Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Alan Jacobson - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Alan Jacobson. He is the bestselling author of jaw-dropping thrillers. Alan writes the OPSIG Team Black series and the Karen Vail Series.



Author: Alan Jacobson

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Alan Jacobson
Author's Blog: Alan Jacobson
Alan Jacobson Newsletter
Twitter: @JacobsonAlan
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile



Author Description:
My literary career has been marked by a number of events, but none more significant than an accidental meeting nearly 20 years ago. While researching "False Accusations" at the Department of Justice's crime lab, I met FBI agent Mark Safarik, who was awaiting promotion to the FBI's Behavioral Analysis (profiling) Unit--the one popularized by TV's Criminal Minds. We hit it off, stayed in touch, and Agent Safarik invited me out to Quantico to tour the FBI Academy and profiling unit. Thus began my immersion in the world of serial killers, rapists, bombers and arsonists.

Seven years later, my education had reached critical mass: I'd made numerous trips to the Behavioral Analysis Unit, had countless hours of conversations with Agent Safarik and his partner, Agent Mary Ellen O'Toole; I'd edited four published FBI research papers on serial offenders and attended numerous FBI training courses; I'd shot submachine guns with the head firearms instructor at the Academy; and I'd parsed serial killer interviews with Agent Safarik. I felt that I owned the material well enough to use this knowledge and experience in writing my third novel, the first featuring FBI Profiler Karen Vail.

Vail had an explosive debut, bursting onto the scene in the national bestseller "The 7th Victim." Sporting a vibrant personality oozing sharp wit and sarcasm, Vail is a woman bucking the odds in a unit geared toward men, someone who always means well but, like you and me, makes mistakes. She has fears, loves, and vulnerabilities--and despite being very good at what she does--suffers perpetual unease about the decisions she makes. Because lives are on the line. Errors prove costly.

There's little doubt that Vail has resonated with hundreds of thousands of readers because she's real. But at the end of the day, Karen Vail is a cop you'd "go through a door with." That's how law enforcement officers of all stripes describe a colleague you'd entrust your life to when bullets are flying. And that's how the head of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers association described Karen Vail.

My years of research and training with law enforcement have influenced me both personally and professionally and have helped shape the stories I tell and the diverse characters that populate my novels. So sit back, crack the spine--or click that button--and immerse yourself in the gripping world of "Alan Jacobson thrillers."

But--before you go: I co-authored a free personal safety booklet with FBI profiler Mark Safarik. Hop over to my website, alanjacobson.com, and pick it up. Did I say it's free? Did I say it's super important for you and your loved ones in keeping them out of the crosshairs of violent criminals? (It is.) And while there, be social...and follow me on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/AlanJacobsonFans) and Twitter (@JacobsonAlan). See you in cyberspace!


SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

You had a rocky adolescence as it relates to your time in high school. How did it affect your writing?

Junior high, actually. I was part of the busing initiative that was intended to force the integration of white and black neighborhoods. I was bused into a neighboring Queens community’s school, JHS 231, which had a predominantly black student body. It did not go well. There were incidents every day—riots, fights, bullying, robberies, pin sticking in hallways and stairwells, and so on. I was working for the assistant principal in the basement bookroom with a classmate of mine. One day a guy came to the door. He shoved his hall pass under the door, as was required, and we let him in. We walked to the back to get his books. The room was filled with bookcases that made aisles, like a library’s stacks. The guy—I still remember his name, all these decades later—pulled out a pair of scissors and held the blade against my friend’s neck and told me to take off my shoes. I knew this was not headed anywhere good. Suffice it to say that it was an upsetting incident that has stayed with me to this day.

It was in high school that the student body went through group counseling to discuss what had transpired during our time at 231. When it was my turn to speak, I stood up and talked about the stuff that had been done to me. I said that my closest friend in elementary school was black and that I never thought about the color of his face. All that mattered was that he was my friend. Even though I had a very difficult time at 231, I was not going to allow it to make me feel differently about black people. There were specific individuals who made life miserable in school, not an entire race of people. Bad apples. In looking back, I’m proud of myself for having seen it that way.

As to how it affected my writing, well, it taught me a lot about life…how to adapt and adjust, how to handle adverse situations, and obviously how to deal with race hatred. We all have lenses through which we view the world. As an author, every life experience polishes that lens, makes you who you are and how you see things.

Growing up in the city in New York City in the 70s, where it was dirty, crime was rampant, and Times Square was an unsafe pornographic and illicit drug haven, also impacted my writing. It gave me a healthy cynicism. It exposed me to the less desirable side of life, to people I now write about in my novels. It was very important to my development as a writer. Separately, my mother is a strong-willed person, as is my wife—both influences on the Karen Vail character.

Working in a restaurant (Woodro’s, a well-known deli on Long Island) as a busboy likewise exposed me to the challenges of dealing with the public. There were some really nice customers and some who treated you like dirt. You had to learn how to handle both. It also had the advantage of exposing me to the rigors of working 70+ hours a week, since I was also tutoring ESL (English Second Language) students at Queens College, City University of New York (where I got my BA in English) and Queensborough Community College—and working with my dad in his business in Manhattan. (Since I was saving money for a pending move to California to start Palmer College of Chiropractic—West, the more hours, the better.)

You do a lot of research for your books. Have you always been a researcher?

I guess I have that mindset, but there was one very significant incident that happened by accident that definitely influenced me in my professional writing career.

While in the early stages of my debut novel, False Accusations, I was still in my chiropractic office during the transition to the doctor who purchased my practice. I took a serendipitous phone call from the director of the California Department of Justice. To make a long story short, he asked for a reference on one of my former employees. She had applied to the California Criminalistics Institute to be a CSI (forensic scientist). After I gave him the reference, I figured he’d be a good person to ask a question about my protagonist in False Accusations, Ryan Chandler. I originally envisioned Chandler as a criminologist, but that was incorrect. Based on the character description I provided, the director explained that he was a criminalist. I wasn’t familiar with that term. This was in January 1994, a long time before CSI hit TV screens. It was then that I realized I’d avoided a major error. If a cop or FBI agent reaches for her weapon, it had better be the right caliber and model that they use. Cops of all stripes read my novels and an error like that would take them out of the story—the last thing I want to do.

Part of research is going to the places where my books are set. I feel that it invokes a sense of being there. Readers have commented on that. When I wrote The Lost Codex and finished the section of the novel set in Paris, I felt like I’d been back in Paris for three weeks. I really get absorbed into the location. When writing Inmate 1577 (Karen Vail #4)—which has an historical fiction subplot—I actually wrote some of the scenes at Alcatraz on the island, inside and outside the cell house. I did the same with Velocity (Karen Vail #3), where the climax occurred in Las Vegas, on the strip. I wrote those scenes right there. As with being on Alcatraz, it was very stimulating and exciting. I think the scenes reflect that excitement.

When I was writing Dark Side of the Moon (OPSIG Team Black #4), the research took on even more importance. Part of the novel is set on the Moon, which meant I had to get my characters there. I don’t write Sci-Fi, so it needed to be accurate, using present-day technology. Problem was, I had no experts in my “rolodex” to call on for this. I had to find new contacts, an enormous undertaking. I ended up working with rocket scientists, engineers, planetary geologists, physicists, astronauts, special forces operators, robotics professors, solar panel engineers, US Air Force fighter pilots, and more. I had to educate myself on how all of this had to happen before I could finish outlining the story I’d wanted to tell.

In the end, it all worked out beautifully—I love Dark Side of the Moon (as do my readers and reviewers), but man…it was stressful trying to find, digest, understand, and then “translate” it all into simple information to make it work for my readers. I’m very proud of Dark Side of the Moon. When all was said and done, it was very fun to write, fresh, and different. I don’t think a Special Forces to the Moon has ever been done.

Your Karen Vail character has a dry sense of humor, similar to that of Nelson DeMille’s John Corey. Was that by design?

Vail’s sense of humor happened by accident. When I wrote the opening page to The 7th Victim, there’s a gun battle during a bank robbery. Vail is on the radio with dispatch giving a situation report. She describes the four robbers that are visible and notes that they’re using submachine guns. Then she sees the sign on the window of the bank and remarks to the dispatcher: “And the bank’s offering free checking, by the way.” It’s funny—and just happened organically. It came off my fingertips that way, harkening back to my New York upbringing and the sarcasm that’s woven into the fabric of daily life. I had to lose the sarcasm when I moved to California—I was warned it’d be misinterpreted as nastiness, so I put a cork in it. But it found an outlet in Vail and readers have loved it.

That said, in general, I’ve found that humor flows naturally from many of my characters. I never make it funny just to be funny. I don’t force it. It just happens from their personalities and the situation I put them in. Sometimes it’s playful needling, sometimes it’s self-deprecating humor. I think humor is an important ingredient, even in suspense and/or thriller stories. Oddly enough, I don’t realize how funny these exchanges are until I’m reading the first draft. I don’t have a sense for it while writing it.

You’re right about DeMille and his John Corey character. Their senses of humor are similar. When I started reading Plum Island, Corey’s first book, I loved it—I referred to Corey as the male version of Vail. After DeMille read The 7th Victim, he felt the same way. He wrote me a very nice letter—and included comments that became a blurb on the book jacket: “Alan Jacobson is a hell of a writer, and his lead character, Karen Vail, is a hell of a lady: tough, smart, funny, and very believable… This reads like a Nelson DeMille book. And I should know.” As you can imagine, that meant a lot to me.

Vail actually began without any thought. In the very early stages of my professional writing career, I was working on a (never published) novel and needed an FBI agent. I knew I wanted her to be a profiler, because it came in the nascent days of my work with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit so I had profiling on the brain. I came up with a name, using the hard r and k in Karen to suggest toughness and Vail as a takeoff on a veil of the mind (which profilers must “lift” to see under the hood of these violent offenders) and then started writing the scene. She came right off my fingertips. I was inspired and knew I’d need to use her as the protagonist of a future book.

Let’s come back to the Moon. Was it very different from writing Earth-based scenes?

Very much so. First consider the physical setting. There aren’t any birds, clouds, smells, animals, or sounds. There’s no sky, air to breathe, color. Then you have the concept of having to wear a pressure suit at all times. This made contact with others completely different, especially when your protagonists and antagonists interact. Movement is slow and there’s little gravity so it’s clunky and uncoordinated. You have to learn how to move. Because of the visors and lighting, you can’t see others’ facial expressions. Body language as a means of communication is also lost. I had to rethink the concepts of conflict and action.

Getting around, covering distance, is also a challenge. But I came up with some clever constructs that worked beautifully. It required working with some very bright engineers and scientists, but it was worth all the time and effort!

This kind of stress is healthy for an author. It forces you to envision things differently. What you’re accustomed to doing has to be reworked, re-conceived. All these things keep me fresh as a writer.

How does your Book Launch process work?

The moment I hand in my manuscript to my editor, I start reading it. Because of my tight annual deadline and the extensive research I do for each novel, I often don’t have time to read the manuscript before I give it to my editor—meaning we read it together; however, after 20 years of writing books, I’ve learned how to listen to my inner voice as I write, because I’ve found that I talk to myself and know when something isn’t working. As a result, my first drafts are much cleaner and require little rewriting—it’s mostly fine tuning, some cutting, some adding, factual adjustments, polishing, etc.—much better than wholesale rewriting.

I spend two months working with my editor, at which point it’s handed over to the copyeditor. She spends three weeks going through it with a hyper-anal eye (thank God) and then we spend another three weeks reviewing many of her comments. I have a terrific relationship with my copyeditor, so it’s a dynamic process and results in a beautiful end product.

During this time, I’ve been researching the next novel I’ll be writing and working on my story outline (I always know how it’s going to end before I start writing). In addition, work has started on the cover with the graphic designer. For my last few novels, I’ve had significant input; I give the designer my “vision” (I have a background in design) and she then executes based on her interpretation—plus she’ll create other concepts entirely of her own idea.

Once I hand in the final to my publisher, I write promo blurbs for various uses and of different lengths. I do interviews online and radio interviews; Advance Reader Copies are sent out by my publisher; reviews are solicited; marketing materials are printed including business cards, bookmarks, etc. My website is updated to include the new novel. And…all the while, I’m doing full force on the next book. There is zero down time, no break, no moment to breathe…

Several of your novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience for you?

Audiobooks is the fastest growing segment of publishing. They are up almost 30% year over year in 2017 compared to 2016, and this is a continuation of a promising trend. Much like eBooks fueled publishing industry growth several years ago, audiobooks have had a similar effect. People who don’t have time to read books can listen to them while they cook dinner, drive places, work out, and so on.

I see it as another potential avenue for sales, but it hasn’t had a material impact for me yet. So I guess—unfortunately—I’m bucking the trend!

What is your primary genre? What has been your best marketing approach to this group?

I write primarily suspense/thriller novels, which falls under the large mystery genre umbrella. Mystery consists of over a hundred subgenres, from cozies to crime novels, procedurals to espionage. I don’t write to a genre per se. I tell the best story I can. In the past, that has encompassed elements of historical fiction, crime/police procedural, psychological suspense, political and mainstream thrillers.

Marketing has evolved dramatically during the past several years. It has become data driven in terms of targeting demographic groups, which is certainly good for reaching your intended audience. (Obviously, this means you know what your audience is.) Using Facebook metrics, you can really drill down to reach these individuals en masse.

However, it’s possible to become too focused on data driven marketing. At some point you need to build your brand, and that involves intangible marketing—where you can’t track the success (or lack thereof) of your efforts. It’s much harder to spend money on these types of endeavors because you have no idea if you’re dumping cash into a money pit. Examples are book trailers (videos); traditional PR marketing where the publicists work to get you to write guest blogs, do radio interviews, etc. Unless you can measure click-through from the blog post to Amazon (which does not give you sales data), it’s impossible to determine if this was money well spent. Radio or TV interviews are even more tough to track. Such publicity efforts can cost thousands of dollars per month.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do you sort of play it by ear?

It’s definitely difficult. It requires discipline. I don’t have a set schedule because it’s akin to the “Man plans and God laughs” saying: you can have good intentions to write at 9AM, but if something interrupts, the best intentions get thrown out the window. There’s promotion, research, outlining or writing, interview requests, correspondence with my agent or publisher, and so on. For example, if I’ve put out a number of questions to my research contacts and one or two reply, I then have to drop what I’m doing and either integrate that information into the outline (or manuscript) or reply with follow-on questions. Either way, anything that I’d planned to do gets pushed aside.

As a result, I have a daily writing quota. Some authors go by pages. I go by number of words. No reason…it’s just the way I’ve always done it. Since I write on deadline, this keeps me on schedule. But you need discipline to keep to that schedule. I don’t quit for the day until my words are written.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

Yes. People who sign up through my website are recipients of my newsletters (which only come out two or three times per year). For signing up they get a free eBook on personal safety that I co-authored with FBI Profiler Mark Safarik. It contains invaluable information on keeping you and your loved ones safe, and has been recently updated to include cybersecurity advice.

Nowadays, having a Facebook group or page is arguably more important than a newsletter—and infinitely more time-efficient than having to produce a newsletter (which can take hours).

I like the idea of Amazon grouping an Author’s series of novels under one heading on their sales site. You have done that for the Karen Vail series. What do you think of the idea? Did you see any impact on your sales of the individual novels?

I think it’s important if you write series. The books of both the FBI profiler Karen Vail series and the OPSIG Team Black series are associated. This is a feature, I believe, that Amazon offers to make purchase of the books easier and clearer. My publisher either set it up or worked with Amazon to get it done.

I have to believe that it’s helped sales. But Amazon doesn’t divulge sales information to my publisher relative to specific links, etc., so I am left to assume it’s been helpful.



Author's Book List
Dark Side of the Moon - OPSIG Team Black Book 4
The OPSIG team must literally leave Earth to save it in this “thriller ride of a lifetime” from the USA Today–bestselling author of The Lost Codex (Gayle Lynds).

In 1972, Apollo 17 returned to Earth with two hundred pounds of rock—as well as something far more dangerous than they could have imagined. For decades, the military concealed the crew’s mysterious discovery. But now a NASA contractor has leaked the intel to conspiring foreign powers, putting in their hands the most powerful weapon of mass destruction yet created.

While FBI profiler Karen Vail and OPSIG Team Black colleague Alexandra Rusakov try to root out the NASA mole and break up the spy ring, covert operatives Hector DeSantos and Aaron Uziel prepare for a mission beyond anything they’ve ever attempted—a spaceflight to the moon itself—to avert a war that could not only disrupt the global balance of power, but also end in catastrophic annihilation.


Order the Book From:
Amazon
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KOBO Store
iTunes Store


The Lost Codex - OPSIG Team Black Series Book 3
In 930 CE, a revered group of scholars pen the first sanctioned Bible, planting the seed from which other major religions will grow. But in 1953, half the manuscript goes missing while being transported from Syria. Around the same time, in the foothills of the Dead Sea, an ancient scroll is discovered—and promptly stolen. Six decades later, both parchments stand at the heart of a geopolitical battle between foreign governments and radical extremists, threatening the lives of millions. With the American homeland under siege, the president turns to a team of uniquely trained covert operatives including FBI profiler Karen Vail, Special Forces veteran Hector DeSantos, and FBI terrorism expert Aaron Uziel. Their mission: Find the stolen documents and capture—or kill—those responsible for unleashing a coordinated and unprecedented attack on US soil.

Set in DC, New York, Paris, England, and Israel, The Lost Codex has been hailed by Douglas Preston as “a masterwork of international suspense” and “an outstanding novel."


Order the Book From:
Amazon
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KOBO Store
iTunes Store
Audible


Hard Target - OPSIG Team Black Series Book 2
An enigmatic covert operative. A skilled FBI agent with a dark past. And a terror plot unlike any in history... An explosion pulverizes the president-elect's helicopter on Election Night. It soon becomes clear that the group behind the assassination possesses far greater reach than anything the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force has yet encountered—and a plot so deeply interwoven in the country’s fabric that it threatens to upend America's political system. But as Department of Defense covert operative Hector DeSantos and FBI Agent Aaron “Uzi” Uziel sort out who is behind the bombings, Uzi’s personal demons not only jeopardize the investigation but may sit at the heart of a tangle of lies that threaten to trigger an international terrorist attack. Hailed by political thriller master Vince Flynn as “a smart, complex novel that explodes from the page,” and by Lee Child as “a great thriller” that’s “fast, hard, and intelligent,” Hard Target is a ticking time bomb that keeps you clinging to the edge of your seat...and turning the pages. Note: Hard Target also features Jacobson's famed FBI Profiler, Karen Vail, in a key role affecting national security.


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Amazon
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KOBO Store
iTunes Store
Audible


The Hunted - OPSIG Team Black Series Book 1
“Jacobson keeps readers guessing right up until the last page, so trying to put this book down is like trying not to eat the last chocolate chip cookie: most of us will just give in.” –Booklist

How well do you really know the person you love? How far would you go to find out? If there was one person in the world Dr. Lauren Chambers was sure she could rely on, it was her beloved husband, Michael. Recovering from an agoraphobic depression and prone to episodes of blinding anxiety, Lauren is a gifted psychologist for whom her husband's love and support mean everything. So when Michael suddenly and mysteriously vanishes, Lauren once again finds herself balancing on a knife's edge, haunted more than ever by an all-too-familiar paranoia.

Is there more to it than paranoia, though? Private investigator Nick Bradley believes so. As the pair takes off on a cross-country journey in search of answers -- a search that yields a series of unsettling truths about the husband Lauren believed she knew so well -- bestselling author Alan Jacobson sets into motion a page-turning tale of concealed identities, an assassin's vendetta, and murderous revenge. Once again proving his mastery of the shocking twist and the ingenious turn, Jacobson leads readers on an exhilarating road thriller built for hairpin turns and unexpected detours as Lauren heads for a face-off with the most dangerous secret of all: the truth.

From Alan Jacobson, "one of the brightest stars of the publishing world" (CNN), comes a chilling follow-up to his breakthrough bestseller False Accusations: a high-velocity thriller of deadly revenge and psychological mayhem.

Lightly edited and newly updated. The Hunted is the novel that not only launched the OPSIG Team Black series but introduced several enigmatic characters: Hector DeSantos, Douglas Knox, Troy Rodman, and Anthony Scarponi, who have returned in subsequent OPSIG Team Black novels, as well as my FBI profiler Karen Vail series.

The Hunted is not just a thrilling read, but it’s an adventure that lays a solid foundation for many characters and stories slated to come in the Alan Jacobson universe.


Order the Book From:
Amazon
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KOBO Store
iTunes Store
Audible


The Darkness of Evil - Karen Vail Series Book 7
FBI profiler Karen Vail is on the hunt for an escaped serial killer in the latest jaw-dropping thriller from USA Today–bestselling author Alan Jacobson.

Jasmine Marcks was a teenager when she discovered her father was a killer. First, there was the strip of bloody duct tape; then, the bloodstain on his shirt; and finally, the long nights away from home that always coincided with gruesome deaths. Roscoe Lee Marcks killed fourteen people before he was finally put behind bars. But as renowned FBI agent Karen Vail soon learns, Marcks’s reign of terror isn’t over yet.

After writing a book about growing up as the child of a serial killer, Jasmine receives a letter—a single sheet of paper mailed from the maximum-security prison Marcks now calls home. The page hides a threatening message from a father who wants vengeance against the daughter who turned him in to the police. So when Marcks breaks out of prison, Agent Vail calls on a legendary retired profiler to help her find the escaped convict—and keep him from making Jasmine his fifteenth victim.


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Amazon
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KOBO Store
iTunes Store
Audible


Spectrum - Karen Vail Series Book 6
New York City: home to world-renowned museums, theater, restaurants, iconic sports franchises. Central Park. Wall Street. And an infamous serial killer who’s terrorized the Big Apple for decades.

The year is 1995 and the NYPD has just graduated a promising new patrol officer named Karen Vail. The rookie’s first day on the job is anything but easy when she finds herself at the crime scene of a young woman murdered in an unusual manner. Vail is unsure of what she’s looking at or what it means—but it’s a case that will weigh on her mind for nearly twenty years.

As the years pass, Vail’s career takes unexpected twists and turns—as does the case that’s come to be known as Hades. Now a skilled FBI profiler, will Vail be in a better position to catch the killer? Or will Hades prove to be Karen Vail’s hell on earth?

The character who has captivated readers worldwide—and who won the praise of literary giants Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and Nelson DeMille—returns in a story that captures the experiences that shaped the revered profiler and made her the top cop she is today.


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Audible


False Accusations
False Accusations is a twisting psychological thriller, a tale of deadly revenge where the assurance of “innocent until proven guilty” is not what it seems

Dr. Phillip Madison has everything: wealth, power, and an impeccable reputation. But in the pre-dawn hours of a quiet California suburb, the revered orthopedic surgeon is charged with double homicide—a cold-blooded hit-and-run that has left an innocent young couple dead. Blood evidence has brought the police to his door. An eyewitness has placed him at the crime scene . . . and Madison has no alibi. With his family torn apart, his career forever damaged, no way to prove his innocence, and facing life in prison, Madison hires an investigator to find the person who has engineered the case against him.

As his privileged world is brought crashing down by a psychotic seductress, as family and friends abandon him, Madison’s only hope for vindication rests in revealing a truth at the heart of a lie. It is a disclosure that could cost him more than he ever imagined.


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KOBO Store
iTunes Store
Audible


No Way Out - Karen Vail Series Book 5
When a potent firebomb destroys part of an art gallery in an exclusive London district, FBI Profiler Karen Vail is dispatched to England to work with Scotland Yard on drafting a threat assessment to head off future attacks. But Vail soon discovers that at the heart of the bombing lies a 440-year-old manuscript that holds clues to England's past—with dramatic political and social implications. The manuscript’s content is so explosive that a group of political radicals is bent on destroying it at all costs.

Or is it the work of someone else? The trail leads Vail to a notorious fugitive who has escaped law enforcement for decades, and who appears to be planning a major attack on London and the United States. When Hector DeSantos, banished from the US Department of Defense and now a rogue covert operative, turns up in England and takes actions that threaten Vail’s life, she finds herself on the run from the British security service, Scotland Yard, and a group of internationally-trained assassins—all determined to silence her…all tightening the net to ensure that she’s got no way out.

With his trademark spirited dialogue, page-turning scenes, and well-drawn characters, National Bestselling author Alan Jacobson (“My kind of writer,” per Michael Connelly) has once again crafted an intelligent, twisting thriller destined to be talked about long after the last page is turned.


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Audible


Inmate 1577 - Karen Vail Series Book 4
When an elderly woman is found raped and murdered, famed FBI Profiler Karen Vail heads west to team up with Inspector Lance Burden and Detective Roxxann Dixon. As they follow the killer’s trail in and around San Francisco, the offender leaves behind clues that ultimately lead them to the most unlikely of places, a mysterious island ripped from city lore whose long-buried, decades-old secrets hold the key to their case: Alcatraz. The Rock. It’s a case that has more twists and turns than the famed Lombard Street. The legendary Clive Cussler calls Inmate 1577 “a powerful thriller, brilliantly conceived and written.” Inmate 1577 is already a national bestseller--with some readers calling it one of the best novels they have read in years.

"A mystery masterpiece...this one will be tough to top." —New York Journal of Books "Jacobson's latest Vail novel continues his streak of terrific mind-bending thrillers. The story line seems straightforward at first, but when the twists come, even the most hard-core thriller fans will not figure everything out. Jacobson should be mandatory reading for the James Patterson crowd; this is an essential addition to any fiction collection." —Library Journal "Jacobson manages to tantalize…and pull off a stunning surprise ending." —Publishers Weekly "More than mere entertainment…INMATE 1577 is a first-rate page-turner [and] a wonderful addition to the series that will satisfy loyal readers and provide those new to these thrillers with an excellent place to climb aboard." —Book Reporter


Book Trailer: Inmate 1577

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Velocity - Karen Vail Series Book 3
Renowned FBI profiler Karen Vail returns in Velocity, national bestselling author Alan Jacobson’s most explosive thriller to date. Detective Robby Hernandez, Vail’s boyfriend, has vanished into the dense air of a Napa Valley evening. There are no clues to his whereabouts, other than blood stain and tenuous connections to a vicious serial killer operating it the wine country.

As the task force struggles with Robby’s disappearance, the killer challenges Vail by boldly leaving his high profile victims in public places. Is this offender somehow responsible for Robby’s disappearance? Evidence suggests that he is-but just when Vail and the task force begin to make progress, the FBI orders Vail to return to Quantico to handle a case of vital importance.

Back in Washington, Vail engages convert government operative Hector DeSantos to determine what happened to Robby. It’s a move that backfires when DeSantos’s confidential informants lead them into unforeseen dangers, forcing Vail to face off against powerful foes unlike any she’s ever encountered, threatening her life, her career…all that she holds dear. In a frantic race against time that takes them from the monuments of Washington D.C. to the wealthy beach enclaves of San Diego and the bright excesses of Las Vegas, shocking truths emerge-truths that will forever change Karen Vail.


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Audible


Crush - Karen Vail Series Book 2
Fresh off the most challenging case of her career, The 7th Victim heroine and renowned FBI profiler Karen Vail returns in an explosive thriller set against the backdrop of California’s wine country.

Hoping to find solace from the demons that haunt her, Vail makes her first trip to the Napa Valley. But shortly after arriving, a victim is found in the deepest reaches of the exclusive wine cave, the work of an extraordinary unpredictable serial killer. From the outset, Vail is frustrated by her inability to profile the offender-until she realizes why: the Behavioral Analysis Unit has not previously encountered a killer like him.

As Vail and the task force work around the clock to identify and locate him, they’re caught in a web of knotted with secretive organizations, a decades-long feud between prominent wine families, and widespread corruption that leads Vail to wonder whom, if anyone, she can trust. Meanwhile, as the victim count rises, Vail can’t shake the gnawing sense that something isn’t right.

With the killer’s actions threatening the Napa Valley’s multi-billion dollar industry, the stakes have never been greater, and the race to find the killer never more urgent. And through it all, a surprise lurks… one that Karen Vail never sees coming.

Meticulously researched during years of work wit the FBI profiling unit and extensive interviews with wine industry professionals, bestselling author Alan Jacobson delivers a high velocity thriller featuring the kind of edge-of-your-seat ending that inspired Nelson DeMille to call him “a hell of a writer.”


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The 7th Victim - Karen Vail Series Book 1
The Dead Eyes Killer lurks in the backyard of the famed FBI Profiling Unit. His brutal murders, unlike any others previously seen, confound the local task force, despite the gifted profiling skills of Special Agent Karen Vail. But along with Vail‘s insight and expertise comes considerable personal and professional baggage.

On leave pending a review of her assault on her abusive ex-husband, Vail must battle forces determined to bring her down, as she fights to find Dead Eyes before he murders more young women. But the seventh victim is the key to all that stirs this killer...the key that will unlock secrets perhaps too painful for Vail to bear. These are secrets that threaten to destroy her, secrets that will bring down her storied and promising career. For Karen Vail, the truth rests at the heart of a lie. And uncovering it could get her killed...

With material meticulously researched during seven years of study with the Bureau’s vaunted profiling unit, Alan Jacobson brings refreshing realism and unprecedented accuracy to his pages, as he takes readers behind the scenes of the FBI Academy, where he worked with the actual profilers who have studied and interviewed twenty years’ worth of serial killers.


Book Trailer: The 7th Victim

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False Accusations
“One of the brightest stars in the publishing industry.” –CNN

False Accusations is a twisting psychological thriller, a tale of deadly revenge where the assurance of "innocent until proven guilty" is not what it seems.

Dr. Phillip Madison has everything: wealth, power, and an impeccable reputation. But in the pre-dawn hours of a quiet California suburb, the revered orthopedic surgeon is charged with double homicide—a cold blooded hit-and-run that has left an innocent young couple dead. Blood evidence has brought the police to his door. An eyewitness has placed him at the crime scene...and Madison has no alibi. With his family torn apart, his career forever damaged, no way to prove his innocence and facing life in prison, Madison hires an investigator to find the person who has engineered the case against him.

As his privileged world is brought crashing down by a psychotic seductress, as family and friends abandon him, Madison's only hope for vindication rests in revealing a truth at the heart of a lie. It's a disclosure that could cost him more than he ever imagined.

False Accusations is a psychological thriller that instantly became a National Bestseller and launched Alan Jacobson’s career, a novel that spurred CNN to call him, “One of the brightest stars in the publishing industry.”


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