Welcome! You’ve read Crush. (If you haven’t, save this until you have. There’s spoiler info below.) You’ve laughed, and cried, along with Karen Vail. You’ve maybe even uttered a curse word under your breath directed at yours truly.

If I’ve engaged you and roused your emotions, then I’ve succeeded. Let’s extend the experience. Below are 15 questions designed to provide a stimulating discussion centered around Crush. -Alan

1. Based on the wineries visited in Crush, which is the one you’d most like to visit if/when you go to the Napa Valley?

2. If you’ve previously read the first Karen Vail novel, The 7th Victim, how would you say Karen Vail’s character changed in Crush?

3. Have you ever been in a situation that Vail or Dixon find themselves in at Fit1!, when they’re asked out on a date within a few minutes of meeting someone? Did you consider the risks involved with dating a stranger you know nothing about?

4. How hard is it for a woman to be taken seriously in certain professions, particularly when she happens to be attractive, as in Roxxann Dixon’s case? Would that woman, along with potentially not being taken seriously by her male coworkers, face negative perceptions from other women solely because of her looks?

5. Should Vail have gotten involved with the case when they happened across the body in the wine cave at Silver Ridge? Should she have continued with her vacation with Robby and minded her own business? Is it a character flaw that she’s drawn into work situations or is it a trait to be cherished?

6. At what point in the story did you feel that Brix was finally able to look at Vail as not just a resource, but as a someone he respects and likes?

7. What was your first thought when you read the last paragraph of Crush?

8. What do you think happened to Robby at the end of Crush?

9. Ray Lugo is a law enforcement officer sworn to “protect and defend.” But as a reader, can you understand why Lugo felt compelled to assist his family’s kidnapper even at the potential expense of other crimes the criminal may commit against other innocent people? What would you have done?

10. How do you feel about the use of modern technology in a story? Does it make a story seem more real and timely? In Crush, the task force communicates using text messaging. How would it affect your experience if you read Crush five years later, if texting is no longer used?

11. Did you feel like the Napa Valley became a character in the story?

12. A profiler works cases on a daily basis that involve violence at the extreme of human behavior. How do you think working these types of cases affects his or her personal life?

13. Allowing a winery to use grapes from outside its growing region keeps the price lower, but is it misleading to the consumer? Is the rule governing the minimum grape requirement for a particular wine growing region a good thing or bad thing?

14. If you had the opportunity to talk with the author, what question would you like to ask him?

15. Did you know that Alan Jacobson and FBI profiler Mark Safarik co-wrote a personal safety booklet that’s
available, free, at www.AlanJacobson.com?

Please feel free to share this post.