In Alan Jacobson’s third novel, The 7th Victim, he presents a well-defined and fascinating new character in Karen Vail, one of the very few female FBI profilers. As a member of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, joining with a crack team of experienced detectives, it’s up to her to create the solid profile that will lead them to the identity and location of the Dead Eyes killer. The murders are garish and gruesome, as Vail investigates the crime scene of each victim, until an important person of stature is horrifically murdered, changing the whole profile of the killer, but also presenting some terrifying links to Vail herself.
Jacobson has spent seven years researching The 7th Victim, working with the FBI’s renowned profiling unit, as well as one of the few female FBI profilers. Karen Vail is a well rounded character who has plenty of personal issues going on in her life with an abusive soon to be ex-husband and a young child who she cares for more than anything in the world. She also teaches future FBI agents, and fights to maintain her profile as a high-ranking and well respected profiler.
The 7th Victim is an entertaining, fast-paced read in the style of Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta series, but adding a further grittiness and realism with the killings and the harsh everyday fights Vail must go through as an FBI profiler and mother. It is hopefully the first of more to come in the world of Karen Vail.
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Originally written on December 19th 2008 ©Alex C. Telander.