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.