This marks the fourth Michael Connelly book that I have read. I was drawn to this particular choice because of the main protagonist, a reporter, Jack McEvoy who I first met in Connelly’s, The Poet.
In the Scarecrow Jack is still a reporter, writing for the LA Times, but one who has just been served a pink slip. Adding insult to injury Jack is given two weeks notice providing he agrees to train his successor, Angela. Jack sucks up his pride and decides that during the time he has left he will write a killer story designed to make the executive at the newspaper rethink their decision to lay him off.
In the process of investigating the arrest and incarceration of a young, drug dealer who confessed to the brutal murder of a young, Los Angeles woman found strangled in the trunk of her car, Jack begins to realize that all is not as it seems. As he digs deeper Jack finds a new connection to another brutal murder, this time in Las Vegas.
And he is off and running on the tail of another serial killer and chasing a huge lead the likes of which he has not had since his encounter with The Poet. What Jack does not realize is that in the process he has tripped some digital traps, traps designed to let the killer know who he is and what he is up to.
Unlike most thrillers Connelly exposes the killer to his readers right up front and allows the perpetrator to narrate the story from his own perspective, while Jack, who has by then teamed up with FBI agent Rachel Walling, is hot on his trail.
Don’t get me wrong I love a good thriller and was blown away by The Poet, but while The Scarecrow certainly contained all of the requisite elements and was quite successful in keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout most of this story, in the end I found it to be quite anticlimactic. I wanted to know more about the scarecrow himself, what motivated him, what fuelled his insatiable need to commit such heinous acts. Instead I felt a little cheated and found myself wondering (and I do hope I am wrong) if this was not intentional on Connelly’s part.