Cover Image: Fair Warning

Fair Warning

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Member Reviews

[Jack McEvoy #3]


I've not yet read THE POET or THE SCARECROW,  though I intend to, so FAIR WARNING was my first introduction to Michael Connelly's series protagonist journalist Jack McEvoy. Mr. Connelly had been a journalist before becoming a full-time author,  so he knows whereof he writes. Jack is quite a person of integrity, once enduring 63 days in jail on a contempt of court charge for refusing to reveal his source. Now employed at a consumer watchdog website, FairWarning [an actual organization and website], Jack discovers a horrifying series of killings,  when homicide detectives tap him as a contact of a murdered woman. Jack knows his innocence,  and determines to track the guilty, actually a serial killer.
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Michael Connelly is most famous for creating Detective Harry Bosch, but the author's newspaperman Jack McEvoy, introduced in 2003's The Poet, is no less arresting. When McEvoy chases a story, he's just as relentless as Bosch on a case. In Fair Warning, McEvoy's first appearance after 2009's The Scarecrow, he identifies the chilling link between the deaths of four women.

McEvoy now works at FairWarning, a real-life consumer watchdog news site. A chance encounter with a woman who ends up murdered plunges McEvoy into an investigation in which he discovers recently killed women all submitted DNA samples to the same company for analysis. This puts him in the killer's crosshairs and, due to McEvoy's liaison with one of the victims, the LAPD also considers him a suspect. He contacts former colleague Rachel Walling for help but must tread carefully, because on a previous story he destroyed her FBI career and their romantic relationship. The two still have trust issues, but must work together in order to snare a vicious killer who's already targeted his next victims.

Connelly (The Late Show), a former journalist, excels in making investigative reporting as enthralling as any action scene. Fair Warning shines a spotlight on the shocking lack of government oversight in the field of DNA analysis and ancestry identification. Patrons who submit samples have no control or knowledge of where their DNA ends up, and Connelly spins a skin-crawling, cutting-edge mystery about the dangerous ways the data can be mined. The scariest part? According to the author's note, the depictions of genetic research and government oversight are based on fact. Fair warning, indeed.
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As always, Connelly does a fantastic job at pulling the reader in and keeping the momentum going.  I love the characters in this series.  The storyline regarding DNA genetic testing was kind of scary because it feels like something like that could so easily happen in real life.  My only complaint is that I would have liked to have the bad guy be a little bit more developed.
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The third book in the Jack McVoy has him investigating from the first page when detectives informed him that he’s a person of interest in a murder. Eventually McVoy finds his investigation leading him to DNA research and the dark web. Lots of creepy stuff and readers will be satisfied with the end.
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Michael Connelly is a best-selling author for a reason.  His books suck you in immediately, and keep you up all night reading.  This book doesn't feel like it has anything extraneous or filler - it's just a tight thriller that goes by quickly.  A good book!
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Bestselling author Michale Connelly has created iconic characters, including Detective Harry Bosch, Mickey Haller, the Lincoln lawyer, and Detective Renée Ballard, who have been featured in his thirty-four bestselling novels. It may seem surprising that Fair Warning marks only the third appearance of Jack McEvoy, the tenacious reporter in The Poet and The Scarecrow. Through Jack's adventures, Connelly has depicted the state of journalism in America. The Poet was published in 1996, but by the time The Scarecrow appeared in 2009, the industry had changed dramatically. As newspapers struggled to reinvent themselves in order to survive in the digital age, journalists found themselves doing the same thing, often after losing jobs they had held for decades.

In Fair Warning, Jack has been forced to reimagine his own career as an investigative reporter. The book's title comes from the consumer watchdog internet news site where he has been employed for four years. A far cry from the massive Los Angeles Times, where Jack was previously a crime reporter, FairWarning is just a five-person organization. The site displays a donate button prominently on the page of every news story, and the editor, Myron Levin, spends most of his time seeking donors and placing stories as co-projects with bigger news organizations. 

Jack is justifiably dismayed by the current attacks on his profession, but knows that Myron is "undaunted, unprejudiced, and therefore [will] not be intimidated." So even though Jack has been forced to downside his lifestyle -- incoming royalties from his books have slowed to a trickle and his salary at FairWarning is a fraction of what he once earned -- he knows "for the first time in a long time" that he is in "the right place."

In Fair Warning, finding the truth is particularly personal to Jack because he finds himself a person of interest in a murder investigation. As the story opens, a woman with whom he had a one-night stand a year ago is brutally murdered. When the police link her to Jack and two ambitious LAPD detectives pay him a visit, he learns the cause of death was internal decapitation. Shortly before her death, the victim confided to her best friend that she felt she was being digitally stalked, claiming a man she met in a bar seemed to know things about her he should not have known. Jack is intrigued not only because of his encounter with the decedent, but the unusual way in which she died. His research leads him to a an online forum for coroners and medical examiners where he learns that atlanto-occipital dislocation (AOD or internal decapitation) is a rare form of death, but there have been a few other unsolved cases in various U.S. locations. He also delves into the issue of cyberstalking, and reaches out to the friend to whom the dead woman divulged her discomfort about how much a supposed stranger seemed to know about her. 

Jack quickly finds himself immersed in the investigation and trying to convince Myron that the story actually fits into FairWarning's stated mission. He discovers a commonality among the women who died as a result of AOD: each of them provided a sample to a company called GT23, a low-budget alternative providing DNA analysis in exchange for agreeing that samples submitted may be sold to and used anonymously by research facilities and biotech firms. Jack's research reveals that there is "virtually no government oversight and regulation in the burgeoning field of genetic analytics. . . . And that was a news story." 

Connelly lays out the steps Jack takes to investigate the case via his first-person narration. As he relentlessly and meticulously follows the clues he uncovers, Jack realizes that he is on the trail of a story that has his "blood moving with an addictive momentum." It's a feeling he hasn't known for quite some time, and it's "good to have that feeling back." Connelly also includes third-person descriptions of the movements of Hammond, an unscrupulous lab technician, and a killer who calls himself the Shrike, a moniker adopted because a shrike is a bird that silently stalks and attacks from behind. The shrike grips its victim's head in its beak and snaps it viciously. 

No one writes a better police procedural novel than Connelly, and he brings that same deft timing of revelations and taut story construction to Fair Warning, along with an intimate look at Jack's frustrations and emotional journey. Now fifty-eight years old, Jack has remained single since he and Rachel Walling last broke up. The former FBI agent now operates RAW Data Services, providing background investigations to various businesses and organizations. It's not what she wants to be doing -- she loved being an FBI agent, but that career came to an abrupt end in a prior installment of the McEvoy series. Now she and Jack haven't seen each other for at least a year, but Jack seeks her advice and assistance with his investigation. Connelly tenderly and believably portrays their complicated history, and the seemingly insurmountable barriers to their relationship's success. It is an excrutiatingly heartbreaking story, and intriguing accompaniment to the murder mystery. Rachel told Jack years earlier about her theory of romance: everyone has one special person out in the world who can "pierce their heart like a bullet." For Jack, Rachel's name is "on the bullet that pierced me." Can they make it work this time?

Fair Warning is a contemporary, cautionary story about the dangers of releasing private information pertaining to one's DNA into the hands of a commercial enterprise that may be controlled by persons with unethical, immoral interests. It's a compelling step-by-step exploration of the gritty work required of investigative journalists, especially on a complex case fraught with peril. It's also a timely commentary on the value and importance of dedicated, independent journalists who devote themselves to finding and publishing the truth so their informed audience members can make up their own minds about the issues confronting society. 

In short, it's Connelly at his best. He delivers yet another gripping, compulsively readable, entertaining mystery that leaves readers wanting more stories involving Jack McEvoy.
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I have read every single one of Michael Connelly's books... One of my favorites was The Poet... Gripping and suspenseful so was thrilled to see the return of Jack McEvoy... Fabulous book and escape in these times... Loved the twists and turns... So many character ties in all Connelly's books I sometimes wish there was a character summary and which books they were in to refer to! Overall, a great weekend read to get absorbed in. Keep them coming!
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This is the newest release from Connelly, who is an award winning best selling American author.  This newest mystery thriller sees the return of  Jack McEvoy who was previously featured in 'The Poet' and 'The Scarecrow'.  It is not necessary to have read the previous books to enjoy this one.  The plot begins when Jack is considered a person of interest in the murder of a woman.  As a journalist he uses his resources to research the case.  When he finds other similar deaths and all the women have signed up to have their DNA tested by the same company his 'Fair Warning' online newspaper takes on the story. This is a great read and the subject matter is very current.  An interesting tidbit is that Fairwarning.org is an actual online news site that deals with consumer issues.
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Michael Connelly is an excellent writer who keeps writing books that draw you in the moment you start to the very end. Jack McEvoy is a seasoned reporter who has knocked around before he settles down in a small Web based news writing operation that specializes in consumer affairs. Things are going OK for him until two policemen manhandle him in an investigation of a murdered woman he had a one night stand with a year ago. 

  Jack is angry and starts searching for who really murdered her. His investigation leads him to a DNA testing company with really low rates, into a pedophile ring and finally on the trail of a ruthless killer.

  His characters are done well and are likable. The reader roots for them. The story is interesting and has many twists and turns. The ending really took me by surprise. You have to have confidence to write it and Connolly has certainly earned that. It's a great way to spend some time. 

  Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair review.
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Jack McEvoy - one of my favorite book boyfriends.  I love this character and love his stories.  I am glad that Michael Connelly is continuing his story and will be anxious for the next thrilling installment!
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FAIR WARNING
Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN-13: 978-0316539425
Hardcover
Thriller

It has been a while, to say the least. Reporter Jack McEvoy was initially introduced by Michael Connelly in THE POET, almost a quarter-century ago. He was supposed to be a one-off character, apparently, but returned in THE SCARECROW which was published in 2009. All but forgotten, and undeservedly so, the announcement that McEvoy would reappear in the now newly-published FAIR WARNING was greeted with joy by longtime Connelly readers, who will find that their patience --- and yes, prayers --- have been answered and their expectations more than rewarded. 

Given Connelly’s long and extensive background as a reporter, it is not surprising that McEvoy is so accurately drawn. While much has changed on the surface since he was introduced the nuts and bolts of successful and honest investigative reporting --- so rare in the current climate --- has stayed the same, and McEvoy embodies these qualities. McEvoy in FAIR WARNING is working as an investigative reporter for a website named, by amazing coincidence, FairWarning. McEvoy and FairWarning investigate and report consumer fraud. The website, which is small but mighty, has quite a reach and a sterling reputation. Given that it does not hide behind a paywall it relies upon no-strings-attached fundraising to obtain great cupfuls of money to stay in operation. McEvoy accordingly finds himself in the position of making a bit of a stretch to his editor when he comes across an extremely clever killer who is preying upon women by making their very intentional deaths appear to be accidents. We learn, well before McEvoy, that the killer refers to himself as The Shrike and that he is cutting quite a wide swath in pursuit of his victims. McEvoy works the case from the other direction, finding what seems to be an initially tenuous consumer issue in an industry that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years. The issue --- and I am being oblique here, given that I don’t want to give away the game that Connelly so intricately and wonderfully constructs --- is one which in our real world we ignore at best and actually occasionally welcome which is surprising considering the privacy issues it entails. McEvoy gets the heart of the matter and exposes it while painstakingly chasing down the identity of the anonymous killer, even as McEvoy eventually finds himself in the sights of The Shrike as well, who, in the end, is much closer to McEvoy than he suspects. It’s a wild ride in spots, so much so in the final fourth of FAIR WARNING that it should come with its own “fasten seat belts” warning. 

Connelly will never be accused of having a strong literary style, but as a storyteller he is second to none. That talent is possibly eclipsed by his ability to develop and refine primary characters such as McEvoy, whose default nature tends to be mildly abrasive and prickly, even with --- maybe particularly with --- his friends and colleagues. It is interesting that he has a great deal of self-awareness and often hits the reset button by apologizing and starting over. McEvoy is extremely realistic, so much so that when one reads the passages where he is front and center --- most of them, actually --- it seems as if we are in the room as opposed to reading the book. Given that Connelly leaves the reader, and McEvoy, hanging on a secondary issue at the end of FAIR WARNING I would hope that we would see McEvoy back again in another full-length novel, and much sooner than later. Strongly recommended.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
© Copyright 2020, The Book Report, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Jack McEvoy is a journalist who stumbles onto a murder mystery when a woman he previously spent time with is found dead.  I was hooked upon reading the first page--the book dives right into the meat of the story and I could not stop reading.  There were multiple twists and unexpected turns in the book as the mystery got deeper and deeper, leading up to the explosive finale.   I wanted a little more from the finale--it left me with questions, but as with the real world we don't always get those answers.

The book talked a lot about DNA and genetic testing, and how that DNA could be used.  I loved reading this and feel it was very informative.  There is a lot of information that many people probably don't know, including regulation of DNA testing and what DNA can be used for.   It was woven very well into the story, and was not at all like reading a textbook with all that dry information.  The information was paramount to the characters solving the mystery in the book.  

Thank you to #NetGalley and Michael Connelly for this ARC!  I can't wait to read more of his books!
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Fair Warning
by Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company
 You Like Them You Are Auto-Approved
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 26 May 2020   |   Archive Date 30 Sep 2020

Michael Connelly at his best!  We have many readers who request this author.  I wanted to give this book a try to see what I am missing.  I was really intrigued by this book and how sometimes we can be surprised in mystery/thrillers.

Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for this ARC.  
5 star
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I’m a big Michael Connelly fan, starting with the Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller books, then most recently the stories of police officers Jenkins and Ballard (The Late Show, 2017). I hadn’t read either The Poet or The Scarecrow, so I wasn’t familiar with protagonist Jack McEvoy, but was happy to start to get to know him with Fair Warning, when I received a copy from Little, Brown & Co. and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

McEvoy is a reporter who has dealt with killers, but after woman with whom he had a one-night stand is brutally murdered, he uncovers a VERY creepy killer who has been using genetic data (think Ancestry or 23 and Me) to find his targets.

It’s impossible to tell more without spoiling things (which I NEVER do), but I enjoyed the fast pace and the use of technology. My husband, who read it first, was only 10% into it when he became a bit disgruntled at the prospect of some deus ex machina solution, or some sample switching in the lab…but he kept reading and declared it wasn’t among his favorites from Connelly, who is one of our favorite authors.

I’m not on board Team McEvoy yet, hoping Connelly’s next effort will bring back Renee Ballard. But this one is solidly entertaining, and cleverly written. Four stars
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Fair Warning by Michael Connelly is a highly recommended procedural featuring reporter Jack McEvoy.

Jack McEvoy is a veteran reporter who is now working for FairWarning, an online news site that focuses on protecting consumers from fraud. When Christina (Tina) Portrero, a woman he had a one night stand with a year ago is murdered, the police question him as a person of interest. Jack learns she was killed by internal decapitation, meaning her head was twisted 180 degrees. He also learns she took a DNA test through a company called GT23 and that she felt she had a stalker. Even after the police ordered him to stop his investigation, Jack continues looking into other women who were murdered or died in the same way Tina did and their connection to GT23. It becomes clear that a killer has been hunting women using genetic data from their DNA to target them.

The well-written complex plot focuses on the very real unregulated genetic testing industry and the abuses that could potentially result from the lack of oversight. As the plot moves briskly along, the investigation quickly reveals leads that result in actions and revelations. The investigation is compelling and follows several trails to piece together the clues leading to the final heart stopping denouement. The procedural details are a pleasure to follow.

The roles of the characters are clearly defined and they all interact in a realistic manner as they essentially all act in support for (or opposition to) Jack's investigation. I have not read the previous novels featuring Jack McEvoy, but I feel like I was brought up to speed and enjoyed this solid, intelligent procedural. The pages flew by as the action unfolded and there were some frightening disclosures about the genetic testing industry and how that once that DNA is given it can be sold and resold.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Little, Brown and Company.
The review will be posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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Here's a question -- have you done one of those DNA/Ancestry tracing kits? This thriller explores the dangers that lurk underneath their promise of anonymity. Is your personal information safe? What if someone was able to trace you through your gene sample -- someone who was looking for specific characteristics -- specifically the DRD4 gene. This is a gene that might identify people who exhibit high-risk behaviors and addictions. 

Journalist Jack McEvoy works for an Internet news site called "FairWarning" and usually investigates situations that affect consumers. When he's questioned by the LAPD about the homicide of a woman he had a one-night-stand with, he becomes interested due to the way she was killed. He senses there might be a story and finds that the victim also had told a friend that she had been a victim of cyberstalking. Jack sets out to learn all he can about Tina Portero and soon finds himself down the rabbit hole. Soon he has information about four similar deaths and all of the women had turned their DNA over to a company known as GT23. All of them seem to be the work of one person -- The Shrike.

This was great writing and lots of action with details galore. Although two other books by this author feature Jack McEvoy, this worked fine as a standalone. (I'm pretty sure I read THE POET and also THE SCARECROW but so long ago I can't really remember.) The reader is immediately drawn into the story and the well-drawn characters are believable as the narrative continues relentlessly to the climax. Who is the elusive Shrike and where will he strike next? The really scary stuff within actually has to do with the concern about the DNA that so many willingly put in an envelope and mail to these companies. For, you see, government oversight of the DNA analytics industry is a bit lax. 

Another interesting aspect of this novel is that, even though this book is a work of fiction, the news site "FairWarning" actually exists and does watchdog reporting as described. The science is real. The dangers are real. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for this e-book ARC to read, review and recommend. I'm eager to revisit books by this author and look forward to future work.
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Michael Connelly at his best! This is the third book with reporter Jack McEvoy (from the Poet and the Scarecrow) as the main character. Jack is working for a news website and is researching a genetics industry. The book takes a turn when Jack is under suspicion for murdering a woman he had a one night stand with a year before. I'm a big fan of Michael Connelly but had never read the first two Jack McEvoy books. Now I can't wait to delve into those!
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Fair Warning by Michael Connelly Reviewed on  May 20, 2020

No doubt author, Michael Connelly did a lot of research for this novel.  True it is interested and I do like Connelly’s novels. I live in Orange County and he usually includes local sights; this time UCI and not Chapman University where his daughter attended college.
This is #3 in the Jack McEvoy series. I wasn’t a big fan of #2 "The Scarecrow" but I am sure I will read #4! 

Want to thank NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for this early release granted in exchange for an honest professional review. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Publishing Release Date scheduled for May 26, 2020
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Jack McEvoy is an investigative reporter who works for FairWarning which warns readers of scams and frauds.  He digs deeply into the DNA market where he discovers a company that sells its information.  He doggedly pursues his story and a vicious killer.  This book  is fast paced, powerful, and engaging.
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Author Michael Connelly began his career in newspapers and I always consider Jack McEvoy to be something of his alter-ego;  the man he might have been without the huge successes of his books.  McEvoy has written two good books but they were a decade ago and he’s run out the royalties and is living paycheck to paycheck working for a website that exposes consumer fraud.  He is still haunted by former stories and murder cases when along comes one that peripherally involves him.  FAIR WARNING spins a good tale about the potentiality for the dark web and DNA sites to merge into mayhem-for-hire, specifically geared towards crimes against women.  It all seems very timely, grim and of course, good and spooky for a mystery.  Readers will enjoy this new addition to the Bosch Universe.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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