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review 2020-06-28 19:51
The Scarecrow
The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly

The main reason why I am not giving this five stars is that it's a bit much that Jack keeps facing off against killers. It's okay that he's a reporter and that's it. Also the story gets a little lost at times I thought. It picks up when Jack meets Rachel again, but I wish that Connelly actually spent more time in going into Jack's life up until this book. We just get a really quick series of things dropped on us as readers. Jack is now divorced (to who?) is working for the paper (what happened to his book thing? We get that addressed eventually) what happened to his sister in law? What happened with his parents? There's a lot of things I still don't think got addressed int his one. I am glad I finished though since I plan to read the next book in this series soon.


"The Scarecrow" picks up 12 years after the events in the first book in the Jack McEvoy series. Jack is working for the Los Angeles Times and is number 99 on the list of journalists who are getting RIFed (I work for the government, we have a fear of that acronym). Jack is told to train his replacement (which ouch people) and decides on the last two weeks of the job to look into a case where a grandmother says her grandson did not murder a woman and leave her body in a trunk. Jack quickly runs down leads and realizes that it appears a serial killer is on the loose. He calls up ex-lover Rachel Walling who is still with the FBI. Rachel initially dismisses Jack, but soon enough realizes he may be telling the truth. The two of them go head to head with a serial killer who seems to know their every move.


So first off, I ended up liking Jack more in this one. The petulance of the character seems to be way down in this installment. He still tries to get indignant about things, but it didn't bug me as much as it did in the first book. We know that Jack has been keeping tabs on Rachel, and Rachel rightfully so has wanted nothing to do with him since the events in the first book. I liked the two of them together in this one and I definitely enjoyed it when Rachel explains about the whole "one bullet" theory. We get more characters in this one, but I have to say that I didn't really have interest in the "Scarecrow." Per usual we get some hints about the serial killer in this one, but nothing is ever definitely found in the end. I think I like Bosch novels more because at least with Harry, he's chasing down leads so you can see the full picture of the bad guy(s) that he is after.


The writing was good in this one, it's a bit different since Connelly rails at times about how the world of journalism has changed because of the internet. I wonder how Connelly would change up this book in the year of 2020 with so many newspapers and sites going under?


The flow was off a bit, since Connelly switches between Jack's POV and then the "Scarecrow.". Those sections were so short that you won't miss anything by skipping them. They started to read very repetitive after a while.


The ending leaves things on a new note with Jack and am interested to see how things work out in book #3. I do have to say that the book kind of loses steam at the last 10 percent. I just think Connelly wanted to throw in a twist without seeing if it worked and then we are left going wait did I miss something? This also I think is a bit shorter than his usual novels. I got to the 87 percent mark on my Kindle and that was it. The book just does sneak peeks and an interview with Connelly.

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review 2020-04-20 17:49
The Poet
The Poet: A Novel - Michael Connelly

Not too much to say here except this was kind of middling. This was one of the earlier Connelly books and he ended up inserting these characters into the larger Bosch world novels later on. They definitely worked better in a Bosch book than a Jack McEvoy book. I think it's because I honestly did not care for Jack. Some of his insights as we find are incorrect. He ends up doubting everything and everyone and is focused on not getting pushed out of the investigation. I also have to call BS that a reporter would even be allowed into a FBI manhunt for a serial killer but of course it makes sense when you get to the ending. 


"The Poet" follows Jack McEvoy who is left reeling after his twin brother's suicide. When Jack starts digging though, he ties his brother's investigation into a cold case to links to other suicides of police with cases they could not solve. When Jack stumbles upon a probable serial killer, he is pulled into the FBI investigation. He meets Special Agent Rachel Walling and her boss/supervisor Robert Backus along with some other FBI agents. Connelly also explores another point of view in this story, we follow William Gladden who is a pedophile that a link to the cases that Jack and the FBI is trying to solve.


The character of Jack, eh. I really didn't care for him. Comparing him to Bosch he was definitely just okay. Having an entire book about him and his hunt for the truth was kind of boring. I think mostly because Jack's reasons for staying involved with the case were not really noble. He says it's for his brother, but really it's for the story and glory of what he is getting involved with. His "insights" into things was laughable too. He goes and pesters people and starts notes, but when he is working with Rachel and others, they are the ones who are putting things together. I also didn't like the relationship with Rachel, probably because Jack was questioning it and her almost immediately about what did it mean and were they together. He seemed to be written in a way to fit whatever Connelly was trying to do and not really as a developed character. The Jack we meet at the beginning of the book didn't really seem the relationship type.

The other characters are so-so with regards to development. Gladden was developed very well and his sections were hard to read. I think the book would have worked better if we didn't see inside his head though. Just make the focus be on Jack like it usually is on Bosch for the Bosch books.


The writing was all over the place. I have to say certain things didn't make sense and the flow didn't help things. Jumping from Jack to Gladden was a lot to wade through (this book was 528 page) and I was glad to be done.

The setting of the book jumps all over and I can't even recall the cities/states right now. The ending didn't really work. Things get resolved with regards to the Poet in "The Narrows" though and I liked that one much better, I gave it 4 stars. I will read the next book in the McEvoy series soon, that's called "The Scarecrow." 

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review 2020-01-03 23:14
Talking Truth to Power
The Poet (Jack McEvoy #1) - Michael Connelly

“Death is my beat…” is the kind of dramatic opening at which Michael Connelly excels and it’s a fitting introduction to the main character of this 1996 novel, ‘Rocky Mountain News’ reporter, Jack McEvoy. I should perhaps stress that this is NOT a Harry Bosch detective story. Notwithstanding my intention to run down the lengthy Bosch series of novels, my learned friend and aficionado in such matters advised there was value in this (not so short) diversion that would see seeds sown, to be reaped later. Time will tell. However, the sure-footedness of the author’s writing style certainly made this standalone companion to my literary pilgrimage, worth paying homage to. Indeed, there are parallels between the detective and the journalist and just as Harry Bosch has previously found himself enmeshed in the FBI, so in this novel, it is the turn of Jack McEvoy to work alongside the Feds, in an investigation spanning a number of states.

The catalyst had been the death of Jack’s twin brother. The lead investigator on a horrific murder case, Detective Sean McEvoy had allegedly committed suicide, overwhelmed by the attendant emotional trauma. The evidence had been weighed quickly, to turn an embarrassing page for the local police department, only Jack wasn’t buying it. What if, instead of assuming suicide, it was assumed that Sean McEvoy was the victim of a homicide? Could the evidence support such a radically different interpretation? The police aren’t the only agency with investigative resources and by pulling hard on the loose threads, Jack begins to unravel a whole world of pain.

Not only is the dynamic flow of the plot reminiscent of the Bosch novels, in Jack McEvoy, the author has also embedded some very familiar traits. Intelligent, but stubborn, rebellious, but loyal, determined, but at times naive, there is something very satisfying about the maverick character cocking a snook at authority and in so doing establishing his integrity. Of course, as a former crime reporter for the LA Times, Michael Connelly is well-placed to lift the lid a little on the role of the investigative journalist and the inherent tensions between the guardianship of the public’s ‘right to know’ and those clandestine operatives tasked with keeping the public safe from harm, on a ‘need to know’ basis. With trust on both sides in short supply, the author also has fun with it, in the inevitable romantic incursion across boundaries. Though this lighter plotline perhaps eases the discomfort, which flows from the disturbing portrait of a clinical serial killer.

All-in-all a very satisfying, but challenging read and the sequel (‘The Narrows’) comes in at number ten in the Harry Bosch ‘hit parade’. In fact, last week the third book in the ‘Jack McEvoy series’ has been announced (‘Fair Warning’ due out in May 2020). This intertwining of characters and series is turning my simple trek through an interesting body of work into something of an odyssey, but the journey is made all the more interesting for it. Still, I am also indebted to my Twitter buddy @JoeBanksWrites who is up ahead on the reading list climb, like my very own literary sherpa! Next stop for me, Book 5, “Trunk Music” (1997). See you at the top!

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review 2011-02-09 00:00
The Scarecrow (Jack McEvoy, #2) - Michael Connelly Comment: I enjoy Michael Connelly's books, and this is no exception to that rule. I've read each and everyone of the Harry Bosch series novels, and of course, Mickey Haller, and Jack McEvoy as well. Synopsis: Jack McEvoy, ace newspaper reporter, and Rachel Walling, FBI Special Agent and some time consort of Harry Bosch, are the driving forces on the side of good in this sterling read. Connelly created a special antagonist in an earlier novel, The Poet. Three issues weave their ways through the novel. The main plot centers on the murders committed by someone who comes to be known as the Scarecrow Wesley Carver. He has a special way of killing, of course, but the police have not yet connected the dots; they have settled for the expedient solution. Computers figure heavily into the crimes as they provide a means of identifying potential victims. The problem is much more than a simple worm embedded into someone's computer, but it a very real concern both within the plot and in reality. A major plot device revolves around the newspaper business and the difficulties it is encountering even in real life. The face of this decline is Jack McEvoy who had won a Pulitzer for his reporting on The Poet. Now, he is number 99 in a planned reduction in force of 100 employees of the Los Angeles Times. Ironically, the fictional Rocky Mountain News that Jack worked for in The Poet has shut down in real life after 150 years.Jack has only 2 weeks before he is RIFFED when he receives a telephone call from the mother of a juvenile gang banger who is supposed to have confessed to killing a young woman. She says he is innocent. Jack does not believe her, but he senses the possibility of a very nice "going-away" story, one that will say to the bosses, "You made a big mistake letting me go." A very small bit of investigation convinces Jack that the juvenile, while clearly a criminal, is innocent of this charge. His further investigation brings him back in touch with Rachel, his former lover, whom the FBI had relegated to a backwater office. She has just rehabilitated herself and is now back in the mainstream of the agency. However, her participation with Jack creates new problems, resulting in her suspension and resignation.Will Jack save his job? Will Rachel save hers? Will the Scarecrow be caught? It takes only two pages to learn that Wesley Carver is the metaphorical scarecrow who minds the rows of "crops," banks of servers on a computer farm. Normally, this would be the good guy who ensures that data remain safe, but we learn right away that he crushes and destroys anyone who attempts to breech his security net. Is he the Scarecrow of the title or just a symbol? The final answer to that question is not delivered until near the end. Our journey to these revelations makes for a book that simply begs to be read and enjoyed as quickly as possible.
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review 2010-06-12 00:00
The Scarecrow (Jack McEvoy, #2) - Michael Connelly I have tried to read several Michael Connelly books and they just don't rock my boat. I find Jack McEvoy to be blowhardish and overly dramatic so I will probably just pass on this series and decide Connelly's writing just isn't my cup of tea!
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