenues, he's got only a few days left on the job. His last assignment? Training his replacement, a low-cost reporter just out of journalism school. But Jack has other plans for his exit. He is going to go out with a bang — a final story that will win the newspaper journalism's highest honor — a Pulitzer prize.
Jack focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer from the projects who has confessed to police that he brutally raped and strangled one of his crack clients. Jack convinces Alonzo's mother to cooperate with his investigation into the possibility of her son's innocence. But she has fallen for the oldest reporter's trick in the book. Jack's real intention is to use his access to report and write a story that explains how societal dysfunction and neglect created a 16-year-old killer.
But as Jack delves into the story he soon realizes that Alonzo's so-called confession is bogus, and Jack is soon off and running on the biggest story he's had since The Poet crossed his path years before. He reunites with FBI Agent Rachel Walling to go after a killer who has worked completely below police and FBI radar—and with perfect knowledge of any move against him.
What Jack doesn't know is that his investigation has inadvertently set off a digital tripwire. The killer knows Jack is coming—and he's ready.


Review:
Jack McEvoy is a seasoned L.A. Times reporter known as the reporter who brought about the demise of a serial killer called The Poet.  Unfortunately, the Times is being forced to trim their budget, and Jack's being replaced by a young, cost-effective, social media savvy reporter and worse yet - he's forced to train her in his last two weeks on the job.  In the course of doing so, Jack receives information that leads him to investigate a "trunk murder" in which a sixteen-year old supposedly confessed to the crime.  Jack knows this could be his last hurrah - a chance to go out in a blaze of glory while sticking it to the newspaper that is letting him go.  Jack stirs the pot, uncovers some stones, and soon finds himself isolated and in the bullseye of a tech-savvy serial killer - one thus far unknown to the FBI.  When things escalate, Jack calls his ex-lover FBI Agent Rachel Walling for back-up, and unintentionally draws the killer's attention to her also.  The story that unfolds is intense and chilling.

I decided to read The Scarecrow because it's part of the Harry Bosch Universe, and I'm reading all the books in order according to the Universe.  While Harry Bosch does not appear in this book, there's a connection that avid fans will recognize.  While my love affair with Harry continues, I've also come to greatly appreciate the other main characters in books that are part of this world like Mickey Haller & Jack McEvoy.  Each character is unique, intriguing, and flawed in some way, some more than others.

The Scarecrow is a chilling story in which the identity of the cold-blooded, cunning serial killer is known early on through his own pov.  This in no way lessened my reading experience as I stayed glued to the pages with my heart racing until the very end.  As always, Connelly is meticulous with details, all of which bear noting as all will prove important by the end.  While I wasn't surprised in this one, I was kept on the edge of my seat all the way.  Connelly's expertise as a writer and storyteller continues to amaze and delight me.  Another Must Read in the Bosch Universe!  I'm so happy I didn't skip this one!

My Rating:  4.5 Blood-Red Hearts . . . And that's the truth!
Cross My Heart . . . xxx
Sandra