Suspense Magazine's Reviews > Inmate 1577

Inmate 1577 by Alan Jacobson
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Oct 11, 2011

it was amazing

What connection exists between an incarcerated bank robber in the late 1950s and a present day serial killer? You’ll find out in Alan Jacobson’s latest novel featuring profiler Karen Vail. This one combines a clinical procedural investigation with a tragic story of how prison changes a man.
1958—three years after being found not guilty of the murder of his wife, Walton McNally and his young son are trying to find a solid life for themselves. McNally goes from job to job because even though he didn’t commit the crime, but because he was on trial for it, taints him in the eyes of employers. Desperate straits lead him and his accomplice son into robbing banks. After the second robbery, his son escapes, but Walton is caught and imprisoned in Leavenworth penitentiary where he learns all too quickly the realities of prison life. When a couple escape attempts fail he is sent to Alcatraz. There, he finds life even worse.
Present day—FBI profiler Karen Vail is assigned to the heinous homicide of an elderly woman in San Francisco. Teaming up with the local investigators and a newspaper reporter, she scrambles to put together leads to the killer.
With more bodies discovered on a daily basis, more clues are gathered, but Vail is unable to hone in on the killer. One of the investigators is kidnapped and the killer starts playing word games. Can Vail decipher the clues and what connection they might have to a closed prison on a desolate island in the middle of the bay?
If you like puzzles and conundrums and the slowly unraveling of clues, you will enjoy “Inmate 1577.” All the pieces are there for the reader to put together, but watch out . . . there might be a surprise or two. This is an excellent novel with some graphic descriptions, but a few real life people thrown in to make it a very worthwhile read.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, author of “Beta” for Suspense Magazine
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