As soon as I’m done writing this post, I’m going to change all of the passwords in my life, take down my blog, get off of LinkedIn, and remove my faculty Insite page. The methodical cool with which the Scarecrow drills through his victim’s lives to discover the keys to their electronic existence is better than any scared straight intervention you may have seen. Now I just have to figure out a way to remember x35LJss3011zTU09…and oh yeah, never visit any web site that you find on Google.
In Connelly’s latest The Scarecrow, he brings back the unlikely team of reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI Agent Rachel Walling whom we last looked in on in The Poet. At the end of days at the dying LA Times, Jack decides to write one last front page story before his furlough. As he begins to assemble his notes, Jack finds the murder of a dancer being pinned on a banger from the projects is not all it seems. As it would for all of us, the research begins at the keyboard where the evil lies in wait.
The trail leads into the deserts of Nevada and Arizona and into the unseen world of the hardened data center. The denizens of the server farm are frightening in new way as you sit back to think about the digital trail you left this morning. Did you actually think that the things you were looking at and reading were secret? Do you look for the lock icon when you start to type in your credit card number? Do you really trust it? Piecing together the clues left all over like a messy desk, the criminal minds here are able to shut down an entire life. In Jack’s case, as he begins to nose around where he shouldn’t he finds his credit cards canceled, his phone turned off, and his bank account drained.
Here’s where the trouble starts with this book. Connelly lets McEvoy deal with these things far too casually. Where most of us would be apoplectic if any one these three events struck us, Jack just motors on as if they were a minor inconvenience and, the way his new cards appear the next day, they seemed to be. While the story and plot are good, too many things in this tale are convenient or just too simple. I won’t even touch on the knife fighting skills of the reporter when up against a remorseless, psychopathic murderer.
Connelly never disappoints in his story telling and The Scarecrow is the perfect summer read. The tease of Walling and McEvoy Investigations Inc. holds a lot of promise. Something to think about while we wait for Harry Bosch to reappear in the Fall.