Saturday, May 30, 2009
Uncle Ben's Book Blog: The Scarecrow
I've been reading Michael Connelly since I first read The Black Echo (Connelly's first novel) several years ago. His main character has been the homicide detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch (the choice of name is deliberate: see selections of Bosch's paintings online). Bosch is not in this work. Rather, the main character is Jack McEvoy, a reporter for the LA Times, who, about the time he gets laid off (budget cuts) as a reporter, stumbles into a serial murder case. McEvoy has figured in a couple of earlier Connelly novels.
The story is compelling and fast-paced, well up to Connelly's highest standards. Also along for the ride this time is FBI agent Rachel Walling, who has appeared in a number of previous Connelly novels.
I won't tell you any more about the plot, since it is relatively standard for serial killer murder mysteries. If you like serial killer stories, you'll enjoy this one. If you don't, read it for Connelly's killer prose.
There are two primary subtexts to the story as well. The first is the demise of the newspaper largely due to the Internet, which is clearly close to Connelly's heart, having previously been a crime reporter. The other is the dangerously intrusive nature of the Internet and related technology. I remember when the Sandra Bullock movie The Net came out, techies were pooh-poohing it, saying that the things depicted couldn't be done. I'm not so sure that's the case anymore, and there's a cautionary tale here for those who would carelessly spread their lives on the net for all to see.