Tag Archives: alan jacobson

Spectrum (The Karen Vail Series) by Alan Jacobson


Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Alan Jacobson has taken the FBI Profiler Karen Vail series to a whole new level in Spectrum (Open Road, $17.99, 438 pages). Jacobson rewinds the revered profiler back to the beginning, when Karen Vail begins her law enforcement career as a patrol officer just out of the NYPD’s academy. Her natural instincts are shown in their raw form, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come and demonstrating that she needs the kind of polishing and refinement that only years of experience and street knowledge can provide. Vail’s academy instructors see great promise in the young recruit and offer her a taste of detective work by temporarily teaming her with veteran detective sergeant Carmine Russo. Officer Vail’s first crime scene, that of a woman who has been murdered in a strange manner, not only gives Vail a taste of homicide but it sets in motion a 20 year pursuit of a serial killer who’s been terrorizing Manhattan.

No Way Out by Alan Jacobson

No Way Out Reviewed by Russell Ilg

No Way Out is the latest and greatest installment of the FBI Profiler Karen Vail series. In this best novel of the year contender, Karen is taken out of her comfort zone and sent to England to help Scotland Yard with a threat assessment. On the surface, it looks to be a quick in-and-out job. But this simple case takes on a life of its own that soon becomes a much more complex, challenging, and dangerous matter that puts her in a tough position: there appears to be No Way Out for her—and, quite literally, getting home may never happen. There is nothing you can do to get ready for what lurks around the corners in this thriller. It’s fresh and original, and even makes you think—about our history, about personal and governmental security, even about enhanced interrogation.

All of Alan Jacobson’s novels are two-read books for me, and No Way Out was no exception. It starts off with a bang and the pacing is exceptional. The twists and turns occur so rapidly, and frequently, that I found myself reading faster and faster because I had to know what was going to happen next. As with Jacobson’s other novels, I galloped along with its breakneck pace, and after reaching the end, I took a day to absorb it all. I then started reading it again, from page one, to find all the small things that I missed the first time. I find it a great way to enjoy Jacobson’s books.

Inmate 1577 by Alan Jacobson

Inmate 1577 Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Alan Jacobson’s latest thriller, Inmate 1577, is by far his greatest work to date—and that’s quite a statement since Jacobson’s novels have been one of the best kept secrets in publishing for nearly a dozen years. It’s clear that Jacobson has hit his stride and that Inmate 1577 elevates him to a new level, but there’s something about Inmate 1577 that sets it apart. The question was, What?

Inmate 1577, which brings us another helping of the irresistible (and irascible) FBI Profiler Karen Vail, is told in two tracks, one taking place in the 1950s and 1960s, and the other in present-day San Francisco—and they alternate. Switching back and forth between time periods is hard to pull off, but Jacobson somehow makes it work to great effect. The first story deals with the downward spiral a man’s life takes when his wife is murdered and he is arrested for the crime. He’s found not guilty, but he’s become such a pariah that he can’t get a job. With a young son to support, he turns to bank robbery, a decision that proves catastrophic. The present-day story takes place in San Francisco, as elderly men and women are murdered in different parts of the city. FBI Profiler Karen Vail is sent to assist the SFPD, and ultimately, this storyline lands on the infamous island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, and merges with the storyline from the past.

I’ve always believed that the research authors put into their books can be important, but the detail in Inmate 1577 goes above and beyond, making the story that much richer and believable; in a way it almost reads like nonfiction because you truly believe you’re watching history unfold before you. And in a sense, that is what’s happening. Jacobson cleverly brings together a real event that occurred on Alcatraz back in 1961-2 and inserts his character into the action—all while remaining true to the facts of the actual event.

Velocity by Alan Jacobson (Review #3)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Velocity by Alan JacobsonFBI profiler Karen Vail returns in Velocity, a high-speed, edge-of-your-seat thriller by Alan Jacobson and the third featuring Karen Vail. Vail heads to the wine country of California when her boyfriend Det. Robby Hernandez disappears without a trace. In a parallel investigation, a serial killer is running loose and there is evidence to suggest he or she may have a connection to Hernandez’s disappearance. Vail’s investigation in interrupted when she is called back to the east coast on another case. She manages to continue the search for her boyfriend and ends up trying to solve a very puzzling question: what does a mobile wine bottling business, a powerful drug cartel and the disappearance of Robby Hernandez all have to do with each other?

Velocity by Alan Jacobson (Review #2)

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Velocity by Alan JacobsonVelocity is the 3rd novel in the Karen Vail series and long awaited for by me and many other followers of the great new talent Alan Jacbobson. In the last novel Crush it was such a huge novel one of the best thrillers I have read to date, but was left at the end hanging with a lot of the story not finished and the need of the next novel to continue the story.

Well it is finally here and believe me it takes off like a rocket right from page one. FBI profiler Karen Vail was on vacation in Napa Valley with her boyfriend Detective Robby Hernanadez when she gets caught up in he hunt for a local serial killer as Crush comes to a climatic end the serial killer is killed, her boy friend is missing and may be a victim of the killer and there are many other loose ends that pull you right to the edge as soon as you pick up the book. What has happened, where is Robby, what have they missed in the serial case? As Karen pushes for answers she may have been the one that without her knowledge may have caused her boyfriend to be killed. There are so many twist and turns and just times that you are slammed right into a wall as this stunning story takes on a life of its own and just will not let go.

I found that I could not put the book down because there were so many things happening at every turn it was another huge surprise and there was no way to stop. I had to know what had happened and how it was going to all end. I kept reading and found that I was even picking up the pace to try and stay up with the non-stop action of the story. I had to know, I could not stop till I found out. It got so bad that I knew that I would have to go back and read it again as soon as I finished so that I could pick up all the details that I might have missed in my rush to find out how it would end.

Velocity by Alan Jacobson

Reviewed by Stephanie Nordkap

Velocity by Alan JacobsonKaren Vail, renowned FBI profiler, returns in Velocity, but this time her case takes an ominous and deathly turn. Vail’s boyfriend, Detective Robby Hernandez, has disappeared and little trace of him can be found, except for a blood stain and a very tenuous connection to local suspects already involved in another crime. The tension and stress keep Vail and her task force running as they know that the next forty-eight to seventy-two hours are critical in a missing person’s case.

Just as the pieces of information come together, and they close in on a suspect’s trail, Vail is suddenly called back to Quantico to handle a case of vital importance. Frustrated with the delay and being far from the case, Vail turns to Hector DeSantos, a covert government operative, to help her with the case. DeSantos uncovers confidential information that sends Vail reeling with shock, and sets her and DeSantos on a dangerous path, a path neither one could foresaw at the beginning, one that could threaten many careers, lives, and everything else one holds dear. In order for Vail to save the one she loves, she will have to negotiate the dangerous waters of the drug cartels and learn some shocking truths – truths that will have a profound effect on her life.

Crush by Alan Jacobson

crushReviewed by Russell Ilg

This has been a spring and summer as none other in the thriller, mystery and suspense genre. Alan Jacobson’s latest release, Crush, will not be out till late September, but it follows the other releases as the best the industry has to offer.

There are a lot of people who have not yet read Alan Jacobson, even though he has a number of smash thrillers out there. Part of it might be explained by the gap in time between Jacobson’s second novel and The 7th Victim, which came out last year. During this time, Jacobson was hanging out with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and amassing the knowledge necessary to bring realism to both character and story.

Well, people, it’s time to wake up and read one of the very best writers in the industry today. Crush is by far as great, if not the best, thriller I have had the honor to read this year.

First, it should be stated that there is no one that does their homework better than Alan Jacobson before he embarks on a novel. As mentioned, he has very close ties with a number of people in the FBI, which makes Crush as real as it gets: the info sits right on the edge of everything new in crime fighting.

Crush is a surging serial killer novel that makes you gasp for breath from the very first page. The thrill ride begins when his main character, FBI profiler Karen Vail, is thrown into the hardest case of her life in the middle of Napa’s famed wine country. As Jon Jordan wrote in Crimespree Magazine last October about Jacobson’s The 7th Victim, I doors and windows were locked and the lights were on.

There are very few novels that I cannot figure out in the first handful of chapters, but Crush was one of them. The story moves briskly, with one huge twist after another. With the impeccable pacing, Jacobson doesn’t give you time to step back, relax, and try to sleuth out what’s coming next. If you try, another twist is awaiting you in the next

I cannot even go near the ending, because I am still shaking from it. You have to experience it yourself–but prepared to find your world rocked and set upside down.

Yes, there are some of the best books written in a long time out this year, and as tight as things might be financially, you have to buy Crush and put it on the top of your list. In these uncertain times, getting lost in the grips of the best thriller to come along in years is just what we need.

Be one of the first in line when Crush hits the stores; it is sure to be a HUGE contender for major awards.

As a bookseller, reviewer, and avid reader of thrillers, this novel blew me away and left me with a very uneasy feeling at the end. It is a must-read to find out what I mean. You will not be disappointed, but you will be wondering what could possibly happen next!