This book is part of the Karen Vail series – the story of a New York cop who eventually works for the FBI. I’ve not read any other books in the series. This particular novel chronicles Karen’s beginnings as a cop in NYC and shuttles back and forth between past and present. All the while, she is tracking a serial killer. Along with Vail’s storyline, Jacobson is doing the same thing – shuttling back and forth – with a Greek family, who clearly are going to be connected to the present day plot- but it takes a long time, too long, to get there.
I’m no stranger to books that explore both the past and the present. This particular device is used fairly frequently in suspense novels. But in the hands of Jacobson, it just makes for confusion. Too much time is spent giving us background on the Greek immigrants; that story could have been tightened up to make it more compelling. They are also subjected to just about every horrific thing you can think of, far more than is believable.
The characters have the potential to be interesting, but are never fleshed out enough to make them anything more than one-dimensional. I could see who the killer was going to be from very early on the book. After that, there can be no real surprises.
Vail’s story is clumsily told as well. She meets someone who Jacobson barely describes and suddenly she’s married. And just as suddenly, when we go back in time again, her husband, who we’ve hardly heard from, has developed a drinking problem. Again, no real exploration, just a surface level mention of it in a flashback.
When we travel to an earlier decade, one or two symbols of that particular decade are thrown into the mix to make the time change believable, but it’s never done seamlessly. It’s always awkward.
Around the time Vail just happened to be investigating a murder in a building right next to the World Trade Center on September 11th and saw the planes fly into the building, I threw up my hands and stopped reading the book.
I didn’t believe any of it.
(Thank you to NetGalley and Open Road Media for providing me with an eGalley of this book.)