Read Karen Vail 01 - Velocity Online

Authors: Alan Jacobson

Tags: #Suspense, #Thriller, #Alan Jacobson

Karen Vail 01 - Velocity

BOOK: Karen Vail 01 - Velocity
Karen Vail [1]
Alan Jacobson
Vanguard (2010)
Suspense, Thriller, Alan Jacobson
From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Jacobson's third thriller featuring FBI profiler Karen Vail (after Crush) sizzles with nonstop action and startling details about drug trafficking. When Karen's lover, Det. Robby Hernandez, disappears in California's Napa Valley while she's busy catching John Wayne Mayfield, the notorious œCrush Killer,  Karen is horrified to learn that she may have blown Robby's cover. As part of a DEA operation, Robby was investigating drug cartel kingpin Carlos Cortez and his associates, including the CFO of a mobile wine bottling company, César Guevara. Guevara was funneling drugs for Cortez and using Mayfield to eliminate anyone opposing the drug lord. For years the DEA has wanted to take down Cortez, and now Karen does, too. Refreshingly real, Karen doesn't let her tough œtake no prisoners  attitude stand in the way of following her heart. While this dizzy nail-biter is a direct sequel to Crush, enough backstory will keep new readers up to speed.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


First, FBI profiler Karen Vail’s romantic getaway with Detective Robby Hernandez in the Napa Valley turns into a busman’s holiday, as she pursues a serial killer. Then Hernandez goes missing, and in her search for her best friend and lover, Vail inadvertently puts him in mortal danger. Called back to Quantico by her boss, Thomas Gifford, to work a high-profile case, Vail connects with Hector DeSantos, a government operative who agrees to put his considerable covert resources into finding Hernandez. When DeSantos uncovers Gifford’s involvement in the Hernandez disappearance, Vail—a veritable force of nature when someone she loves is in jeopardy—gets carte blanche to work the search. Jacobson, who dealt with the wine business in Crush (2009), picks up just where that book ended as he explores illegal drug trafficking and the deadly cartels behind it. Those who cross Karen Vail do so at their peril, and the third in this series is a high-tech, interagency procedural with nonstop action. Gritty crime fiction with adrenaline-producing suspense. --Michele Leber

Table of Contents


Title Page



Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33


Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61


Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78


Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86
Copyright Page


False Accusations

The Hunted

The 7th Victim


For Jeff

As a toddler he cal ed me “Onion”

As a teen it was “Herm”

But I’l always cal him

my brother,

my best friend.

This one’s for you.

The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him.

—HENRY STIMSON (1867-1950)

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough.


It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784)


Old Tannery District

99 S. Coombs Street

Napa, California

e was not going to kil her immediately. No—if there was one thing he had learned, it was to savor the moment, to be deliberate and purposeful. Like a predator in the wild, he would waste no energy. He needed to be careful, efficient, and resourceful. And above al , he needed to be patient.

That’s what he was now: a hunter who satisfied his hunger by feeding on others.

He sat alone in the dark parking lot, drumming his fingers on the dashboard, shifting positions in the seat. Talk radio hosts babbled on in the background, but he remained focused on his task. Watching. Waiting.

That’s why he chose the Lonely Echo bar. Located in downtown Napa, the old Tannery District sat tucked away in an area devoid of scenic mountain views, posh wineries, or pampering bed-and-breakfasts. That meant no tourists. And
meant city planners had little incentive to expend valuable resources attempting to polish a hidden, unsightly flaw on the nation’s crown jewel.

Drugs, alcohol, sex, and prostitution were in abundant supply—and in strong demand. While the val ey’s profit-driving centers blossomed over the past two decades, the district had become an overlooked pimple slowly fil ing with pus.

Ideal for his needs.

His eyes prowled the parking lot, watching people enter and leave the bar. With only a single light by the building’s front door and one overhanging the quiet side street, he would be able to operate with relative impunity to roaming eyes—or mobile phone video cameras. With such scarce il umination, neither was much of a threat.

But it didn’t matter: during the hours he’d sat in his minivan, no one had approached to ask him who he was. No one had even given him a glance, let alone a second look. A few women had left the bar, but they walked in pairs, making his approach extremely difficult, if not impossible.

The long wait had given him a chance to reflect on what had brought him to this moment: since childhood, strange, misplaced feelings had stirred him, but he hadn’t known how to channel or utilize them. As he got older, although those urges persisted, the fear of making a mistake—shackling him with a very, very long prison sentence—held him back.

But given the right direction and tutelage, those needs took on substance, purpose, and direction. He was no longer fearful of failing. The only question was, could he
do it
? Could he kil ?

The body that now lay in the shed in his yard was proof that he could do it, and do it wel .

But kil ing a
. He grinned at the thought. He was a virgin again, about to do it with a member of the opposite sex for the first time. Just like when he was a teen, his nerves were on edge, the fluttering in his stomach constant. Yet this was different. He was not going to chicken out like that time al those years ago. He was ready now. His first kil , waiting for him back home, provided al the proof he needed.

THE BARTENDER PLANTED two large hands on the nicked wood counter. “I’m not going to say it again. You’ve had enough, miss. It’s time you went home.”

“I told you my name before,” she said, running the words together. “Don’t you remember?” She scooped up the photo of her son and waved it at him. “My son.

Remember me tel ing you? About him? You were al interested before. When you wanted a nice tip. Now, you’re al like, get out of my fucking place.” When the bartender failed to react, she wagged a finger at him. “You’re not a very nice man, Kevinnnn.” She drew out the last letter as if she were a scratched CD stuck on a note.

Kevin shook his head, tossed down his wet rag, then turned away.

A natural redhead whose hair sprouted from her scalp like weeds, the woman pushed back from the bar and wobbled as she sought enough balance to turn and walk out. She scrunched her face into a scowl directed at Kevin, then slid off the stool.

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