Review: The Scarecrow Killer (Detective Cassie Rowan #2) by Margaret Murphy


Print Length: 390 pages
Publisher:  Joffe Books (February 23, 2023)

From A body swinging in the trees. A mysterious hit and run. Detective Cassie Rowan tackles the most disturbing case of her career.

Just before dawn on a clear October morning. Detective Cassie Rowan is driving home, exhausted, after a gruelling night on duty. Her headlights catch a sudden flash of movement by the side of the road, a streak of bright, metallic blue. Cassie pulls over to take a look. For a moment, she thinks she imagined it: a body swaying among the trees — hanging from a branch.

Cassie scrambles up the slope, already dialling emergency services. And stops short. . . .

A week later, there’s a fatal accident on the same stretch of road. Seventeen-year-old Damian Novak mown down in a hit-and-run. No witnesses.

Something about Damian’s death doesn’t add up. Cassie is convinced that the hit-and-run and her mysterious swinging body are connected.

Cassie discovers that Damian isn’t the first local teenager to have died in strange circumstances . . . and he won’t be the last.

In each case, a sinister effigy of the victim appears a week before their death.

With wild stories of a voodoo curse running rife, Cassie is in a race against time to track down a brutal killer before they kill again.


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

To begin with, even though this is book number two in the series, it can be read entirely as a stand-alone with no problem. There are a couple of instances where I believe the prior book is referenced (I have not read it, so I cannot say for sure), but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of this novel or lead to any sort of confusion. I will say that I didn't feel like I really got to know Cassie or see any real character development with her, and I don't know if that stems from the fact that I didn't read the first one, so I don't know if the character matured or changed, but she was a hard one to like sometimes due to her attitude. 

However, the bigger problem I had with this one was that while it started off strong, I felt that it quickly lost steam to the point that I had a lot of trouble staying invested in the story and its characters. However, I think the fault here is my own and what I expect from novels, as the author does have a strong writing style and was able to vividly bring the towns and the people in them to life. 

Despite the length of the novel and the slowness through which it progresses, I felt that it definitely picked up towards the end. Although maybe it was due to the way the story took so long to get to that point, it seemed that the pace went from slow to breakneck speed, and we had a lot of information thrown at us in those last few chapters. I feel like with better pacing overall, this one would have been more enjoyable for me. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                    The Scarecrow Killer is available on
                                         (for free if you subscribe to kindle unlimited)

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