Monday, August 26, 2013


Alan Jacobson

Crush (Karen Vail #2)

Genre: Thriller

Summary (from Goodreads):  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 an exclusive wine cave, the work of an extraordinarily 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 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 with 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."

Review:  The premise of this book sounded interesting - a female FBI profiler searching for a serial killer in the Napa wine country.  But, oh, it was such a painful read!  I am always a little leery of male authors who write female main characters, as I think they generally have a hard time getting into a woman's head.  The two main characters in this book were very different women, and neither one came across as particularly believable as real women, especially Karen, whose personality could best be described as obsessive, argumentative, judgmental and bitchy.  (Not that women can't be like that, of course, but generally they have some redeeming qualities.)  Her lack of interest in and care for her boyfriend and son were appalling.  Secondly, I found the details around wine tasting and wine making tedious and boring, perhaps because I'm not very interested in wine, but also because they were generally delivered as monologues by potential suspects.  Thirdly, it seemed like just about everyone in the novel acted suspiciously or evasively at one point, leading the reader to believe that anyone could be the killer.  But the biggest problem was the ending, which was nonexistent.  This was clearly part one in a two part series about this killer, and at the end of the book when the author has revealed that the mystery will not be solved, he invites everyone to purchase his next book.  Shameless.  I would give this only one star, except the mystery part was actually very interesting.

Rating: 2 stars

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