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Scarecrow
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New or Used: 10 copies from $6.25
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Two years ago Matthew Reilly warned that his next novel would be ‘lean, mean and totally out of control’. Now he delivers, and how. The prologue of Scarecrow introduces a group of seriously rich folk conspiring to get even richer by rekindling the Cold War. They also set loose a nasty bunch of bounty hunters to eliminate military experts standing in their way. Three pages later the mayhem begins. Shane Schofield (aka Scarecrow), hero of Ice Station and Area 7, barely escapes an ambush in Siberia, and during scant pauses between shooting down helicopters and sinking an aircraft carrier, he uncovers the plot and why he’s on the hit list. One by one the others are eliminated. He must stay alive and defuse rogue missiles before the inevitable deadline. As usual, Reilly strings together a spectacular series of action set pieces à la James Bond. Baddies are bloodily dispatched—shot, blown up, shredded, stabbed, strangled and decapitated—on almost every page. Goodies have miraculous escapes. Criticism that the frenetic, non-stop action is improbable, and that the characters are celluloid rather than flesh and blood, misses the point. Reilly’s books are deliberately aimed at a generation brought up on action films and video games. Ice Station’s popularity proves the formula works. Graeme Moore is fiction manager and buyer at Dymocks Melbourne. C. 2003 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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