The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow

4.1 303
by Michael Connelly, Peter Giles

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The instant #1 bestseller from author Michael Connelly—"the best mystery writer in the world" (GQ)—brings back the hero of The Poet in a terrifying new thriller.

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 paper to write the

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The instant #1 bestseller from author Michael Connelly—"the best mystery writer in the world" (GQ)—brings back the hero of The Poet in a terrifying new thriller.

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 paper to 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 Poet made 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

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.
Jack McEvoy, the driving force of Michael Connelly's 2002 The Poet, is back. Times have not been good for this street-savvy crime journalist. Forced into an upcoming buyout by the struggling Los Angeles Times, he's determined to go out with a bang and a Pulitzer. He's certain that his ticket for fame is Alonzo Winslow, a teenage drug dealer trying to scrape his way out of a homicide and rape indictment. Eager to show how society spawned this killer, McEvoy starts probing more deeply into the case, beginning with Winslow's repudiated confession. The more he finds, the more he's convinced that the real killer is still out there.
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
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

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Jack McEvoy Series, #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.30(d)

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Scarecrow 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 303 reviews.
SteveKna More than 1 year ago
Michael Connelly really disappoints. All of those reviews lauding him as the greatest crime writer are outdated and in the past. He is not a great crime writer - this book is about as disjointed as a Ferrari engine running on a Ford Transmission. The two themes of the dying newspaper industry and our technology dependence did not jive with the murder plot. It was always so obvious when Connelly sprinkled in his sour opinions on the fate of newspapers, so obvious that it felt ill-placed in the book to the point that he was beating readers over the head with his viewpoints. Connelly claims to explore his characters in depth, but Jack McEvoy and Rachel Walling were about as one dimensional as James Patterson's characters. In fact, at points I thought I was reading a Patterson novel. Connelly has really lost his touch. And he created a book that felt rushed to print, full of cardboard characters, unbelievable plotlines that jump around and result in more unbelievable reactions from the characters. And the book strangely just - ENDED. There was no clever wrap-up except for an epilogue that read like a Reader's Digest snippet. Leaving so many unanswered questions and so many missed opportunities to explore the plot and the characters further. Too much energy focused on the dying newspapers that at some point, you almost wanted to turn the book over, look at Connelly's picture and say to it "Who cares Connelly, GET OVER IT AND GET ON WITH YOUR BOOK!" It was also very second-rate that this book was a rip-off of JEFFERY DEAVER's The Broken Window, published a year before the Scarecrow. The similarities were so obvious and striking that the dust jackets could almost have been interchanged with readers not being able to tell the two apart. It seems as though Connelly wanted to vent on his newspaper views, then became a story idea thief and used Deaver's plot as a schematic for his poorly written, half-baked imitation. And there is no explanation on the implausible antagonist. Why he does what he does is blown over with some strange child-abuse, one paragraph mentioning. It would have been more of a story to explore this guy called Carver then to read about McEvoy and his dying newspapers, or Rachel Walling and her childish on-again off-again association with the FBI. That stuff really does not happen that way. Do your research Connelly. HERE IS A NEWSFLASH FOR ALL OF YOU PROSPECTIVE READERS: The newspapers are one their way out, and so, too, is Michael Connelly. Pathetic writing and half-baked, copied ideas make this an unsatisfying, grossly overrated book - a sin and a let down to the craft of writing. Connelly can't get it together anymore.
BellalunaCA More than 1 year ago
I have read other books of Michael Connelly's and enjoyed them a lot more than this one. This one wanders all over and it was a chore to get through. He constantly refers to his previous book the Poet, which is unnecessary in my opinion. This book is not what I expected from the title and I was disappointed in it. A lot of the plot was just plain silly, especially about the FBI agent who gets fired, and then just rehired again. So in a word, skip it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read Scarecrow in one night. It was satisfying, engaging and completely forgettable. Like a potato chip, Scarecrow is a pleasure but has no nutritional value whatsoever. Also like a potato chip, it makes no promise it can't keep.
Cats505 More than 1 year ago
Actually, I did not like this book. It was too slow getting started and I lost interest in it. In fact, I never finished it and will probably give it away...
edofarrell More than 1 year ago
Connelly writes a good book and this is a good book. However the plot is pretty trite and I, for one, am getting tired of serial killers with near supernatural powers. Here we have a killer able to hack into any computer system in the world and wreak havoc. I work in the computer industry. This kind of childish fantasy just doesn't do it for me. It can't happen in the real world. But if you can sort of squinch your eyes at that kind of nonsense you do find an entertaining if overblown book. Hopefully Connelly will write a better, more believeable book the next time out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Michael Connelly weaves a tale of intrigue and murder using the high tech skills of a geek with a very serious personality dissorder. His murdering rampage has gone unnoticed until recent events lead a reporter to believe that there is a connection between the murder of two girls. Additional investigaion discovers that there may be many more than two, and that the common thread has been unnoticed for a very long time. Now that it has come to light, the killer has gone into high gear to cover up his trail. This book is hard to put down. There is some new twist or turn with every new page.
Kataman1 More than 1 year ago
Connelly delivers again with one of his early characters (Jack McEvoy) now paired with Rachel Walling who we last saw with Harry Bosch. McEvoy is told he is being let go from the his paper and has two weeks to train his replacement. Jack decides that he wants to go out with a bang and happens to follow-up on a tip from the mother of teen caught up in a murder that Jack reported. As Jack starts to probe he realizes that the teen couldn't have committed the crime and may be in fact innocent. Meanwhile the scene is switching back a forth with a place called "the Farm" where two hacker types are discussing attacking people trying to get into their system and also women subjects for other purposes. When Jack's replacement does a search on a web-site it sets off an alarm to the hackers who decide that Jack and his replacement need to be eliminated. Jack tries to enlist Rachel Walling's aid, since he knew her from the Poet case. As the hackers get close to carrying out their plan Rachel and Jack must save each other and try to find out who the bad guys are. The author uses third person when writing about the hackers and in investigative reporter first person when discussing Jack. This works very effectively. The tension is high throughout and there are some parts towards the end that have the excitement of the Fugitive movie as Jack must take the bad guys out. Jack seems to be more interesting than either of Connelly's other main characters, Harry Bosch and or The Lincoln Lawyer. I am hoping for more Jack tales in the near future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not Connelly's best work. Seemed to go on forever - and usually when I like a book, I don't want it to end . . . It certainly didn't seem worth paying the price for it - wait til it hits bargain price.
mysterywomannc More than 1 year ago
I've long been a Michael Connelly fan but I particularly loved this book. My husband and I listened to it in the audio version and were spell bound. It made the trip go so much faster. The characters were believable and the story holds your interest to the very end. Highly recommend this book!
PeggyBrooks More than 1 year ago
Scarerow is typical Michael Connelly. Interesting enough to keep you reading, but not a page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always enjoy Michael Connelly's books......but, this was a bit slow....good but, not up to his usual standards.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great Connelly book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But from library will now be able to avoid all in future by this author. Grafic details and too many unpleasant people unpleasant scenes and no humor so why read it buska
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It was hard to put down and go to bed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi Scarecrow... i havent met u before. Of ur wllwmoons mate your my daddy! But ur not active.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Flashfang! Flashfang!" She chants cheerfully.*~{Moondancer}~*
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sdCo More than 1 year ago
could not put this one down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely thought provoking.