The following book review is a special provided for BlackFive readers by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the far right side bar.
Alan Jacobson’s in his latest book No Way Out takes his heroine Karen Vail to a new location, London
England. It is a powerful reminder that
the war on terror has not ended. Through
an intense plot he explores many different issues, including enhanced interrogation
and the gun culture in Great Britain.
The plot has FBI profiler Karen Vail helping Scotland Yard
and MI5 find the bomber of a prestigious London art gallery. The trail leads to a conspiracy involving
Shakespeare. After reading an article by
John Hudson, Jacobson formulated the idea to have this gallery display a manuscript
that implies that the identity of Shakespeare was actually a black Jewish
woman. He told BlackFive, “I decided
to use it as the jumping off point for this story because it is so jaw
However, Vail with the help of an American operative, Hector
DeSantos, finds that the bombing is possibly related to Islamic
extremists. They become fugitives after
being framed for murdering a prominent politician. Enhancing this riveting plot is a lot of
technology including cameras that have face recognition ability. In writing the
story he noted, “I had to maneuver around the technology. The police had the ability to track my
characters so I had to come up with ways for them to avoid it. There are cameras everywhere in London, both
government and private. I actually laughed when I heard about the Snowden
revelations and the subsequent outcry.
People need to understand how private companies have an awful lot of
data on them.”
A character in the book makes a statement, “Without people
like me doing what we do a lot of innocent people would be blown up by
terrorists.” He explained that he wanted
to show there is no definite right and wrong when interrogating a terrorist. In the story the book has Vail wanting to do
a police-type interrogation while DeSantos decides time is of the essence and
must use enhanced interrogation to get actionable intelligence. The plotline has the reader understanding
that circumstances such as what is at stake, what are the consequences, and who
should perform it are all issues that must be considered.
Another interesting issue is the difference in gun cultures
between England and the US. There are
many instances when Vail wishes for her Glock gun, commenting, “Mine’s like a
third hand.” He has Vail, someone proficient in knowing how to fight
overpowered by a large male figure, and at a distinct disadvantage. Jacobson
hopes that in presenting these issues he showed that there are no black and white
No Way Out
skillfully mixes international intrigue with important issues of the day. In the same spirit as Nelson DeMille and
Daniel Silva he is able to create an interesting and creative plot.