‘Fair Warning’: This is a good read

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Wow. Just WOW.

I’ve been a fan of Michael Connelly’s for a long time, but I think he just ramped it up a few notches with his latest book, the very aptly named “Fair Warning.” 

Reporter Jack McEvoy is back on the beat – he’s working for FairWarning, a watchdog website that covers consumer fraud to alert the public to dangers. But Jack is, at heart, a murder reporter, and when he hears about a woman whose cause of death is unusual, to say the least, he jumps into the case wholeheartedly. 

What he finds is this woman is just one who’s been killed in the same way over a period of time; all the deaths cleverly disguised so not even the authorities are aware there could very well be a serial killer out there. 

Jack’s dealt with killers before, but even he’s shocked when he discovers the women’s deaths weren’t random – the killer hunted them by their DNA.

Jack teams up with a fellow reporter at FairWarning and contacts Rachel Walling for her profiling skills, even though they haven’t seen each other in years. 

They need every advantage they can get to track a killer whose name and face – and next target – they don’t know. A killer who is still on the hunt and could be onto them. 

If you want to read a story with up-to-the-minute implications and a plotline permeated with urgency and a race-against-time vibe that makes you turn pages, pick up “Fair Warning.” 

Connelly is best known for his Harry Bosch stories and Lincoln Lawyer stories, and to be honest, I’ve always liked the Bosch novels best, but Connelly has used current events to make Jack a front runner as a lead character. 

This novel grabbed me on two fronts: DNA and journalism. The first one should scare the crap out of people; the second I hope will educate them.

Connelly took a topic that’s all over the news, DNA, and brought out a side that most people would never think about: what happens when someone has your DNA – your very specific, personally identifying DNA that is supposed to be anonymous – and uses it for a purpose you had no idea was possible, let alone gave your consent for. 

What’s even more terrifying is folks are voluntarily turning in their DNA and signing over their rights; it’s not being stolen for these purposes. The implications are horrifying. This is something everyone should read before submitting their DNA for testing.

Telling this story from the point of view of a reporter gave Connelly the opportunity to explain the profession. Connelly is a former crime reporter and I’ve always admired the way he’s used that knowledge to give nuanced details to reporters and news in his novels. A lot of novelists, you can tell they don’t have the first clue of how a reporter does their job; Connelly lived it. His passion for the profession and how reporters serve the public comes through very clearly in the voice of Jack McEvoy. 

There’s a reason a free press is guaranteed in the Constitution, and Connelly – through Jack – makes the case for why reporters have to have a free rein to do their jobs with no outside influence or interference from anyone. Others might have an agenda, but a reporter’s duty is to keep the public informed so they can protect themselves.

Although Connelly has been a best-selling novelist for years, he’s still active in the journalism world, so his viewpoints on the profession are up-to-the-minute. Fair Warning is not just a plot point in the book, it’s a real news site for watchdog reporting on consumer issues and Connelly serves on the board of directors, according to the Author’s Note. For more information, visit FairWarning.org online.

If you want to start at the beginning of Jack’s journey, read “The Poet” (1996) and “The Scarecrow” (2009). Jack’s popped up in a couple other Connelly books, too. You might as well start at the beginning of Connelly’s books with “The Black Echo” (1992), which is the first Harry Bosch book. 

Connelly’s latest book “The Law of Innocence” is due out Nov. 10 and it’s the latest in the Mickey Haller series which starts with “The Lincoln Lawyer” (2005). For more information, visit michaelconnelly.com or your local library. 

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