Alcatraz’s Biggest Fan: An Interview with Alan Jacobson + BookBanter Site Update

Alan Jacboson

Alan Jacobson

Alan Jacobson is the bestselling author of the Karen Vail mysteries, beginning with The 7th Victim, Crush, Velocity, and most recently, Inmate 1577. He has spent a number of years researching with the FBI, especially in the Behavioral Analysis Unit. He was previously interviewed on BookBanter with the release of Crush. In this interview, Jacobson talks about how he writes one of his thriller, the intense amount of research Inmate 1577 required, and why he feels this research is important, and where he sees Karen Vail headed in his next novel. Read the interview . . .


The BookBanter website has gone through a bit of a facelift and change, all for its improvement.  I’ve switched to a two-column method, so that way you don’t feel like you’re being bombarded with material of all different varieties.  I’ve gone for simplification,  however all the information that used to be there is still on the site, just not on the homepage, but under various other pages.

From now on the homepage will feature the latest BookBanter interview, the latest Links Roundup, the Review of the Week, a BookBanter Blog post, a listing of the four latest interviews, the latest twelve book reviews, and the latest BookBanter columns.  This will all be on the left column and will be update daily and accordingly, with the latest update appearing at the very top.

In the right column you will be able to see upcoming interviews on BookBanter, currently listed for the rest of 2011.

Finally, I’ve added a quick-links bar at the bottom of the page to help in navigating around the site.

06/25 on the Bookshelf . . . “Velocity” & “Ancestor”


After enjoying The 7th Victim and really enjoying Crush, the first of the Karen Vail novels by Alan Jacobson, I look forward to the third installment in Velocity, due out in October.  And for those wanting to check out BookBanter’s interview with Alan Jacobson, click here.


I’ve read two of Scott Sigler’s previous books, Infected and Contagious, and am interested in seeing what he does with Ancestor.

“Crush” by Alan Jacobson (Vanguard Press, 2009)


After the runaway success of Jacobson’s first Karen Vail novel, The 7th Victim, our impressive FBI profiler is back in the fantastic follow-up, Crush.  While the pressure may be on Jacobson to make his second Karen Vail Mystery be just as good as his first, in my opinion, Crush is better.  Jacobson is now comfortable in writing Vail and lets her explore her boundaries and limits, coupled with having the agent be in a foreign place.

At the start of the book, Vail is on vacation in the beautiful wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties.  After the stress, pressure, and near-death experiences of The 7th Victim, Vail can certainly use the break, and has been so ordered by her ASAC.  But as Vail and her boyfriend, Detective Robby Hernandez, are about to enjoy a very expensive wine tour, they are told it’s been canceled and they’ll receive full refunds.  Vail’s curiosity gets the better of her and she soon finds that a dead body is the culprit.  Her profiling skills automatically kick into gear as she strategically maneuvers herself onto the task force, leaving Hernandez by the wayside.  But this is who she is.

Now on the Napa County Major Crimes Task Force, Vail teams up with Investigator Roxxann Dixon, as soon more bodies are discovered each with telltale signs of the “Crush Killer.”  Then the killer begins contacting Vail, threatening not just her life but that of her son if she doesn’t do exactly what he says.  But the wine industry is an important part of the nation’s economy, and the political issue of whether to release the details to the press creates more enemies for Vail.  Ultimately it will be up to her to manage and keep the task force together, and catch this Crush Killer before he gets to anyone else.

Jacobson has not only written a full-throttle thriller that will keep readers hooked to the very end, but also educates them in the niceties of wine tasting and drinking, as well as some of the different kinds of wines offered by our wine country; not to mention the number of real locations used in the book.  Crush is a story that will have you entranced, causing your mouth to dry up in a craving for that tasty red liquid; and after finishing the book you’ll feel the urge to check out Napa and Sonoma counties to see if they really are as beautiful as Crush depicts them.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on September 29th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Alan Jacobson check out BookBanter Episode 19.

Alan Jacobson’s Crush

A couple of days ago I finished up Crush by Alan Jacobson, which was released on September 22nd.  I originally met Alan about a year ago when he came into the store one day to talk about his debut novel, The 7th Victim.  We chatted for a while about his history in researching with the FBI which had led to the creation of his recurring and impressive character, Karen Veil, an FBI profiler.  He handed me an arc of the book which I read and enjoyed, and reviewed.

I remember I originally asked him if he would be doing a series involving Karen Veil, since he’d done so much research and Veil was such a great character.  At that point in time he said he wasn’t sure, but that he might.

Now I’m glad to see that Veil is back with Crush and this book is better than The 7th Victim.  Veil is on vacation at the start of the book in the wine country of Napa County, but then a body is discovered and even though she’s strictly “off duty,” her experience and profiling skills automatically kick into gear and she strategically maneuvers herself and get’s on the task force for the case.  The brilliant title of Crush comes from the link with grapes, and crushing them for wine, and all that jazz; coupled with the fact that the “crush killer” first kills his victims by strangling them to death.  Alan uses lots of place names so for any readers familiar with Napa and Sonoma counties (like I am), it’s a lot of fun recognizing the towns, places, and especially some of the wineries.  With this serial killer on the loose, Veil wants to get the word out to try and catch him, but with the wine industry supporting  a significant portion of the country’s economy, there are others who are very reluctant to do so.

Crush employs many different facets from government and politics, to wine county and wine drink — using real places — and a fast-paced plot line where the bodies start piling up and Veil has to do her very best to keep everyone in the loop and doing their best to find out just who this killer is.

After my initial reviewing of The 7th Victim, Alan and I have kept in touch over the year through email and Facebook, so I’ve been looking forward to Crush for some time (and was delighted to receive a copy without even asking!) and with somewhat of a cliffhanger, Alan is currently working on the third Karen Veil mystery.

While I plan to have my review for Crush up at soon, I have also arranged with Alan for an interview with BookBanter which we’ll be doing on October 27th.  At the moment the interview with Alan is scheduled to run December 15th.

For now, head on over to Alan Jacobson’s website where you can found out all about Crush as well as some extras and behind-the-scenes that add to the great story.  And he’s currently on his tour, so check and see if he’s coming a place near you, drop by, buy a book, and say hi.