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 . . .

separator

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.

“Inmate 1577” by Alan Jacobson (Norwood Press, 2011)

Inmate 1577
starstarstarstarstar

When it seemed like the great thrillers involving the ace FBI Profiler, Karen Vail, couldn’t get any better after the bestselling Crush, Alan Jacobson brings Vail back to Northern California, this time in sunny and chilly and foggy San Francisco, with a new serial killer on the loose, and the growing and undeniable ties to one prison located on a certain island out in the bay.

Jacobson tells two stories here, jumping back and forth in time and from place to place.  First there is the story of Karen Vail, the FBI’s best profiler, who has been called back to California, to San Francisco to investigate a growing series of horrible killings, specifically elderly women who have been raped and brutally murdered, and their husbands, killed and left dangling and hanging from San Francisco landmarks.  SFPD Inspector Lance Burden is working with Vail, along with former colleague, Detective Roxxann Dixon; and with a crack team, the clues lead them throughout the beautiful city, as they investigate the bodies and put the pieces together.

Then there is the story of Walton MacNally, back in 1955, who has a series of really unfortunate events that lead him to start stealing and breaking the law, all to help and support his son.  But then he gets caught and spends his time in Leavenworth Penitentiary, and after a failed jailbreak, ends up on the rock of Alcatraz, where his life continues as a prisoner of one of the most infamous prisons in history.

The reader knows these stories are somehow linked, but Jacobson does a fantastic job of maintaining the suspense for literally hundreds of pages, and Inmate 1577 is a great 500-pager.  The author makes working a serial killer case more real than ever, as the agents involved continue to be stumped at finding the killer, and feeling simply lost, until they get another clue they must chase down.  While Jacobson does take a little while to actually get to Alcatraz in the book, as well as being a little too liberal with the acronyms, these are but minor distractions in this great example of the page-turning thriller.  Jacobson even spent some time on Alcatraz writing the book, as well as many days and interviews researching the book.

Inmate 1577 is simply a great book that any mystery fan will gobble up like their favorite dish.  Whether this is your first Karen Vail novel or you’ve been working your way through them; you will not be disappointed with this lengthy book that will keep you reading and both wanting to reach the end and at the same time not be done with the book.

To purchase a copy of Inmate 1577, go to the Norwood Press site.

Originally written on August 31, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

You might also like . . .

Velocity  Crush  7th Victim

Coming Soon to a BookBanter Near You . . .

First off, let’s get the tough news out the way: Borders Roseville #130 is no more.  We closed the doors yesterday for the last time and I am no longer an employee for this company that’s only going to be around for another couple of weeks.  You can read all about my thoughts (as well as various author’s) in my most recent BookBanter Column, “Thank You Borders.”

And that’s that, until I find a new job, I have lots of time on my hands, which means lots of reading and writing, and book reviewing, and more interviews and updates on BookBanter.

Tomorrow I’ll be putting up the next interview, with Cameron Stracher, author of the young adult dystopian novel, The Water Wars.  And in the pipeline are interviews with Alan Jacobson, author of Inmate 1577; John Barnes, author of Directive 51; Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day; and Robert Charles Wilson, author of Vortex.  And that will all be coming up over the next couple of months.

In the meantime, the latest BookBanter Boon giveaway ends tonight at 11:59PM PST, so if you’re interested in entering to win a couple of free books, be sure to leave a comment on that post linked above.

A Confluence of Prison Cells

It’s happened again!  Of the three books I’m reading right now — one on audio — all three of the main characters are in a jail cell at the same time, even though I’m obviously a different points in each the books.  We have Shadow in American Gods just getting out of prison; half of Inmate 1577 involves one of the main characters in prison; and in Galaxy Blues the main character spends a little time in the cell.  What’s funny is that they all happened at the same point while I was reading each of them.  Just plain weird.

06/19 On the Bookshelf . . . “The Book Without Words” & “The Poisoner’s Handbook” & “Inmate 1577″

Book Without Words    Poisoner's Handbook    Inmate 1577

Picked the first two on sale.  Can’t go wrong with Avi and I’ve been looking to get a hold of a copy of The Poisoner’s Handbook since it came out a year or two ago.  And finally there’s the next Karen Vail thriller from Alan Jacobson, involving Alcatraz in some way; what’s not to like?