National Press Club

Connelly Explores the News Biz in New Mystery-Thriller, "Scarecrow"

June 4, 2009 | By Jan King

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A police officer's story about an "almost perfect crime" was the basis for Michael Connelly's new novel, "Scarecrow," the author told an NPC audience Wednesday.

Connelly said he fleshed out the idea after an FBI agent told him how the Internet has become a social network for people with aberrant desires looking for a community of like-minded people to explore their dark sides. After seeing an episode of the TV show, The Wire, about a newspaper story, Connelly said he put all the elements together and came up with the plot for "Scarecrow." He brought back his protagonist from 14 years ago, Jack McEvoy, and the story took form.

"Scarecrow" is a mirror of what is happening in a crumbling newspaper business, Connelly said. He said the mystery-thriller doesn't offer solutions for the dilemma but exposes the truth of the situation.

Connelly has written 20 books in the past 14 years. For 14 years before becoming an author, he was a reporter for the L.A.Times. Connelly said his desire early in life to become a crime and mystery novelist propelled him into becoming a reporter. At the L.A. Times, he said, he honed his writing skills and got entree into the police department.