"It was one of those freakish October days, when the mercury shoots up to the nineties, catching everyone off guard..." (Prologue)
When a young girl under her care dies, Dr. Jo Banks (20-something) is racked with guilt. In an effort to escape the pain and heartbreak of her misdiagnosis, Jo gets in her car and starts to drive. Lost in thought and with no destination in mind, she sets off from her home in Manhattan and hightails it onto the New Jersey Turnpike. Jo winds up hours - and what seems like a world - away from the big city, in Bayfield, a small, rural enclave in Southwest New Jersey, where "the serene line of the horizon (was) broken only by an occasional lone tree or scarecrow." Shortly after she checks in to the Oakview Motor Lodge, she is called upon to treat a woman staying at the motel who has suddenly taken ill. Jo's actions that night ultimately prompt her to uproot her life and take a job serving as a "cooperative house doctor" at several motels in the region. The nearest hospital is over an hour away.
Thus, Dr. Jo Banks' journey enters a new chapter. She is given her own cabin at Oakview in which to live and work. Slowly building her practice, Jo begins to fall in love with the small town and the people who live there. Feeling freer and more liberated than ever, she buys a motorcycle to make "house" calls. But when a dead man, disguised as a scarecrow, is found perched in a local farm field, Jo suddenly becomes swept up in a series of murders involving itinerant farm workers and morphs from town doctor to amateur sleuth.
SCARECROW is a brisk, fast-paced read - perfect to curl up with during this autumn time of year. SCARECROW is also the first in a series of three books (the next two are SATAN'S PONY and SLEIGHT OF HAND; a fourth is currently in the works) that features strong, independent Dr. Jo and a cast of intriguing, well-defined characters.
Robin Hathaway is masterful at writing short, tightly compressed chapters (with astutely rendered descriptions) that balance rich characterizations with an engaging plot. I marvel at how she gives so much information and backstory with a single line of description and/or dialogue. Read Chapter One and you'll see what I mean...In four, crisp pages, Hathaway presents everything you need to know about Dr. Jo Banks by showing you, rather than telling you. Impeccable!
If you like Jo Banks as much as I do, don't miss Hathaway's other award-winning mysteries, the Dr. Fenimore series of books.
To watch an interview with Robin Hathaway link HERE.
Scarecrow by Robin Hathaway
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312308513, 224pp.)
Publication Date: April 2003
To purchase this book via INDIEBOUND click HERE