NO WAY OUT by Alan Jacobson

Book Quote:

“So,” Vail said, “William Shakespeare, white bread legend of national and international stature, wasn’t a white church-going Catholic but a black Jewish woman.” Okay, I can see that not sitting well with some. “But that was over four hundred years ago, and my job is to assess the threat as it stands now.”

“Fine. Fast-forward to the present. There’s considerable unrest among a rising minority base in this country. British society is under pressure from an Arab Islamic population that’s growing rapidly. And there’s a substantial population of disadvantaged minorities that are aligned against the white establishment, an establishment that supports the Shakespeare fiction through high-browed elitist organizations like the government backed British Shakespeare Academy.

“Given everything the government’s dealing with, keeping the peace, if proof emerged that Shakespeare was actually a minority woman, it’d almost be too much for the country to bear.”

Book Review:

Review by Chuck Barksdale  (FEB 6, 2014)

Karen Vail finds herself in a different role and a different country in No Way Out, the fifth book in the series by Alan Jacobson. Karen, an FBI profiler, is sent to England to assist Scotland Yard in a theft of a key document that she finds out may show that Amelia Bassano Lanier, a woman who also happens to have been Jewish and black, actually was the author of all of the plays and poems attributed to William Shakespeare. Karen, though soon realizes that something is just not correct with Gavin Paxton, the curator of the gallery that owns the Shakespeare document. She suspects that he may have been involved in the bombing attempt to destroy the document. She also doesn’t fully understand why Hector DeSantos is there (as Hector Cruz) and pushes him to tell the truth. He is slow to bring her into his covert operations which only annoys and fuels Karen more. He eventually tells her that she may be right about Paxton as they suspect he is Hussein Rudenko, a terrorist who sells deadly weapons to the Taliban, the Northern Alliance and other terrorist organizations. She is soon pulled into a very much different adventure that finds her traveling all over England and at times being on the wrong side of Scotland Yard that she is there to help. Overall, Jacobson has written an interesting well researched adventure.

There is humor in this generally fast paced book, especially with Karen and her misunderstanding of the “improper” English of the British.

As they reached the second landing, Reid said, “Oh—what was that about the guv’nor being a bad Frisbee player?”
Vail shrugged, “He said he’s been known to throw a wobbly.”
Reid snorted. “It means to throw a tantrum, have a fit.”
Vail stepped outside, into the rain. “Why can’t you Brits just speak English?”

I read some “action thriller” books, but over the years, I’ve been reading less and less primarily since they tend to be a bit too unbelievable and are not as much character based as I prefer. To me, the best thrillers keep me interested from start to finish and are so well paced that I can ignore how fast things occur and how ridiculous some of the circumstances and the character decisions are. No Way Out has a lot of these situations with Karen and Hector doing things that no person, no matter how well trained is likely to do. Jacobson obviously has experience and research on his side to present what appear to be accurate historical and present day accounts of England (only a few guns but a lot of video cameras everywhere!). This is somewhat of a balancing act however in presenting interesting and believable background that could, in the wrong hands, slow down the pace too much. For the most part, Jacobson keeps the story moving although it is a bit uneven at times. This story may not work for everyone but overall I can recommend this book, especially to those that really enjoy action thrillers.

As a first-time reader of this series,  I was missing some back story about Karen Vail, especially since she was really not using her profiler skills that much. I wondered whether any of the US characters were in other books and if I should know about past relationships. Nonetheless, a new reader can follow along and enjoy the story. I certainly enjoyed the book enough to order (at a discount) the first two books in the series so I’ll eventually know if I was missing any key back story about Karen and the other characters.

AMAZON READER RATING: from 56 readers
PUBLISHER: Premier Digital Publishing (September 17, 2013)
REVIEWER: Chuck Barksdale
EXTRAS: Reading Guide and Excerpt
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Karen Vail Series:

February 6, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Theme driven, Thriller/Spy/Caper, United Kingdom

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