FBI agent Karen Vail is on assignment in the United Kingdom in this “outstanding thriller” by the author of The 7th Victim ( Library Journal , starred review).When a potent firebomb destroys part of an art gallery in an exclusive London district, FBI profiler Karen Vail is dispatched to England to work with Scotland Yard on drafting a threat assessment to head off future attacks. But Vail soon discovers that at the heart of the bombing lies a four-hundred-forty-year-old manuscript that holds clues to England’s past—with dramatic political and social implications. The manuscript’s content is so explosive that a group of political radicals is bent on destroying it at all costs.Or is it the work of someone else? The trail leads Vail to a notorious fugitive who has escaped law enforcement for decades, and who appears to be planning a major attack on London and the United States. When Hector DeSantos, banished from the US Department of Defense and now a rogue covert operative, turns up in England and takes actions that threaten Vail’s life, she finds herself on the run from the British security service, Scotland Yard, and a group of internationally trained assassins—all determined to silence her . . . all tightening the net to ensure that she’s got no way out.With his trademark spirited dialogue, page-turning scenes, and well-drawn characters, national bestselling author Alan Jacobson (“My kind of writer,” says Michael Connelly) has once again crafted an intelligent, twisting thriller destined to be talked about long after the last page has been turned.
About the Author
Alan Jacobson is the national bestselling author of several critically acclaimed novels. In order to take readers behind the scenes to places they might never go, Jacobson has embedded himself in many federal agencies, including spending several years working with two senior profilers at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s vaunted Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico. During that time, Jacobson edited four published FBI research papers on serial offenders, attended numerous FBI training courses, worked with the head firearms instructor at the academy, and received ongoing personalized instruction on serial killers—which continues to this day. He has also worked with high-ranking members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Marshals Service, the New York Police Department, SWAT teams, local bomb squads, branches of the US military, chief superintendents and detective sergeants at Scotland Yard, criminals, armorers, helicopter pilots, chief executive officers, historians, and Special Forces operators. These experiences have helped him to create gripping, realistic stories and characters. His series protagonist, FBI profiler Karen Vail, resonates with both female and male readers, and writers such as Nelson DeMille, James Patterson, and Michael Connelly have called Vail one of the most compelling heroes in suspense fiction.Jacobson’s books have been published internationally, and several have been optioned for film and television. A number have been named to Best of the Year lists.Jacobson has been interviewed extensively on television and radio, including on CNN, NPR, and multiple ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox network affiliates.
Read an Excerpt
No Way Out
A Karen Vail Novel
By Alan Jacobson
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2013 Alan Jacobson
All rights reserved.
"Could really do with a fag about now."
A number of responses flooded Karen Vail's thoughts—and not all of them politically correct. The one she chose was borderline, yet biting.
"I don't do fags," Vail said, knowing full well that the British man was talking about bumming a cigarette off her.
The homicide detective squinted, unsure of what to make of the feisty redhead—let alone her comment.
After a moment, he rocked back on his heels and said, "Your theory of finding signature within MO was quite intriguing."
FBI profiler Karen Vail, in Madrid as part of the Behavioral Analysis Unit's effort to provide instruction on criminal investigative analysis to the world's police force, held out her hand. "Karen Vail."
"Ingram Losner." The thin man paused, then said, "You did know I was talking about a cigarette, a smoke. Not a back tickler."
Back tickler? "I did," she said. "But that wasn't the first thing that crossed my mind. I don't know a whole lot of British expressions, but isn't that one outdated?"
"Old habits die hard. Kind of like smoking."
Vail looked across the tourist-filled plaza at a mime who was clad in thick green metallic paint, standing rock still and holding a broom. "I stopped smoking a while ago. Shitty habit." She faced Losner. "You do know what shitty is, right?"
"I'm just saying. You people say 'pissed' for drunk, 'fag' for cigarette, 'football' for soccer—personally, I think we Americans have improved the English language."
"Agent Vail," said a suited man with a thick Spanish accent.
Vail turned. "Oh, Detective—" She snapped her fingers. "Heredia."
"Very good, yes. I found your discussion of sexual homicide fascinating. It reminded me of a case I had four years—" His two-way radio chirped and he frowned. "Excuse me." He yanked it from his belt. "Estoy fuera de servicio." I'm off-duty. But a woman's staccato speech erupted from the speaker, and Heredia's expression hardened. He responded, "Sí, sí, estoy aquí." Yes, yes, I'm here.
Vail struggled to follow the exchange. Her conversational Spanish was poor and the brush-up audio course she listened to in the weeks before her departure required more time than she had to give.
Vail picked up a few words and missed several others, but she got this much:
Two murder suspects. Your location. Gray and blue backpacks.
Heredia's head moved left and right as he scanned the crowd in front of him. "There!" He brought the radio to his mouth. "Los veo." I see them.
Vail followed his gaze to two men a dozen feet away. They were carrying colored rucksacks like the ones the dispatcher had described.
"Policia," Heredia called out. "Necesito hablar contigo." I need to talk with you.
They turned to look, saw Heredia moving toward them, and took off.
Heredia followed, as did Vail. Losner's voice receded behind her as she charged into the throng: "You've got no jurisdiction—you're just a citizen!"
No, I'm a cop. And those are fleeing murder suspects.
Navigating through the dense horde of tourists and college students crowding the massive square, Vail saw the men running toward a side street. She did likewise, headed in their direction through the plaza's archway exit onto Calle del Siete de Julio.
"You see them?"
Heredia. Behind her, slightly to her left—and suddenly blocked by a heavyset woman with a stroller.
"Got a visual!" she said without taking her eyes off the fleeing men.
Whether or not this was her jurisdiction, Vail was an officer of the law down to her bones. True, she was unarmed, and in Spain her FBI creds were worth less than the brass alloy her badge was made from—but none of that mattered as she sprinted ahead, darting around, and into, passersby.
Something deep down—the inner voice she sometimes ignored—Come on, Karen, admit it: you ignore me all the time! —told her to back off, to remember what she was here for. No matter how she parsed it, she was not in Spain to engage murder suspects in a foot race through the streets of Madrid.
Yet here she was, pushing forward, hurtling toward ... who knew what.
She followed the men as they turned left onto Calle Mayor, through the flow of tourists and city dwellers, although the crowd had thinned considerably as she and Heredia put distance between them and the plaza.
As she crossed Calle del Duque de Najera, one of the men peeled left down the side street.
"I got him," Heredia shouted.
Vail took the gray-backpacked man who continued straight. He slowed along Calle del Factor to dodge a passing taxi, its angry horn blaring.
On her left stood the imposing, brick Pallacio de Uceda. A soldier was stationed at one of the main entrances, a fully automatic machine gun slung over his shoulder. Asking him for assistance was out of the question; she had walked by the building two days ago and tried to chat him up about the best place to grab a taxi. He would not divert his attention to even talk with her, let alone join a harebrained chase.
Vail passed a Museo del Jamon restaurant on her left—with wrapped pig parts hanging in the window—and a cell phone store to her right.
The suspect dodged traffic and crossed the large avenue, Calle de Bailén. Slightly to the right and down the street was the massive complex of the Palacio Real de Madrid—the Royal Palace of Madrid.
But the guy toting the gray backpack was not headed toward the royal's home—too much security there.
He swung left toward a sizable gray and tan structure, sharply spiked wrought iron fencing rising behind what appeared to be a statue of Pope John Paul II. A dozen crosses sat atop spires of varying heights, the most prominent being the building's bell tower.
Vail's suspect turned left down the steeply sloped side street, then ran up some stone stairs and through the church's side door, the entrance to the Crypt of the Almudena Cathedral—a place one of the detectives had told her she "had to visit."
This didn't really qualify as a visit, but what the hell—she wasn't going to have time to see the place otherwise.
As she entered the cathedral, a short man with frizzled gray hair was on his feet, looking to his right, pointing beyond the entryway. He turned to Vail and yelled, "Él no pagó!"
"Yeah, and I'm not paying either, buddy," she said as she shouldered past him into the crypt. But the view immediately stopped her. "Holy shit—er, holy mother of God." Please, God, don't strike me down. I meant no disrespect. But the view is kind of breathtaking.
Charcoal-veined ivory marble tiles stretched a hundred yards down a long corridor lined with dozens of ornate columns and gold light fixtures. Strategic spotlights buried in the floor and accent lighting atop the columns lit the arching, atriumed ceiling, providing a dramatic aura in the dimly illuminated interior.
Vail couldn't decide if the place was exquisite or gaudy.
But one thing was clear: her suspect was nowhere in sight.
She moved forward cautiously, down the corridor, passing open rooms to her right—private crypts with carved mantles, religious figurines and some of the most complex stained glass windows Vail had ever seen. Angel-themed murals made of inlaid tile formed the backdrop for works of ancient porcelain pottery set on elaborate pedestals.
"Yo sé que estás aquí," Vail shouted. I know you're here. "Policía! ¡Salga!" Police! Come out!
At least, I think that's what I said. Should've paid more attention to that audio course.
Footsteps, twenty feet away, in the crypt off to her right.
Vail moved in the direction of the sound, reaching for her absent Glock. Shit. What am I going to do, spit on him? Yell at him? Well, I'll definitely yell at him, but what's that gonna get me?
As she passed the area where she had heard the noise, the clunk of something heavy striking the wall off to her left echoed in the corridor. She flinched and swung her head in that direction—but someone grabbed her from behind, locking the crook of his elbow into her larynx and yanking her backward. Vail pried at the man's wrist, attempting to leverage his arm off her windpipe, but the pressure against her neck only increased.
She slammed her heel into his foot—and he released his hold enough for her to turn her head to the side and squirm down, out from under his grip. But then he brought his left knee up and swung it around, slamming into her side and sending her sprawling deeper into the crypt.
She landed face down on the slick tile floor and was trying to get up when he grabbed the back of her shirt and flung her into the stone wall. Her shoulder absorbed most of the impact, and she bounced back enough to give her the momentum to stumble forward, toward the opening that led to the corridor.
But he fisted her blouse and yanked her back toward him, then cupped a hand across her mouth. She wind-milled her elbows, striking him sharply in the nose and cheek—yet his grip remained firm.
He clamped a hand over her eyes and tried to force her to the ground.
Vail reached out blindly and grabbed for something—anything—and felt two objects. She took one in each hand and heaved them behind her, above her head.
They struck her attacker in the face.
He froze on impact—and she drove the point of her elbow into his abdomen. As he released his grip, she spun around, put her head down and struck him in the stomach, driving him backward like a linebacker doing tackling drills.
He grabbed her hair and pulled—but momentum and adrenaline propelled her forward several steps until they both struck the wall. It knocked the wind out of him and he lost his hold on her. She fell to the floor, landing on her bottom.
Vail got on her feet, ready to strike if he came at her again. And that's when she realized that it was not the wall that had taken away his breath, but the wrought iron gate.
That, and the curved, razor-sharp pointed arrows atop the metal fencing.
As she advanced on him, it became clear that the murder suspect with the gray backpack was no longer a threat: the prongs had punctured the back of his skull, killing him instantly.
Footsteps. Running, echoing.
Shouting voices: "Policia! ¡Salga ahora!" Police! Come out now!
Now there's a new one. Wish I'd thought of that.
Two cops appeared with handguns, pointed not at their dead suspect, but at her.
Vail did what all people are supposed to do when armed law enforcement personnel yell at you: she lifted both hands above her head. The universal sign for "I am so screwed."
"FBI," she said, not knowing if they understood English. And there was no way she'd be able to translate Federal Bureau of Investigation into Spanish. But she tried anyway. "Bureau Federale de Investigación."
They looked at one another, hesitated—and then handcuffed her.
Typical cops. Don't like fibbies.
As they led her away, she realized she had a problem. Murder suspect or not, she had killed a man in a foreign country. She was, as a buddy of hers liked to say, "in the shit."
Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do.
VAIL FORCED A SMILE. She had been in the police interview room for thirty minutes, doing her best to explain her actions. But her piss-poor Spanish and their piss-poor English made for a lot of confusion and misunderstood hand gestures. Unfortunately, the one hand gesture Vail preferred to use would not have done her much good.
They finally summoned a translator.
"As I've been trying to tell you, I'm a Supervisory Special Agent for the FBI in the United States. I'm teaching a conference on behavioral analysis to your detectives." She stopped and waited for the man to finish turning her English into Spanish. Accurately, she hoped.
A few exchanges later, she wondered if the interpreter understood English either. As he and the police official discussed the score of the soccer game between Real Madrid and Barcelona—they couldn't have been talking about what she had just said because she had only uttered three sentences—Vail realized that her do-it-yourself attempt to save her ass was falling short.
"Find Detective Heredia. He'll tell you. There was a call over his radio about two murder suspects." She finished the story, and then the interpreter stopped and waited for her to continue. But she felt she'd already provided the police enough information for him to laugh, slap her on the back, apologize for putting her through the embarrassment of getting arrested—and then offer to take her out for tapas and beer.
He did none of that. Instead, he turned to face her and said, through the interpreter, "The Almudena Cathedral is the seat of the Madrid archdiocese. You disrespected our national treasure and destroyed valuable artifacts."
Yikes, the archdiocese? For sure I'm gonna burn in hell. "It's a really beautiful church." Over the top gaudy, if you must know. "I'm truly sorry. I should've let the murder suspect get away."
Some rapid-fire Spanish, and then the translation. "You have no jurisdiction here. Why did you initiate foot pursuit?"
I'm sure my boss will be asking me that same question.
"Instinct," she said with a shrug. "I'm a cop. No matter what country I'm in, I live to catch the bad guys."
The man frowned and shook his head.
Really? Not even a thank-you?
He walked to a phone, babbled something into the receiver, waited, then babbled some more. He finally returned and said, "Your FBI will be handling this."
I can't wait.
VAIL SAT IN THE STATION for another forty minutes, waiting for things to get sorted out. Because of the time difference, she was sure the delay was due to an inability to reach someone at the Bureau. She didn't even know the protocol for a situation like this. It probably involved the Madrid FBI Legat, or legal attaché, calling his contact in the States, who would then alert an assistant director in charge, who would then call her boss. If that scenario was correct, she was not looking forward to hearing her name tossed about in hushed curses—not only for what she had done but because she did it at an "inconvenient" hour.
Finally Vail was led into a large room where the detectives had their desks, computers, and files. She was put in a chair and handed a phone. A line button was pushed and she said, "This is Vail."
It was the voice of the Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the behavioral analysis units, Thomas Gifford.
"You can imagine my surprise when I got a call from Director Knox about some trouble one of my agents got herself into. And the first thing I thought was, 'Must be Karen.' Now why is that?"
"I'm sorry they got you out of bed for this, sir."
"I wasn't in bed."
Vail did a quick calculation—but before she could arrive at the answer, Gifford said, "I sent you to Madrid because I thought you'd do a good job representing the Bureau. But maybe that's my fault for having unreasonable expectations."
Ow. Did I deserve that? "You realize, sir, that none of this was my fault."
"I'll withhold judgment for the moment. But only because something's come up. I need you to go to London."
"London." She looked around for a hidden camera crew capturing her surprise. "What's in London?"
"There's been a bombing and we were asked to provide support and analysis. Threat assessment."
"What about my conference?"
"Postponed. If you wrap up your assignment in London quickly, you can go back to Madrid. But we're also discussing a way of finishing it on Skype. Not ideal, but right now the priority is helping New Scotland Yard with this case. And—I can't stress this enough, Karen—I want you to make like a good soldier and get along with others. Show respect to the other law enforcement personnel you come into contact with, especially the London Legat. Okay?"
"That's extremely important. I don't want anymore phone calls."
"No more phone calls. Got it."
"Karen, I'm serious."
"I am, too, sir. Phone calls are bad. I don't want any phone calls either."
"No worries. Sarcasm's in check. No insubordination. I will be a good soldier."
"I'm not going to hold my breath."
"Probably smart, sir."
"Lenka worked with the travel office," Gifford said, ignoring her comment, "to get you a room. London's usually 80 percent occupied, and it's particularly busy now, so it wasn't easy. You're booked into The Horatio Nelson at Charing Cross. It's by Trafalgar Square, centrally located and very expensive. The British government is footing the bill. Please be courteous to the staff. Got it?"
Excerpted from No Way Out by Alan Jacobson. Copyright © 2013 Alan Jacobson. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Alan Jackson has done it again. I loved this book, a new twist for gent Karen Vale. Would like to see more like this. However I do also like when she tracks serial killers. I recommend his books to everyone. Anita from PA
This book was so full of high octane action!!! Karen Vail is sent to England to help run a profile on a bombing suspect, and that's not all!! From the minute I picked up this book, I did not want to put it down....
Just suspend belief and run with the story. Love the Karen Vail series! Great beach read!!
I rarely start a book and don't finish, but this book is exceptionally bad. The main character, a "brilliant" FBI agent, is too stupid to understand that "way out" means "exit". There may be a plot buried under all the jingoism, but I didn't ever find it. Right-wing conspiracy theorists will love this book.
Another great read. Can't wait for the next one
Mystery/suspense author, Alan Jacobson, transports us into the shadowy international world of terrorism, thanks to some very strong characters – led by FBI Profiler Karen Vail. Mr. Jacobson weaves an intense story of shocking revelations and the never-ending moral dilemma of whether the ends justify the means. England and Spain are rich environments in this fast-paced tale with Karen Vail often challenged with whom to trust vs. following her gut instincts. Add to this some veteran characters (ex., Hector DeSantos; Aaron “Uzi” Uziel) and we begin to see the importance of trust, quick thinking and the ultimate in teamwork. Many times I was placed directly in the action, leaving me breathless and wanting to resolve some tough questions along the way. In my opinion, No Way Out is an excellent book, full of high-energy action, well-placed humor and an admirable red-headed heroine (and heroes) for our times! Believe me, we WANT someone like Karen Vail and her associates – on our side.
I Love Karen Vail, you will as well !
I just finished No Way Out on my Kindle. Once again, I don't know how Alan does it. I'm convinced his writing must be a God-given gift. His writing paints pictures in my mind with words that are like watching a marathon of episodes of 24! Only READING is much better since my mind gets to choose the colors, faces & scenery. Karen Vail & Co. got very close this time to being GONE FOR GOOD. I loved the description of the Osprey and the USNS New York. They were so detailed I felt like I was on the deck of the ship watching them wobble in for a landing. Pilots have a saying, "If you can walk away from it, it was a GOOD landing." I just can't imagine the amount of research it took to write this one. I found myself planning my work day around having time to read. At the beach, at the coffee shop, at home.....and then like a good movie I was disappointed when it was over. I'm looking forward to the next book.
Enjoyed this book very much. Great read.
I've read all of Alan Jacobson's books and loved them all. The Karen Vail series in particular. I was hooked from the first book in the series and always eagerly await the next. The twists, the true to life details are both things that make the books in this series winners! No Way Out has become my new favorite, can't wait for Alan's next book.
I have read many Alan Jacobson novels, and is Karen Vail series will hook you right from the start. One of the best things about Jacobson's writing, is the great detail in each story. You can tell that the man does his homework before beginning a novel. He makes sure you feel like your are right there, in the story, with the characters. I love the character of Karen Vail, as well as all of the supporting characters helping her out of trouble (or even sometimes getting her into trouble). If you purchase this book, No Way Out, you will not be disappointed!
The Karen Vail series is one that draws you in to get to know the characters. You are rooting for her while at the same time you are wanting to kick her butt!!! No Way Out is a very dramatic fast paced book that teaches you so many of the nuances that come into play while fighting crime. It's almost so well researched you feel like it's a true story account of an actual event. There is an element of right/wrong that makes the reader think about choices and what they would do in that type of situation. It is an excellent read and very well worth the purchase, you will want to read it more than once.
I love the Karen Vail character and the stories created around her. There was never a good time for me to put down this book. I did not want to stop and I didn't. From beginning to end I was engaged and entranced. I was exhausted the next day, but I managed to smile as I daydreamed about the story. I could not stop thinking about the book. There was no way out of No Way Out. This week I am so sad to learn Tom Clancy passed away. This fact makes me even more thankful for this wonderful series. I can't wait for the next book.
So hapoy to have a new Karen Vail story to add to my collection.
Love this book
Karen Vail has become one of my favorite heroines. Her brassy tough persona alienates her from many of her colleagues, yet that's exactly what keeps her alive, and above all--a fantastic protagonist. No Way Out delivers a knockout punch as it takes the reader inside the world's most sophisticated and secretive organizations and exposes their strengths and shortcomings. Alan Jacobson's novels demonstrate how meticulous and thorough his research is. No Way Out is no exception. The techniques, the lingo, even the British mannerisms and customs are spot on. And the premise of the story is so controversial that one wonders how Alan ever came up with it. The tale travels down a myriad of paths , which doesn't allow the reader much time to figure out who the bad guys are. No Way Out is a brilliant whodunit, packed with excitement and plenty of action. Alan Jacobson has become known as one of the best thriller writers for a reason--his stories deliver.
I stayed up until 3a.m.!! But, I just had to go to sleep! I just now finished it, here in Tucson, AZ! Great book! Really good characters! I loved Karen Vail, Hector DeSantos and Reid! Not giving anything away - after passing the details on the manuscript - the book kicked into high gear and was extremely fast moving, edge of your seat, thriller!!! I loved the repartee between Hector "GQ" and Karen! This book would definitely make a great movie as well! You did a great job, Alan, as always! Congratulations!
No Way out No Way Out is a fact paced action thriller as with all of the other Karen Vail books. The main character Karen has evolved and has gone international. The story line involves FBI, CIA and the British equivalent saving Britain from a terrorist attack. The story is told at a fast pace with action in every chapter. No Way Out is truly a good name for the book because Karen and her partner DeSantos seem to get deeper and deeper into trouble with No Way Out until the very end. When I pick up an Alan Jacobson book, nothing gets done until I finish the book. I cannot wait for the next Karen Vail book.
Whether you are a longtime Alan Jacobson fan or you are new to his writing, No Way Out will keep you on the edge of your seat, racing through the novel to keep up with the action. Jacobson’s unique ability to endow readers with a fly-on-the-wall perspective inserts them directly into the action, which leaps off the page so brilliantly they will think they are wearing 3D glasses. In No Way Out Jacobson teams gutsy FBI profiler Karen Vail with rough-and-tumble covert operative Hector DeSantos to interdict a group of international conspirators who are planning mass murder on an unprecedented scale. Warning: Once you pick up this book, you probably won’t be able to put it down. It’s that good—a terrific story full of breathtaking action, memorable characters, witty dialogue, painterly descriptions, intricate plot, and touching moments.
Very good action thriller with all the normal fight scenes, car chases and James Bond type action. Good story line of CIA/FBI/MI5 operatives saving Britain from a terrorist attack. The main character Karen Vail I believe has been overworked as to me she was very unlikeable, gobby, know it all, with ego to match. She could have been toned down a little to make her acceptance with her peers more believable. Written for an American audience the author added various references to the differences between English and American English, one or two of these changes in language use is fine and makes the point, overuse makes them irritating, as does calling police cars "cruisers" . The story was told at a fast pace with action in every chapter. This is the kind of story ideal for making into a movie, however I not sure Karen Vail would have the same appeal as James Bond. Although I have some misgivings the book is very enjoyable and therefore meets my criteria for recommendation.
No Way Out By Alan Jacobson Reviewed by Russell Ilg No Way Out is the latest and greatest installment of the FBI Profiler Karen Vail series. In this best novel of the year contender, Karen is taken out of her comfort zone and sent to England to help Scotland Yard with a threat assessment. On the surface, it looks to be a quick in-and-out job. But this simple case takes on a life of its own that soon becomes a much more complex, challenging, and dangerous matter that puts her in a tough position: there appears to be No Way Out for her—and, quite literally, getting home may never happen. There is nothing you can do to get ready for what lurks around the corners in this thriller. It’s fresh and original, and even makes you think—about our history, about personal and governmental security, even about enhanced interrogation. All of Alan Jacobson’s novels are two-read books for me, and No Way Out was no exception. It starts off with a bang and the pacing is exceptional. The twists and turns occur so rapidly, and frequently, that I found myself reading faster and faster because I had to know what was going to happen next. As with Jacobson’s other novels, I galloped along with its breakneck pace, and after reaching the end, I took a day to absorb it all. I then started reading it again, from page one, to find all the small things that I missed the first time. I find it a great way to enjoy Jacobson’s books. As with all the Karen Vail novels, this is by far one of the best reads of the year and stands head and shoulders above the crowded field of new releases this fall. No Way Out will have you reading way longer than you had planned, well into the night. One of the reasons is Karen Vail. Not only do we respect her as a gifted profiler, but she feels “real” to the reader. She’s not perfect as an individual or as a law enforcement officer, but she possesses a dogged tenacity that compels her to get to the heart of what’s going on. It’s this quality that makes her so good at what she does as she forges her way forward, looking for a way to get to the bottom of the hardest cases that come her way. And just what is going on in No Way Out? Jacobson covers so much ground that it’d be impossible to recap the story, certainly without giving away key plot elements, because everything in this book builds on itself. Simply stated, it starts off with the find of a rare manuscript—one over 400 years old—that has significance to world history. More than that I won’t say. But before you know it, there’s a full-blown catastrophe afoot, and Karen Vail, and her covert operative friend, Hector DeSantos, have to sort it out. Will they? And will they do it in time? Equally important, who can be trusted? Alan Jacobson is one of the very rare authors that writes what I have started to refer to as “fact fiction,” where the novel is based on real places, capturing the way the local people really live and act, which makes the setting come alive. There is only one way Jacobson can do this and that is by spending a huge amount of time in the area to learn all he can about the place and its local culture, with the help and support of the police and other major agencies. You know that the areas where his novels take you are all real because he has been there and walked the streets and talked with people in each location. The result is that you learn how things really happen, whether it be a prison in the US or some country in Europe. There are very few authors who take the time, expense and effort to do this, and it adds levels of depth to the characters, setting, and dialogue that can’t otherwise exist. That’s one thing that makes No Way Out, set in England and featuring the clash of British and American cultures, a standout thriller. No Way Out is a must read for all thriller fans, by far one of the most exciting novels of the fall and the perfect book to take on vacation. You will not read a better book this year.