cover image Fair Warning

Fair Warning

Michael Connelly. Little, Brown, $29 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-53942-5

Edgar-winner Connelly’s entertaining if subpar third thriller featuring L.A. reporter Jack McEvoy (after 2009’s The Scarecrow) finds McEvoy, once a bestselling true crime author, working for FairWarning, an online news site that focuses on consumer fraud. He’s pulled back into the world of violent crime when he becomes a person of interest in the murder of Christina Portrero, with whom he had a one-night stand a year earlier. Portrero was killed by “internal decapitation,” her head having been twisted 180 degrees. McEvoy volunteers a DNA sample, confident he’ll be quickly cleared, though the LAPD homicide detectives on the case don’t welcome McEvoy’s subsequent probing of the murder. McEvoy gets a break when he posts a question on the unusual killing method on a forum used by medical examiners and learns that several other women have recently been killed the same way. His theory that one person is responsible for all the deaths is buttressed after he discovers another connection among the victims. Connelly keeps things moving briskly, but neither the plot nor the lead is up to his usual high standard, and he doesn’t stick the landing. Fans will hope for a return to form next time. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary. (May)