“The Scarecrow” by Michael Connelly features Jack McEvoy who has reached the end his career as a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times The newspaper is struggling with lowered revenue and increasing competition from on-line news; they can no longer afford him, so the paper has given him a two-week laid-off notice. Being a reporter until the end, he wants to go out with a big story, perhaps one worthy of The Pulitzer Prize.
He settles on the story a 16-year-old drug dealer from the projects accused of a brutal murder of one of his crack clients. He would write about how a dysfunctional society’s neglect created a 16-year-old killer. The story soon transforms into something much more complicated and sinister. McEvoy along with FBI agent Rachel Walling become embroiled in internet hacking, information theft, and serial murders across state lines.
This is Connelly at his best. The pace is fast, the characters genuine, and the action terrifying. The plot details, struggling national newspapers, identity theft, and internet crime are just as current today as they were a decade ago when this was written. At a recent appearance, Connelly stated that “The Scarecrow” was his favorite of the books he had written. I agree; this is my favorite as well.