Spectrum (Karen Vail #6)

     Author: Alan Jacobson

     Publisher: Open Roads Media

     Rating: 4 stars

     Buy Links: Open Road                                Amazon

     Type: Novel In a Series

     Received from Publisher


Blurb: 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.


Review:  First of all, this is book six in a series featuring FBI profiler, Karen Vail.  I never felt like I was late to the party, though, even with this being my first book by this author. This book stands alone very nicely.  In this story, we have the chance to watch Karen grow and prosper in her career, watch her fall in love, marry, have a child, and watch her marriage slowly disintegrate.  But the crux of the story is the unsolved case that has haunted and bothered her since her first day on the job; the hunt for a serial killer known as Hades.

I enjoyed Karen’s story.  We meet her husband, her son and all of the police and FBI men and women who have helped and hurt her career over the years.

But I ran into a few snags.  The timeline kept jumping back and forth between a Greek family in the late 1970s, to Karen in the late 1990s and Karen in the present.  That was a little disorienting.  I felt like I was in a time travel novel!

The second snag was the Greek family.  Their story started in the late 1970s and progressed in a haphazard manor to the present….in detail.  Much detail.  Too much.  My advise would be to read the first couple of paragraphs when the Greeks turn up and skip forward to read the last couple of paragraphs in that section unless you really like a whole lot of detail about people who are really painfully naive new immigrants to America.  I just could not connect to the Greeks.  They had a bad time, true, but I just didn’t want to read anymore about them.  I was way into the story before I even figured out the confusing names and relationships of these characters. Every time they showed up in the story, I was having visions of “3 stars” on this review.  Then, just about the time I was getting frustrated enough to start skimming, we would get back to Karen.  I think a one chapter prologue of the Greeks would have been enough background for anyone.

But Karen’s journey from rookie beat cop to FBI profiler was worth every second of my time.  I enjoyed everything she had to say about the way profiling worked as she was learning her craft.  The improvements in polices procedures and technology over the years was always interesting.  When she was a rookie cop, they had to find a pay phone to call the precinct, later they were using cell phones to track a suspect. It was fun to read.  There were a couple of very “lucky” breaks to allow Karen and her team to finally know who the serial killer really was that seemed just a little forced, but it was okay.  Even the police and the FBI need a little luck now and then.

I would have given Karen’s story a ringing 5 star endorsement if not for the sections about the Greeks who were the Achilles’ Heel of this story.  I wish someone had told me that on page one.

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