All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Scarecrow – Matthew Reilly

on June 20, 2010

Scarecrow is the third novel in Matthew Reilly’s  Capt. Shane “Scarecrow” Schofield series. I’ve read the first one, Ice Station and it reads like a Hollywood action blockbuster. Lots of blowing things up, rapid-fire shoot outs, miraculous escapes from impossible situations and plenty of blood and gore. I was expecting this one to be pretty much the same and it was. And then some!

A list is compiled of 15 targets, all of whom must be dead by 12 noon New York time 26th October. The list is comprised of the worlds most deadliest commandos, spies and terrorists. They all have a whopping price of 18.6m on their heads. Bring any head to a castle in France and you’ll get your reward. And don’t even think about trying to fake one, because that won’t go down well. The men on the list all have one thing in common and that skill could stop a group of power hungry billionaires from owning the world.

Shane Schofield is of course, on that list. He’s blissfully unaware of that fact as he drops in to Siberia on a mission that turns out to be a fake. A set up. A trap so that Schofield’s head can be collected. Unfortunately for the bounty hunters after him (and there are many, from all over the world) Schofield isn’t really into having his head removed from his body. And he’s got all sorts of skills and weapons at his disposal to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Exiting Siberia in a plane he steals from one of the bounty hunters out to kill him, he flies to Afghanistan where his girlfriend Elizabeth “Fox” Gant is leading her own mission into Taliban caves. She’s at risk from the bounty hunters who would take her in order to lure Scarecrow, and of course, this is what happens. Everyone all sort of arrives in Afghanistan together (although that’s not all about Gant, there’s also two people who is on the list in the caves, a British SAS soldier and a high ranking Taliban officer-type person, whatever they’re called). An angel of sorts arrives also, and he’s on Scarecrow’s side. The ‘Black Knight’ is a former Delta, black listed and on the most wanted list. For some reason, someone is paying him to keep Schofield alive and combat those who want him dead and his head on a stick. There’s some spectacular shooting with lots of fancy weapons and some nifty warfare tricks that I’m not even sure exist yet. And then Scarecrow and Co escape in yet another plane. And that’s not even remotely the most ridiculous thing in this book.

Let’s be frank. The book is ridiculous. On all sorts of levels. There are hijacked planes, people sliding down fuel lines from one plane to another as they are refueling in the air, there are people parachuting out of things or into things, ejecting from planes, several different types of submarines, escaping from being squashed by a 100,000 tonne tanker sinking to the bottom of the English channel and there are literally, billions of bullets fired. People are decapitated, shot, stabbed, thrown out of planes, beheaded by a guillotine, eaten by tiger sharks, microwaved to death and burned alive by boiling oil. I don’t think there is a method of killing someone that has been overlooked in this novel. There are Russian fighter planes. Huge sea tankers. Lamborghini Diablo’s. Choppers of every description. Fighter planes from every corner of the globe. A billionaire secret society. Warheads. And probably a hundred more things that I’ve neglected to mention.

Despite the ridiculousness of it all, it was entertaining. The style is very fast paced, staccato like with very minimal dialogue and character development. The story is all told as an action sequence, with characters thinking during the sequences rather than pausing to regroup and plan. There is lots of onomatopoeia usage – BOOM! THUNK! KER-THUD! SMACK!  etc. The sentences are short, sharp, frequently interrupted like-




Something explodes.

Basically, lots of things explode. An impossible number of things explode. Just imagine the most action packed movie you’ve ever seen and then make about 200 more things explode. And then you have this book.

**Mild Spoilers**

I have to hand it to Reilly for killing off a regular character in the Scarecrow books here, and in a pretty gruesome way. It’s easy enough to have these action books or movies where the ‘good’ side comes out wounded, but with no fatalities to the core team. This isn’t the case in this book.

Some books you read for the beautifully crafted writing style. Some you read for intricate and wonderful plots. Some you read for the amazing character development and the identity you can find with the characters. And some books you just read for fun. This book falls into the latter category. It’s far fetched, over the top, breathtakingly quick and action from go to whoa. I did enjoy it and I’d like to read Area-7 the middle Scarecrow novel which I haven’t got yet.

6/10 for providing me with an entertaining afternoon

(Book #35 of my 50 Book Challenge)

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