Wednesday, 4 May 2011

SCARECROW by Matthew Reilly

I thought that this Australian writer was new yet Matthew Reilly's 2003 novel 'Scarecrow' could almost rank as a forgotten book.
His first novel, 'Contest', was written when he was just 19 and he went on to self-publish that one in 1996ish. Subsequently, Pan MacMillan picked this one up for publication along with the first two Shane Schofield novels 'Ice Station' and 'Area 7'. Again these were published in the late 1990s. Fortunately, Pan MacMillan re-released these books in 2010.

'Scarecrow' is the codename for Shane Schofield who now has a bounty on his head. But then so have 14 others and they have all got to die by 12 noon on the 26th October. The bounty is put up by a cabal known as Majestic-12; twelve of the richest and influential men in the arms business who want to make more money by creating an artificial cold war - except that one of their number has a much better idea with a total world war.
It would be easy to say that this reads like a Bond villain up against a new kind of 007. Not really the case though which is a good thing and there are a number of levels to this yet the author does not get the reader too confused. This book is fast that I really wanted time out for a breather...but not for long as short cliff hanging passages make the reader want to continue. I mean how can you take a break and make a cup of coffee when a sinking supertanker is hurtling towards the bottom where a mini-sub containing the hero is trapped. This is the stuff of Saturday morning cinema serials....what happens next and does the hero escape? Well, of course he does as this occurs long before the end.
All of which makes this book fun for our hero is believable and has a depth to him that makes you want him to succeed - or rather how he gets there.
To add to the mix there this chase and pursuit element. The Scarecrow is on the run from the bounty hunters while, at the same time, he is chasing the bad guys and a bunch of clone missiles.
In an interview at the end of the book Matthew Reilly says that he wanted to write a faster book. Well, I've read some fast paced books but 'Scarecrow' is a lot faster. Therefore, I guess that he has acheived his goal.
The next Scarecrow novel is 'Scarecrow And The Army Of Theives' which should (according to Amazon) hit the UK shelves in the early part of 2012. Long enough for me to recover, then.


  1. I've long been a fan of Reilly's work. Funny thing though, it seems you either like or not, nothing in between. I've tried to turn him on to a couple of friends and get back that he can't write.

    I do like him though.

  2. I agree with that...there is no middle ground.