The 7th Victim: not your ordinary Criminal Mind

Verdict: Definitely a series worth following!


Blurb: The Dead Eyes Killer lurks in the backyard of the famed FBI Profiling Unit. His brutal murders 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 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.The 7th Victim is a page-turner as only Alan Jacobson can write, with a stunning twist of an ending that will satisfy even the most discerning thriller reader.


The first book in a series is always the hardest thing to pull off I think. There are so many things to consider: how much to let readers know about characters, how to pace out revelations about characters and all the while ensuring that you don’t tell the readers too little because you’ll lose their interest. Where this first book in the Karen Vail series succeeds, is that it was never intended to be the first in a series. It was received well enough that Jacobson made it into a series eventually.


Therein the lies the strength of this novel: there’s a sense of a writer going all in with his characters here, letting readers in on details that they – or well I – wouldn’t have expected in book 1, knowing this is a series.


Like the blurb above describes, Karen is part of a task force hunting the Dead Eyes killer, a serial killer that has been escaped capture and continued killing for far too long. The task force is getting nowhere fast, as the story progresses Karen’s position is threatened by the fallout of her divorce from an abusive husband and her desire to save her son from him.


She’s told to take a step back, to leave the team and focus on herself, and it’s refreshing to find a character that actually does just that. Sure, she’s invested in the case, but her life is falling down around her and at this point in the story, it makes sense for her to regroup.


At this point, threads of twists place Karen at the centre of the Dead Eyes killer case. But Jacobson's restraint in his writing, in writing Karen in particular, makes these twists work within the story so well.


Karen returns to the task force in an unofficial basis as Dead Eyes begins to focus on her more and more. But, Jacobson never lets up on the focus on Karen’s immediate family as well, and that’s what this book is about – family, the ties we make and how they shape us (very vague, but twists people, I want to save them for you!).


And, in other news, check out my interview with Alan Jacobson on Wednesday this week!