The 7th Victim — Review by Chris

Poor Job — er, Karen Vail. She's having one tough time.

Alan Jacobson invites us into this FBI profiler's ramshackle life. At home, she's divorcing her abusive husband, who it also turns out is abusing their son. Her mother, who has advanced dementia, lives alone in the country in New York — a seven-hour drive from Karen, who doesn't visit too often. During a non-lucid moment, Karen's mother makes a statement about her past that Karen remarkably accepts as true.

The FBI special agent is beleaguered at work by her boss, who doesn't respect her cutting-edge research. At least one person in her department actively dismisses her. She encounters a hostile former co-worker, who again becomes a colleague and remains hostile. A new young co-worker has the hots for her, and she for him — and starting a new relationship in the middle of an investigation is such a good idea.

Oh, and did I mention she's the profiler on a grisly serial murder gripping Northern Virginia?

All this and more — next, in The 7th Victim.

Don't get me wrong, I love crime drama. I just couldn't take another moment of Karen. I didn't respect or trust Karen. She made terrible choices. She made her life a train wreck.

However, I appear to be the only one with these feelings. The author loved her and the publisher thought Karen tested well enough with readers to release another Karen Vail novel within the next year, changing another Jacobson book release date.

Unfortunately, my issues with the novel went beyond Karen. The killer never felt truly threatening because the killer was veiled, purposely obscured, to add to the "twist" of the story. The title told me no resolution could come before victim number six, no matter how the story unfolded. The book jacket blurbs trumpeted the book's surprises, twists and turns. And don't tell me the end will shock me — because now it won't.

As an editor, I didn't like the inconsistent editing. Words were spelled differently (missing hyphens and apostrophes) throughout the book and the language was trite. Cops in Hollywood are the only ones who say, "Give it to me straight, doc."

If this is typical in this genre in the post-Hannibal world, then I am disappointed — and possibly reading in the wrong field, much to my dismay.

I would be willing to check out another book by Alan Jacobson, just in case this atypical book for him. I just can't recommend this book.

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