Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Once upon a profile
I’d like to talk about 3 books by Alan Jacobson. They are: The Seventh Victim, Crush, and Velocity, and are published by Vanguard Press. I’d classify these books under the category of police procedurals, although this category has spawned several sub categories, so this would be more like an FBI procedural. The main character is a profiler, and the books revolve around her investigations of 3 difficult cases. Karen is a funny, feisty lady with some serious anger management issues, but she is also absolutely dedicated to her work, willing to explore possibilities that go against the grain of the investigation, and can be totally loyal and loving to the people close to her. She’s prickly in the extreme, but she’s also the kind o friend that you treasure, because you *know* she’ll be there for you when things get up against the wall tough, and you *know* she won’t ever lie to you, or try to manipulate you for her own purposes. Serial killers, however, don’t get such privileges; in fact, where they are concerned, she is relentless and implacable. There have been so many serial killer novels lately that they have almost become a drug on the market, and can become stereotypical. What sets this series apart, aside from Karen herself (and she goes a long way toward doing that) is the depth of FBI procedural and profiler knowledge the author displays. He goes into detail about how an investigation is run, especially one of those task forces that include police officers from local jurisdictions, and he explains exactly how profiles are constructed, what they can and can’t provide, and the pitfalls that can sidetrack investigators. Like most really good stories, this one has more than one theme. Alongside the investigations is Karen’s personal life, which keeps distracting her in major ways. Despite these distractions, which are heart rendingly serious, she manages to unravel some very tangled skeins, with often dramatically breath holding action. All 3 books (and I think there are more) are very well written, and, just when I was beginning to dismiss the killer as “another typical serial killer who ...” the author changes the game, raises the stakes, and keeps me surgically attached to his books. Great stuff, if you like this kind of book, which I do!