Monday, August 16, 2010
Review of The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly (Orion, 2009)
Connelly is a crime writing heavyweight and thankfully, unlike some mega-sales writers, his books are generally consistently well written, plotted and entertaining. His writing is deceptively easy on the eye, honed through years of working as a crime journalist, and he draws extensively on his knowledge of the newspaper business, law enforcement and the legal system to provide, for the most part, a confident degree of realism. His dialogue is credible and his characters are well drawn. Where The Scarecrow has a weakness is with respect to the plot. It is all going fine up until the point where Rachel Walling is introduced, a plot device to hook McEvoy back up with his old partner. Connelly has a penchant for taking the lead characters from his many books and intersecting their lives, with mixed results. From here on in, the story becomes a little lame and formulaic with McEvoy and Walling throwing commensense and rationality out the window and The Scarecrow turns into a pretty ordinary serial killer who is caught without too much trouble, albeit through a sequence of events that provides some tension. Over the years, Connelly has set himself a very high tide mark in quality reading. The Scarecrow is an entertaining read, but it is certainly not his best work and might disappoint some fans.