In a direct sequel to Crush, which I reviewed on my 2011 Book List, Velocity continues the story of FBI profiler Agent Karen Vail’s search for her missing lover, Roberto Hernandez. After having been on what she understood to be a vacation in Napa Valley wine country with her boyfriend, she finds out that his disappearance is actually linked to his undercover work with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI. The chase takes Karen and the reader from Napa to FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, and on to drug hideouts in San Diego and Las Vegas. It’s a dizzying story of one of America’s dirty secrets, and really highlights how much we civilians don’t know about the drug trade which is going on right under our noses.
Author Alan Jacobson has actively researched and trained with law enforcement professionals and has used experience to inform his Karen Vail novels. Although I’ve read two of the Karen Vail books, I chose the first one because I was hoping to find a story set in Napa Valley. Jacobson seems to be as careful about his setting research and development as he is about his cop research, but I found that his heroine Karen Vail sets my teeth on edge. Her on-the-edge-of legality behaviors don’t resonate well with me; she seems hysterically determined to take matters into her own hands despite what protocol and common sense would indicate. Of course, it wouldn’t be a thriller if she didn’t get her man in the end, but it makes me shudder to think that there are actually cops out there behaving in such risky ways.
If you are a fan of Criminal Minds on television, you will find this story right up your alley.