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 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 BAU, had countless hours of conversations with Agent Safarik and his partner; 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.
Vail has directed the action in The 7th Victim, Crush, Velocity, and Inmate 1577—which are set in exotic locales, from Alcatraz to the Napa Valley, Las Vegas and San Diego to Washington, DC. And wherever Karen Vail goes, trouble tends to follow.
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 Karen Vail.
But—before you go: I coauthored 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 and Twitter. See you in cyberspace!