Red Death: Alan Jacobson
Childhood experiences that often play havoc on the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of a young child. Abuse by a parent might carry over to this child’s adulthood causing the same behavior received from one or two parents inflicted on others when older. The opening scene introduces us to a serial killer who has a unique way of eliminating his victims and leaving no evidence of his presence.
Adam Russell is a detective in the HPD, Honolulu Police Department and gets called to the case of two older women, in their sixties that seem to have been killed by the same thing, and yet how? Scott Meece in the past faces off with his cruel mother as he adds his own special touch to his breakfast insisting he eat it or deal with the consequences. Who in their right mind does that and poor Scott got deathly ill in school, wound up in the hospital and his mother could care less about him? Waverly Meece his father is a whipped man who must cow tow to her whims, Mary is cruel, harsh and no one seems to ever defy her. No one seems to fight for themselves why?
Waverly Meece is about to eat his final meal. Just what did she put in it that would take his life and why?
The setting is Oahu, Hawaii and the death of these two women called by the ME as death by cardiac arrest or asphyxiation. Detective Adam Russell makes a call to a detective in San Francisco for help and in turn gets the name of FBI Profiler Karen Vail. She is difficult to work with, sarcastic and is unyielding but when she gets on a case she is relentless, deadly and will stop at nothing until the UNSUB is caught. Adam and Vail have a love hate relationship from the start and her sarcasm, her dry sense of humor and his retorts to come back at her add humor to the plot as they investigate the first two murders.
As they assess the crime scenes one common denominator comes to light as the techs process the bathroom and focus on the soap. What could be deadly in a bar of soap? How could washing your hands take your life? Why and how did someone inject something RED inside the soap that was colorless until analyzed? Things get tense and strange and they speculate whether the killer is male or female and whether this is a serial or spree killer as defined and described in detail by author Alan
treat to his special soap.
Some cases are straightforward while others have hidden surprises and obstacles. Karen Vail and Adam Russell not only have to follow the path and unravel the mind of this serial killer but the murder weapon or mode of killing will take them into different fields of forensics. Imagine soap and chocolate bars laced with red dye 40 in the soap and aconite from a plant implanted in the bars or even sprinkled on food served in a restaurant. The killer is mentally deranged and sees visions and has psychotic episodes justifying his actions. His brother’s death was the trigger. Hoping to find his way the author creates a graphic journey of his road and we begin to learn more about him. Unwanted, unloved, poor self-esteem and never really fighting back until he finally stands up to his stepfather, this mentally ill man never really uses his full potential for good. Research leads him to the perfect murder weapon.
Karen Vail and Adam Russell know what is causing the deaths, but will they figure out how , why and who.
A simple meeting with someone and the pieces falls into place, but this killer is smart and if he knows he has been found out will he move to somewhere else?
Lives are at stake but first let us go forward in time as this killer has one more person to finally treat to his special soap. The expression and harsh reality of what was happening was priceless and the killer committed the murder with perfect precision.
As Vail and Russell proceed with the investigation someone is out to end her career and she might be the victim of an internal investigation and possibly more. But this will not hamper her achieving her goals. Facing off with the killer in person when she gets one piece of information from someone the investigation moves ahead but will they catch this killer before there is another victim added to the list? Using the map of Oahu, they hoped to eliminate some locations and home in on the one that would finally end this nightmare. What is the significance of the name Mary? Why did the killer use this poison as a weapon? When the final showdown happens and the reality of what might happen if they do not come up with a plan to get him to surrender will shock you as author Alan Jacobson created a multi-level plot, a creative ending that will surprise readers with a significant twist that will leave you wondering what will happen next and will someone survive?
A special reveal at the end and a special bond formed between Karen and Adam but you will not believe how or why? Sometimes endings are new beginnings and other times they create final solutions. Will the killer win this one? Will Vail prove that she can solve another case? What makes her such a great profiler? At the end you the reader might consider checking the ingredients of your own personal soap and make sure that there is nothing in it that is red or you too might become the next victim of our killer and learn the true meaning of RED DEATH. A fantastic plot, high energy suspense and a character that is tough, sarcastic and bold. Hardnosed, hard boiled and unique once again author Alan Jacobson tops the charts with another Karen Vail case. Each novel is unique unto itself and each case is different keeping her on her toes, bent on solving the case and never giving up until she gets the killer. A must read for all Karen Vail fans and for new ones too.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews