Agent X (Steve Vail Novels)


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About the Author

Noah Boyd is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Bricklayer and a former FBI agent who spent more than twenty years working some of the Bureau's toughest investigations, including the Green River Killer case and the Highland Park Strangler case (which he's credited with solving). He currently works on cold cases when he's not writing. He lives in New England.


A Soviet spy is willing to turn over a number of double agents leaking classified U.S. information until Moscow calls him home. Convinced the Russians know about their turncoat, the FBI has limited time to follow the informant's clues to find traitors high within the ranks of American agencies. Former FBI agent Boyd (The Bricklayer) returns with FBI assistant director Kate Bannon and ex-agent Steve Vail in this resurrection of Cold War spy craft. Vail's incredible ease in solving a decade-old kidnapping unrelated to the case, forced banter between characters, and stilted transitions leave this thriller with much to be desired. VERDICT A poorly written, clumsy romance subplot will distract readers from the action, and fans of the genre won't be impressed by crime-solving through sudden hunches and lucky run-ins with characters who handily know more than they should. Not recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/10.]-Colleen S. Harris, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga Lib. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The pseudonymous Boyd's second thriller featuring Steve Vail, a Chicago bricklayer and former FBI agent, suffers from the same defects as its predecessor, The Bricklayer-a flat central character, a numbing abundance of dialogue, and too many improbable investigative epiphanies. Once again, Vail teams with beautiful FBI assistant director Kate Bannon in Washington, D.C., this time to investigate claims made by an informant known only as Calculus. An intelligence officer at the Russian embassy, Calculus says he know the identity of several Americans who are supplying Moscow with secret U.S. military information; he will dribble out the names-as long as the FBI coughs up $250,000 per spy. Vail, meanwhile, has other ideas about how to find the treasonous U.S. citizens and squeeze Calculus for more information. In the course of a long and convoluted plot, Boyd, a former FBI agent, offers little about the inner workings of the agency or its investigative techniques. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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