As "The Scarecrow" begins, reporter Jack McEvoy has been forced out of The Los Angeles Times in the latest round of budget cuts. In his last 14 days, Jack plans to write the murder story of his career.
His subject is Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer who's in jail after he confessed to murder. But Alonzo may be innocent. Soon Jack is onto the biggest story since The Poet, which earlier put him on the fast track as a newspaperman.
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CARVER PACED IN the control room, watching over the front forty. The towers spread out in front of him in perfect neat rows. They hummed quietly and efficiently and even with all he knew Carver had to marvel at what science had wrought. So much in so little space. Not a stream but a swift and torrid river of data flowing by him everyday. Growing in front of him in tall steel stalks. All he need do was reach in to look and to choose. It was like panning for gold.
But it was easier.
He checked the overhead temperature gauges. All was perfect in the server room. He lowered his eyes to the screens on the workstations in front of him. His three engineers worked in concert on the current project. An attempted breach thwarted by Carver's skill and readiness. Now the reckoning.
The would-be intruder could not penetrate the walls of the farmhouse, but he had left his fingerprints all over it. Carver smiled as he watched his men retrieve the bread crumbs, tracing the IP address through the traffic nodes, a high speed chase back to the source. Soon Carver would know who his opponent was, what firm he was with, what he had been looking for and the advantage he hoped to gain. And Carver would take a retaliatory action that would leave the hapless contender crumpled and destroyed. Carver showed no mercy. Ever.
The mantrap alert buzzed from overhead.
"Screens," Carver said.
The three young men at the workstations typed commands in union that hid their work from the visitors. The control room door opened and McGinnis stepped in with a man in a suit Carver had never seen before.
"This is our control room and through the windows there you see what we call the front forty," McGinnis said. "All of our colocation services are centered here. This is primarily where your firm's material would be held. We have forty towers in here holding close to a thousand dedicated servers. And, of course, there's room for more. We'll never run out of room."
The man in the suit nodded thoughtfully.
"I'm not worried about room. Our concern is security."
"Yes, this is why we stepped in here. I wanted you to meet Wesley Carver. Wesley wears a number of hats around here. He is our chief technology officer as well as our top threat engineer and the designer of the data center. He can tell you all you need to know about colocation security."
Another dog and pony show. Carver shook the suit's hand. He was introduced as David Wyeth of the St. Louis law firm, Mercer and Gissal. It sounded like crisp white shirts and tweed. Carver noticed that he had a barbecue stain on his tie. Whenever they came into town McGinnis took them to eat at Rosie's Barbecue.