The Scarecrow
  • The Scarecrow
  • The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow

4.1 303
by Michael Connelly

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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

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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.

Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
The Scarecrow, a return to form for Mr. Connelly and his sharpest book since The Lincoln Lawyer, pivots energetically among its subplots, often returning affectionately to the newspaper world.
—The New York Times
Marilyn Stasio
Connelly, who has the nerve and timing of a whole SWAT team, gives Jack two weeks to find the creep who's been raping and killing attractive long-legged women and dumping their remains in car trunks—if his young replacement doesn't beat him to the story.
—The New York Times Book Review
Maureen Corrigan
Sure, the human serial killer grabs the headlines for most of this exquisitely plotted story: He's a standard-issue sicko who murders women and cleverly stages the crime so that an innocent man takes the rap. But the most inspired feature of The Scarecrow is that it's also a meditation on the consequences of the death of print journalism…With its ingenious story line and the twisted brilliance of the creeps involved, The Scarecrow holds its own with its predecessor, which was a breakthrough novel for Connelly.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Connelly hits it out of the park with one of the best thrillers of the year. Seasoned reporter Jack McEvoy has just been laid off from his job at the Los Angeles Times and—to add insult to injury—is assigned to train his replacement, a precocious young woman who will work for half his salary with none of his experience. But McEvoy will not go gently into the land of the downsized: he still has one last story to cover featuring a killer who dumps his victims in the trunk of a car. Peter Giles brings a skilled and intimate feel to his reading without losing the chilling momentum; at one point he relays a beautifully built scene that contains one of the best “gotcha” moments in some time. A Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 30). (May)
Library Journal

Connelly has done it again. Reporter Jack McEvoy, the hero of Connelly's earlier novel, The Poet, is back in a chilling new mystery. The latest casualty of corporate downsizing at the Los Angeles Times, Jack decides to end his career with a story about a young drug dealer's arrest for and confession to murder. A phone call from an angry relative gets him to investigate the old case further, and Jack stumbles upon a high-profile serial killer case that might save his job, assuming he can survive long enough to solve it. The newspaper industry is on the verge of collapse these days, and ex-newspaperman Connelly here tackles the subject head-on while juggling an intricate mystery at the same time. He wisely focuses on McEvoy to tell the story, with the occasional interlude from the mastermind behind the attacks, making the narrative terrifying and compelling at the same time. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/09.]
—Jeff Ayers

Kirkus Reviews
Downsized from the Los Angeles Times, crime reporter Jack McEvoy decides to ride one last big story to the moon. There's no mystery about who suffocated stripper Denise Babbit and stuffed her corpse into the trunk of her car, since Alonzo Winslow, 16, confessed to the murder after the LAPD found his fingerprint on the car's mirror. But when Alonzo's mother-or maybe it's his grandmother, or both-nags just-fired Jack to look into the case, he quickly realizes that Alonzo's confession isn't a confession at all. And Angela Cook, the twinkie barracuda Jack's been asked to groom as his replacement, alerts him to the earlier murder of Las Vegas showgirl Sharon Oglevy that has all the earmarks of this one, even though her ex-husband's already locked up for it. Clearly there's a serial killer at work, and clearly, though Jack doesn't realize it, it's Wesley Carver, a computer-security expert whose ability to track everyone on earth through cyberspace makes him uniquely sensitive to who might be on his case, and uniquely empowered to neutralize them. After losing his bank balance and his credit cards to identity theft, however, Jack is rescued by Rachel Walling, the FBI agent whose torrid affair with him enlivened his last big story (The Poet, 1996). The ensuing cat-and-mouse game, duly played out in chapters alternately presented from the viewpoints of Jack and Carver, is accomplished but not especially suspenseful for readers who've seen it before. Despite his cyber-powers, Carver isn't an especially scary villain, nor does Jack shine as a sleuth. But Connelly (The Brass Verdict, 2008, etc.), who's nothing if not professional, keeps the twists coming and provides column-inches of backgroundexpertise-perhaps more than the story needs-on the hard business of hard news and a realistic preview of Jack's likely fate. Middling among the distinguished author's score of thrillers. New fans hooked by this one will be happy to know that his backlist is even richer. Author tour to Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Nashville
New York Times Book Review
Connelly has the nerve and timing of a whole SWAT team.
Washington Post
Ingenious...twisted brilliance.
Miami Herald
Crime fiction at its best.
Boston Globe
High-grade entertainment.
USA Today on The Poet
Pulse-pounding...Connelly is one of those masters of structure who can keep driving the story forward, paragraph by paragraph, in runaway-locomotive style.
Los Angeles Times on The Poet
This guy writes commercial fiction so well, he's going to end up on the "literature" shelves along with Poe if he plays his cards right, and here's one reader who hopes he does.
Houston Chronicle on The Poet
Showcases Connelly's powerful terrific novel.
New York Times on The Poet
Infernally irresistibly readable thriller.
From the Publisher
"Narrator Peter Giles delivers the crisp and compelling copy with a deadpan tone and a pace that advances like Patton through Italy. Scenes involving the stalking of McEvoy and Walling raise hairs at the back of the listener's neck. Great characters and a satisfying ending cement Connelly's place as one of the best crime novelists working today."—AudioFile

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Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Jack McEvoy Series, #2
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

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