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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start - but a bit of a let down near the end.
Michael Connelly is easily one of the best crime fiction authors working today and The Scarecrow is a solid read, although I have to admit that after a great start the ending is a bit of let down. It isn't that the ending is bad (it isn't) - it's just that it follows a standard formula and was just too 'ordinary'.

The first half of The Scarecrow is...
Published on July 16, 2009 by J. Norburn

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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The big "D"
The Scarecrow
Michael Connelly can write, and in the first half of his "the Scarecrow" much of his ability comes out. The start of the story moves well, suspense builds and the character development works. Cyber stalking kicks in and I was "trapped" in the suspense of how powerful - and powerless Jack McEvoy became with the abilities of the stalker to literally...
Published on July 17, 2009 by Living Life -


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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start - but a bit of a let down near the end., July 16, 2009
By 
J. Norburn (Quesnel, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Scarecrow (Hardcover)
Michael Connelly is easily one of the best crime fiction authors working today and The Scarecrow is a solid read, although I have to admit that after a great start the ending is a bit of let down. It isn't that the ending is bad (it isn't) - it's just that it follows a standard formula and was just too 'ordinary'.

The first half of The Scarecrow is exceptionally good. Connelly gives readers an insider's look at the inner workings of the newspaper business and the devastating effect that the internet and 24 hour cable news is having on it. I appreciated that our hero, reporter Jack McEvoy, starts chasing a story for reasons that are not entirely noble. When the grandmother of a gang member charged with murder insists her grandson is innocent, Jack follows up, not intending to prove the boy innocent, but rather to gain access to the family so he can profile the mind of a young killer. Of course, he does find evidence that leads the story in a different direction.

The greatest strength of Connelly's fiction is how thorough he is as a writer. For example: the killer is planning to frame someone (I don't want to give too much away) and Connelly has him address any holes in his plan, like the transportation of a firearm. Lesser authors would simply ignore the problem(s) and assume that readers wouldn't notice or would be willing to overlook the inconsistancies. Connelly though has his killer find a solution so that his plan is as realistic as possible. I appeciate that. I also appreciate that McEvoy and his partner FBI agent Rachel Walling don't just stumble around - they actually investigate, detect, and solve things. The criminals are intelligent too, which makes for a refreshingly smart read.

Unfortunately, after an exceptional start, it's as if Connelly switches onto autopilot for the second half of the novel and follows the Serial Killer Novel Playbook to the letter. Connelly uses one of the standard ploys of crime fiction: notably the `hero realizes the truth when he sees, hears, or says something unrelated to the crime that triggers a sudden epiphany, allowing him to save the day at the last possible moment." The other issue that I had with the final part of the novel is the behavior of the killer when he realizes that Jack and Rachel are onto him. He's been so cool and calculating throughout the novel but then over-reacts faced with Jack's flimsy `evidence'.

Is The Scarecrow worth reading? Absolutely. True, the ending was a bit of a let down after such a great start, but at least there was a great start and it wasn't that big of a let down. 3 ¾ stars.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're Not In The Emerald City Any Longer SCARECROW!!!!, July 16, 2009
By 
Nancy Martin (Pennsylvania (orig. NY)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Scarecrow (Hardcover)
I added this up last night and discovered that I have read more books by Michael Connelly (15) than any other author I've read. So I guess one could say I'm a huge fan. The amazing thing is that they were all five star books (except for Chasing The Dime, of course). I find this almost hard to believe but it's true. And I'm actually one of the readers who started reading Connelly before his real fame came into being with the publication of The Poet.

I guess it's only fair then that his latest offering features journalist Jack McEvoy....the same Jack McEvoy who appeared in The Poet. Connelly's true fans have been awaiting a reappearance by one of their favorite characters for years now and in The Scarecrow, Jack's return does not disappoint for one minute. I loved this book from the beginning to the end.

Having started his career as a journalist, I'm sure this book is close to Connelly's heart as he watches the slow demise of the newspaper industry. The fact that technology is killing newspapers becomes only too clear as the book starts off with Jack getting a pink slip from the LA Times. But "our" Jack is intent on going out with a bang and makes it his business to come up with one last story that will be Pulitzer prizeworthy. He will set out to prove that a sixteen year old gang member is not guilty of the murder for which he is being accused. The good news to Jack's fans is that he will need to ask FBI agent Rachel Walling for her help as he starts to get too close to the answer to the mystery and much too close to The Scarecrow. Their "coupling" in this book is well worth the wait as they make such a great team.

We learn at the beginning of the book who the real villain is and I enjoy when an author does this because I then get to follow the thoughts of the "bad guy" right up front. As Jack is closing in on The Scarecrow, we get to view this villain as he becomes a bird being scared by a scarecrow as opposed to the opposite way around. I enjoyed all of the Wizard of Oz references in the book as well. At one point, music is playing in the background and it's Eric Clapton in concert singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." In addition, the city editor of the LA Times where Jack works is "Dorothy" Fowler and guess where's she originally from....you guessed right...Kansas. I also love when an author references one of his other books within the book I'm reading. In this case, Jack mentions reading a series of stories about a lawyer who did his business out of a Lincoln. Nice shoutout to Mickey Haller of The Lincoln Lawyer fame.

Unlike other authors who don't have Connelly's talent, he doesn't have to make his stories so convoluted that you can't even understand them. He also doesn't resort to having the villain be one of the investigators as so many other authors "cop out" and do. He writes a clear-cut story from start to finish and it's always one you can't put down. I always comment that I read very few books in a given year that would get a "10" rating from me. In the mystery/thriller category, this is one for 2009, a "Big 10". The only other two books in this genre that I've read this year and have also received a "10" rating from me were The Lincoln Lawyer and The Brass Verdict. Surprise, surprise, they were also written by Connelly. This is obviously one satisfied fan.
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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The big "D", July 17, 2009
This review is from: The Scarecrow (Hardcover)
The Scarecrow
Michael Connelly can write, and in the first half of his "the Scarecrow" much of his ability comes out. The start of the story moves well, suspense builds and the character development works. Cyber stalking kicks in and I was "trapped" in the suspense of how powerful - and powerless Jack McEvoy became with the abilities of the stalker to literally shut out the reporter from society; financially, identity theft and literally a man out in the cold. Now comes the big Disappointment: 1/2 way throught the book everything grinds to a halt. Connelly could not decide whether this story was about cyber-stalking, cold blooded (and brutal) murder, or an egomaniac of a criminal. The plot drags. Is predictable and I quickly lost interest in reading. The ending is one that has been rehashed over and over. I suggest reading some of his earlier works or another author's work...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not His Best, But Good!, July 16, 2009
By 
fjmcmm (Gardena, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Scarecrow (Hardcover)
Admittedly, this is not the topnotch writing that I've come to expect from my favorite author, but I liked the story just the same. Yes, this is no "Poet", but for me he's entitled to stumble once. And it was a minor stumble, because for the first time this story wasn't as compelling as the many other novels by Mr Connelly. And I've read them all. And I anxiously wait for the next.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Potboiler, June 21, 2009
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This review is from: The Scarecrow (Kindle Edition)
I have been reading and enjoying Michael Connelly's novels for many years. However, this is the first time I really had to work at getting through one of his stories. The plot was very predictable: there is a sociopathic killer with bizarre fetishes. Our heroes go after him. The rest is pure formula and very predictable. FBI Agent Rachel Walling was particularly cardboard. And McEvoy was indistinct from Connelly's Harry Bosch character--- the dialogue and thoughts could have been written for either character. I'm hoping that Mr. Connelly's next book is a little more creative. What was worthwhile were the descriptions of life in the moribund newspaper business. These were the book's saving grace.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Loving Obituary for American Newspapers, August 10, 2009
By 
Hershel Parker (Morro Bay, California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Scarecrow (Hardcover)
This is one of Connelly's best mysteries. It is also an obituary for all newspapers, although focused on the Los Angeles TIMES. Not everyone will grieve with Connelly as I do. I was in email contact with an editor at the LA TIMES on a day when 140 people were let go. I have spent months, all told, in the old NYPL Annex and many other libraries reading nineteenth-century newspapers, my head in a microfilm reader or standing in pain over low flat tables turning big pages or, very rarely, working at a high slanted stand kind to the back. I have a special love of American papers when 10 or 12 papers were in tough competition and another 20 or 25 catered to special audiences. Many, many other readers of Connelly will bring their own newspaper history to THE SCARECROW, and grieve in their way. This is a fine mystery, but it is more. This early tribute to the vanishing newspaper may remain one of the most heartbreaking anyone ever writes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Scarecrow, July 13, 2009
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This review is from: The Scarecrow (Kindle Edition)
Big Connelly/Bosch fan. Maybe cause for feeling less than fulfilled with McEvoy at the end. Racheal and FBI cohorts seem inept. Above average quick read delivered from almost anyone else, but I expect more from Connelly.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Stinker From Connelly, February 25, 2010
By 
zorba (Bala Cynwyd, Pa USA) - See all my reviews
Wow, what a lousy book by one of the best authors around. I guess he had to grind out a book to fulfill a contract obligation or something, but this book was lame from beginning to end. Connelly ought to stick to writing about Bosch or the Lincoln Lawyer. McEvoy seems to bring out the author's worst qualities. I found the book wanting on many fronts: unrealistic plot, lousy characterization, too much serendipitous coincidences to move the plot forward, a weak ending, and so on and so forth. It pains me to find one of my favorite authors serving up such a bomb. He can do a lot better -- a lot better!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I want in a thriller, December 20, 2009
This review is from: The Scarecrow (Hardcover)
I bought The Scarecrow one miserable Thursday afternoon as a purely escapist read. Something to take the mind off the nonsense the world at large was creating. And it worked, as I hoped it would. The pages flew by and nothing else mattered - phones rang, people yelled and the dishes didn't get done... Too bad it had to come to an end.

Connelly is a solid writer who spins a great tale of imperfect good and purely evil evil. The plot is tight, the dialogue a joy to read, and the narration allows for identification with Jack McEvoy while watching the villain from up close and personal.

Great fun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and not scared by The Scarecrow, September 13, 2009
This review is from: The Scarecrow (Hardcover)
I purchased quite a few books prior to some scheduled surgery and rehab and one was Connelly's "The Scarecrow" in hardcover! Usually I am more frugal, but then I thought he is usually good so damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. A shame, really. I did not care for "The Scarecrow" and found my mind wandering as I really tried to become interested in this reporter who was being downsized and wanted to go out with one big story under his belt. The one interesting character was killed off early (don't want to spoil for those who have not read the book) and my interest went downhill also. Connelly is capable of writing a much more compelling book and perhaps I just like Bosch more than McEvoy. I am also tired of Rachel and her FBI persona. We knew who the bad guys were, but I did not find the pursuit at all compelling. It was more like a formula book (as someone else has written) and the author went through the motions. He could have fleshed it out more, and I make a comparison here with Jeff Deaver's "The Broken Window," which also concerned some identity theft information and which was SO excellent I did not want to finish it. The Scarecrow was a waste of my money and time. I am pleased it satisfied some of Connelly's fans, but it just didn't make the grade with me. If you want a good writer, check out Michael Robotham who is new on the horizon and really writes, really!!!! I also purchased several of his books and he did not disappoint.
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The Scarecrow
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
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