I finished Michael Connelly’s new excitmobook, The Scarecrow, in part because I want to be an honest book reviewer, not one who scans a volume, perhaps reading the first and last pages, and who then concocts a bit of fiction for the pages of the local paper confident no one will ever read either the faux review or its subject. Duty to you, reader, drove me forward. But more than duty, burning curiosity motivated my need to scan each and every page of the thriller. Would the good guys win? Would the bad guys lose?
Because the good guy portions of the story are narrated in the first person I was fairly certain the narrator at least survived to tell the tale, but hasn’t Agatha Christie so cleverly shown us how there is no convention of novel writing that cannot be subverted to the purpose of tricking the reader? See Dame Agatha’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd if you don’t believe me.
And so I breezed through the bloody tale of Jack McEvoy and Rachel Walling (a crime reporter and an FBI agent respectively) as they closed in on Mr. Scarecrow and his scheme involving the use of his data storage company to snare hapless dancin’ girls. (Not a spoiler. Revealed in the opening pages.) Having done so, I am able to report to you with a clean conscience that Connelly delivers again. You liked Void Moon? You will like The Scarecrow. You liked Chasing the Dime? You will like, etc.
I was so caught up in the action — including guns-aplenty, surprise corpse discovery, an endangered pooch, a knife vs lamp fight, a thirteen story plunge, a CO2 gas attack, a deteriorating banana, and a menacingly brandished shovel — that I sped right on by the final page of the book, like Wile E. Coyote running off the edge of a cliff, and was startled by back cover author photo. Reader, I screamed!
by Michael Connelly
(Little Brown and Company, Hardcover, 448pp.)