Fair Warning by Michael Connelly

While I was on holiday last month, I took the chance to catch up on my reading and started with Fair Warning by one of my favourite authors, Michael Connelly.

The Blurb

Jack McEvoy is a reporter with a track record in finding killers. But he’s never been accused of being one himself.

Jack went on one date with Tina Portrero. The next thing he knows, the police are at his house telling Jack he’s a suspect in her murder.

Maybe it’s because he doesn’t like being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Or maybe it’s because the method of her murder is so chilling that he can’t get it out of his head.

But as he uses his journalistic skills to open doors closed to the police, Jack walks a thin line between suspect and detective – between investigation and obsession – on the trail of a killer who knows his victims better than they know themselves.

Riveting, original and terrifying – this masterpiece from Michael Connelly is the best thriller you will read this summer.

The Review

I was interested to read Fair Warning because most of the Michael Connelly books I’ve read have been Harry Bosch books. In this one, the protagonist is a journalist, Jack McEvoy. He is drawn into a murder enquiry after he becomes a suspect. Jack is working for Fair Warning, a non-profit consumer protection news website run by Myron Levin, which exists in reality. The story focuses on the complexities and terrifying possibilities that having an all too unregulated genetic analytics industry with its lack of governmental oversight, the responsibility of which falls under the remit of the FDA, poses to society. Jack is shocked when he finds himself a suspect for the murder of Tina Portrero, a woman who had picked him at his local bar for a one night stand a year ago. Tina had been killed by Atlanto-Occipital Dislocation, where her neck is twisted so hard that her spine is severed, a most unusual way of murdering anyone.

The LAPD detectives Mattson and Sakai treat Jack harshly, taking his DNA for elimination purposes, and on discovering Jack is investigating Tina’s murder, respond by issuing threats, severe harassment, and arrest. It turns out that TIna had been cyber stalked, been creeped out by meeting a strange man in a bar who appeared to know far too much about her, and had recently found out she had a half sister on submitting her DNA to the cheapest private DNA testing company, GT23. GT23 openly sold on the DNA analysis of their clients for huge profits to a myriad of customers, ostensibly anonymously, but acknowledging that there was a possibility their systems and security may not fool-proof, to ensure they avoid liability. Jack reconnects with the love of his life, Rachel Walling, former FBI special agent and profiler, a relationship with a long history of hope and hurt, but which he just cannot help sabotaging. Jack, a fellow reporter and Rachel find there are other women in the country who had been killed with the same MO, pointing to the existence of a dangerous serial killer called The Shrike.

Connelly writes of the rise in misogyny and the high numbers of men in Incel groups, driven by their hatred of women to denigrate and abuse, act violently and even murder, here illegally accessing DNA information that includes the identification of a specific gene associated with addictions. This is a thrillingly entertaining crime read, touching on issues that need to have stricter governmental oversight and monitoring.

I won’t give any spoilers, but Fair Warning is definitely worth a read.

The Author

Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty-five foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction.

His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller.

His most recent New York Times bestsellers include The Law Of Innocence, Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of Truth, and The Late Show. Michael is the executive producer of Bosch, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, “Sound Of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story’ and ‘Tales Of the American.’ He spends his time in California and Florida.

Val Penny


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