Fair Warning by Michael Connelly

‘People call me the Shrike.’

Veteran reporter Jack McEvoy now works for Fair Warning, a not for profit consumer protection news site.  It has been a few years since his best-selling books were published and royalties are shrinking.  His lifestyle reflects his decreased income.  One night as he arrives home, he is met by two LAPD police officers.  A woman with whom he once had a one-night stand, has been brutally murdered.  The woman’s neck was twisted so hard that she died of an Atlanto-occipital dislocation.  Before she died, the victim had confided in a friend that she was being cyber-stalked.

Jack is interviewed because he knew the woman.  Although he knows he is innocent, he is curious about the case.  Jack starts investigating and makes a discovery.  He is sure that there is a story in it.  But his editor is not so sure, and the police consider him a suspect.

Jack’s investigations lead him to conclude that there are several remarkably similar deaths.  Deaths of women which seem to have one thing in common. 

Jack, working with his old partner Rachel Walling and his Fair Warning colleague Emily, is convinced that he’s looking at a serial killer who is somehow using genetic testing to find his victims.

‘Genetic testing was a self-regulating industry with very few if any government eyes upon it.

And that was a news story.’

I really enjoyed this novel.  It is one of the best of Mr Connelly’s recent novels.  Jack McEvoy is one of my favourite Connelly characters, and I liked the way this story developed.  The DNA testing aspect of the story captured my attention and held it until the end.

‘Most of the time, journalism is simply an exercise in reporting a situation of public interest.  It is rare that it leads to the toppling of a corrupt politician, a change in the law, or the arrest of a rapist.’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith