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Book Review: Hard Target by Alan Jacobson

Posted By Blackfive • [July 25, 2012]

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews in the Books category or by clicking here:

Jacobson180351700Alan Jacobson’s latest book, Hard Target, ventures away from FBI behavioral analyst Karen Vail.  Although she makes a cameo appearance, other characters in the book play a predominate role.  There are a number of themes in this book: from when to follow orders, a search for life’s meaning, how a personal loss affects one’s life, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and a discussion of the Second Amendment.

The main character is FBI Agent Aaron Uziel, better known as Uzi.  While working for Mossad he lost his wife and daughter in a terrorist attack. He moves back to America and lands a job with the FBI.  In this book he works closely with Hector DeSantos, an operative with the Department of Defense.  Together they try to find those responsible for an assassination attempt on the president-elect.  This is where the reader gets exposed to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the conspiracy theory involving the Second Amendment.

Although Jacobson commented that he does not see this book “involving a conspiracy theory because that has bigger connotations.  Those that believe in it many times latch on to theories and facts, weaving them together into some fantastical, bizarre, illogical explanation of what has happened.”

The plot leans towards those supporting gun control, perhaps because he consulted with the general counsel of an organization that believes the Second Amendment does not provide citizens the right to bear arms.  Jacobson told BlackFive that he did research with this group but he achieved a balance by having quotes in the book, such as “don’t blame the weapon, blame the handler.”

As with all of his books he tries to get into the mind of the antagonist.  He made an interesting point in the novel, that bomb makers like serial killers have a signature.  Commenting directly, “Part of the behavioral analysis unit profiles and analyzes bombers.  The BAU approaches the bomber, in a sense, from a similar perspective: their work is studied as well as the way they execute these attacks.”

Will his next book be another in the Karen Vail series or will it involve Uzi?  He told BlackFive that Karen Vail will return in the novel, which will be set in England.  The story starts out with her in Madrid to educate the Spanish law enforcement about serial killers.  While in Spain she gets involved in helping to apprehend an offender.  This gets her in a bit of hot water and the FBI needs to send its legal attaché to extradite her.  However, instead of coming home she is ordered to head to London to assist with a bombing threat assessment.  In this next book, Hector DeSantos will also return to work with Vail and Scotland Yard.

In an interesting side note, he commented that he had to give his wife a tip of his cap since she gave him the idea of Hard Target before going to sleep.  “Three hours later I woke up and started writing the first fifteen pages which became the outline for the book.”


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