“Velocity” by Alan Jacobson (Vanguard Press, 2010)


After the cliffhanger of Crush, Karen Vail is right back in the thick of it.  The key to these books is the realism Alan Jacobson puts into his characters and his story, keeping the reader hooked until the end, as they simply have no idea what is going to happen next and who will survive.

We last left FBI profiler Karen Vail with the Crush killer caught, and the serial killings in the beautiful wine county of Napa Valley finally at an end; but the nightmare is still continuing for Vail, as her boyfriend and love of her life, Detective Robby Hernandez, is missing, and she doesn’t have a clue where he could be.  Vail doesn’t take a break, keeping the team together to track down and find Hernandez.  Then she gets the call she doesn’t want from her boss, ASAC Thomas Gifford: she is to come back to Washington DC right away, as her talent and skills are needed on a high profile case.  Vail tries everything she can to stay on the Hernandez case, but Gifford won’t hear of it and soon she’s back in DC working on the new case, trying to keep focused.  Vail meets up with Hector DeSantos, a government operative who knows people in high places.  Eventually everything comes down to a big confrontation, as Vail wants back on the Hernandez case, and finally learns the truth about Robby.

Hernandez was working undercover on a DEA operation, investigating the drug cartel, and a notorious kingpin Carlos Cortez.  Vail soon realizes her efforts to find Hernandez may have jeopardized his cover, after showing a photo of Vail and Hernandez with Quantico in the background.  Once Vail finds out about Gifford’s involvement with Hernandez, she’s back on the case and working with DeSantos; she will stop at nothing to get him back alive.  After her son, he’s the most important person in her life.

Alan Jacobson goes deep into the world of the drug cartels and illegal drug trafficking across the border.  Readers learn astounding details on various ways drugs are smuggled through hollow corks and on the backs of wine labels.  Velocity has both a compelling action story – equal to Crush – but also a fascinating look into a world that many people know exists, but know very little about.

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Originally written on November 16, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.