‘The Scarecrow’ is watching in Connelly thriller

  Posting your profile on an Internet people-meeting site can get you killed. So can a company e-mail. That’s one of the messages  Michael Connelly delivers in "The Scarecrow" (May 2009, Little, Brown and Company), the latest thriller by the creator of the Harry Bosch novels.
  This time, the character hunting — and being hunted by — a killer is Jack McEvoy, a cop reporter for the Los Angeles Times. McEvoy has just been handed his walking papers. He’s losing his job to a younger, ambitious and cheaper employee in the latest round of corporate downsizing, and, to add insult to injury, editors want him to use his last two weeks at the paper to train his replacement. When an irate woman calls McEvoy to berate him over a story about her gangbanger grandson — "My boy wouldn’t kill anybody," she tells him — the reporter decides to go out in a blaze of glory by writing a seeds-of-crime, society’s fault-type story about the teen. It’ll win a Pulitzer. It’ll make the Times sorry it dumped him.
  But as McEvoy begins to nose around into the torture-murder that got the young gangbanger arrested, he begins to sense that the kid might be innocent, after all. A murder with glaring disturbing similarities brings him to Las Vegas. And he suddenly realizes that someone is watching everything he does, someone with the power to ruin his life, a ghostly presence able to kill in hideous ways, to target the innocent and to frame others for the killer’s monstrous acts.
   Is it possible for Connelly to write a bad book? He hasn’t done so thus far. And everyone who has used a computer, sent an e-mail, posted on a social networking site or counted on having credit cards to use on an out-of-town trip will find "The Scarecrow" distinctly unsettling. What can a hacker do to me, you might ask. This gripping mystery replies, what can’t he do?

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