Review Blog

Sep 15 2020

Fair Warning by Michael Connelly

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Jack McEvoy Book 3. Allen & Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760877989.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. Fans of Michael Connelly's journalist hero, Jack McEvoy, will be thrilled at his return in Fair Warning. With very current themes of the use and misuse of DNA and the need for consumer awareness, readers are in for a treat as Jack, a suspect in the murder of a woman he had had a one night stand with, begins to investigate and finds that he may have a serial killer in his sights. As he delves deeper into the case, he finds that there have been several unusual deaths from a broken neck and the one thing connecting them is the fact that they have all had their DNA tested by a small company that sells the DNA to other companies.
This reads well as a stand-alone, as Connelly gives enough background information about Jack, his past and his difficult relationship with Rachel, the woman he still longs for. Jack is now working for FairWarning, a news site reporting on consumer issues (in an Author's notes, the reader discovers that this is a real site and the editor Myron Levin is a real person.) Although a flawed character, Jack does recognise the things that he could improve, and the reader will feel empathy for him. Connelly's depiction of the skills necessary for working as a team member add to the interest in the story as Jack finds it difficult to collaborate with Emily, another member of FairWarning, and also to trust Rachel and her relationship with the FBI.
The misuse of DNA will scare anyone who has had DNA testing done to trace relatives as will the lack of oversight by authorities of the use and on-selling of DNA in the USA. There are lots of twists and turns, a vivid description of the process that Jack and his team go through to find out what is happening, and some scary moments as the serial killer starts to stalk Jack.
This is a compelling mystery that may well find readers who enjoyed it going back to read the others in the Jack McEvoy series, The poet and The scarecrow.
Pat Pledger

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