Noah Boyd is a former US Marine and FBI agent. In his long and successful career with the Bureau he tracked serial killers, captured federal fugitives and broke a narcotics ring. The Bricklayer is his first novel to feature Steve Vail.
The pseudonymous Boyd, a former FBI agent, fails to bring much convincing insider information to his debut, a routine thriller. FBI deputy assistant director Kate Bannon tracks down Steve Vail, a maverick FBI agent who left the bureau for a new life as a Chicago bricklayer, because she needs Vail's help in apprehending a criminal gang, the Rubaco Pentad, with a grudge against the FBI. The Pentad follows up the murder of L.A. reporter Connie Lysander, who wrote a story critical of the FBI, with ever-increasing demands for money from the bureau to forestall future killings and the setting of sophisticated death traps. When an agent disappears while making a payoff to the gang, he becomes a prime suspect, despite Vail's reservations. Predictable plot elements include the hero's incredible escapes from peril and the growing romantic bond between the laconic Vail and the attractive Bannon. The identity of the person behind the Pentad will surprise few. (Feb.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
'Noah Boyd brings his FBI experience to this dazzling thriller. The pace is frenetic, the action is unique, and the drama intense. We have a new American hero in Steve Vail' Patricia Cornwell 'The Bricklayer has terrific pace, surprises galore, and snappy dialogue in the appropriate places. Even better, it has a real hero. Move over Jack Reacher, here comes The Bricklayer' James Patterson 'Non-stop action and non-stop authenticity make this a real winner' Lee Child'The Bricklayer is lots of fun, plenty smart, and great escapist reading. And Steve Vail is a magical agent. If I had my way, I'd read stuff like this every minute I'm not on deadline.' Seymour Hersh
A highly skilled operative leaves his government organization, having become fed up with its bureaucracy and incompetence, but is lured back for a specific project with promises of autonomy and resources and because his country needs him. Will the basic premise that launched Lee Child's ex-army MP Jack Reacher to best-sellerdom work for Boyd's ex-FBI agent-turned-bricklayer Steve Vail? When a mysterious group murders five "FBI enemies" and demands millions to stop the killing spree, FBI deputy assistant director Kate Bannon recruits Vail, who's just foiled an armed bank robbery in Chicago, to help crack the case. He embarks on a nonstop chase, following leads, avoiding dangerous booby traps, and weeding out decoys that are too obvious or too neat, to a predictably inclusive finish with a bit of romance. Verdict While Vail's physical skills are amply displayed, his comparable mental feats depend too much on "2 a.m. messages" that provide answers to difficult problems. This aspect of Vail, along with a rather hasty final wrap-up, lessens the appeal of this projected series opener. Still, Child's early outings also had shortcomings, and Boyd may become stronger as he progresses, so it's worth getting in at the start.-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.