Agent X [NOOK Book]

Overview

Ex-FBI agent Steve Vail navigates a maze of hidden codes and brain-teasing puzzles to stay hot on the trail of a band of Russian spies in this breathtaking follow-up to his New York Times bestselling debut, The Bricklayer

FBI-agent-turned-bricklayer Steve Vail once helped the FBI solve a brilliant extortion plot. It was supposed to be a one-and-done deal. But when he's in Washington, D.C., to see Kate Bannon—an FBI assistant director—on what he thinks will be a romantic New ...

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Agent X

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Overview

Ex-FBI agent Steve Vail navigates a maze of hidden codes and brain-teasing puzzles to stay hot on the trail of a band of Russian spies in this breathtaking follow-up to his New York Times bestselling debut, The Bricklayer

FBI-agent-turned-bricklayer Steve Vail once helped the FBI solve a brilliant extortion plot. It was supposed to be a one-and-done deal. But when he's in Washington, D.C., to see Kate Bannon—an FBI assistant director—on what he thinks will be a romantic New Year's Eve date, suddenly things get complicated. The FBI has another unsolvable problem, and it has Vail's name written all over it.

A man known as Calculus, an officer at the Russian embassy, has approached the FBI claiming that he has a list of Americans who are selling confidential information to the Russian SVR. In exchange for the list, he is asking for a quarter of a million dollars for each traitor the FBI apprehends. But then Calculus informs the FBI that he has been swiftly recalled to Moscow, and the Bureau suspects the worst: the Russians have discovered what Calculus is up to, probably have access to his list, and will be hunting the traitors to kill them unless the FBI can find them first.

The FBI realizes that it has to keep the operation quiet. Once again, Vail is the perfect man, along with Kate Bannon, who would be anyone's first pick for help on an impossibly dangerous case. But finding the traitors isn't going to be easy. In fact, it's going to be downright deadly. And if the Bricklayer survives, he will have to come up with a few tricks of his own.

Agent X is a heart-pounding thrill ride with an authenticity only a writer who's an FBI veteran can provide, and Steve Vail—a man Patricia Cornwell calls a "new American hero"—is one of the smartest, toughest, and most compelling new characters to come along in many years.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

When author Noah Boyd is not writing novels, he's working hard on real-life cold cases; and he's no rank amateur: This former FBI agent spent decades tracking down culprits on high-profile crimes, including the Green River killings and Highland Park Strangler case. In this crisp thriller, ex-FBI operative Steve Vail returns from Boyd's debut The Bricklayer to pursue a devilish band of Russian agents with the help of the resourceful Kate Bannon. This appealing pair have no opportunity to tarry: Moscow executioners are racing to neutralize the offenders before they can be caught. Like its predecessor, Agent X possesses realistic details that enhance, but don't intrude on the action-packed narrative.

Publishers Weekly
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 ,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.)
Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews

Those pesky Russian spies are at it again. So is Steve Vail (The Bricklayer, 2010).

Even though his deep anti-authoritarian streak made him give up on the FBI long ago, Stevehasn't given up on deputy assistant director Kate Bannon. Eager first to squire her to a diplomatic party she never makes it to and then to restore her reputation after what looks like her attempted suicide, he allows himself to get drawn back into the Bureau one last time (yeah, right) in the case of a Russian agent who's code-named himself Calculus. The agent has a list of American informants who've been selling information to the NVR, formerly the KGB, and in the spirit of capitalist enterprise, he wants to sell the list to the FBI, one name at a time. Agreeing to follow the clues Calculus has left to the entry-level mole, Steve quickly finds that Calculus really likes to play—the trail that leads from each informant to the next seems best suited to game-show veterans and Sudoku masters—and that someone (Calculus? the NVR? a player to be named later?) has a penchant for killing each of the informants just in time for the arrival of Steve and his old Bureau friend Luke Bursaw, who's stealing precious moments from the riddle of whether a serial killer of prostitutes has graduated to murdering a vanished FBI intelligence analyst. At length, the mind-boggling treasure hunt lands Kate in jail for treason, doomed to rot there forever unless Steve and company can somehow break her out, identify the real Agent X from among suspects in the Pentagon, the Lithuanian Chess Society and diverse defense contractors, and go after him with condign deadly force. Don't guess what happens, because there's no way you'll be wrong.

A three-ring carnival of counter-espionage, game-playing and summary justice whose many beautifully choreographed action sequences will make you forget how obvious its premise is, and how absurd its details.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062041623
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/8/2011
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 61,360
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Noah Boyd

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Something for Everyone

    Also published under the title "Last Chance to Die"

    Book 2 in the Steve Vail series

    Former FBI Agent Steve Vail and Assistant Director Kate Bannon are back. This second instalment to "The Bricklayer" works perfectly well as a stand-alone title although to understand where the characters come from, it is always preferable to read books in sequence. This is definitely for the dye hard lovers of espionage.

    In a blurb:

    Steve is asked to return to the FBI by Director Bob Lasker to handle a particularly challenging and sensitive case involving Kate Bannon, former confrere and Steve's sometime love interest. She was rumoured to have attempted suicide but the director was never really convinced and would like to prove it. Steve agrees to help and immediately digs into the mystery and the deceit behind Kate's incident. Steve and Kate work together on leads that take them deep into the political world and the dark and dangerous underground of foreign espionage involving the Russians.

    My thoughts:

    This second novel is a fast-paced and intricately detailed thriller giving an overview on how a FBI Agent may proceed in solving high-profile cases. The author presents us with a challenging story and a smart-alecky lead character, Steve, who had no trouble recognizing that the Russians had moles working within the FBI. Navigating a maze of hidden codes and deciphering the names of the rogue agents became his priority, a delicate operation, one he exceled at, a real cat and mouse game to get to the agents before the Russians eliminate them and silence their mission.

    I enjoyed most of the story, although, I admit losing some focus along the way. The plot is loaded with puzzles and plenty of action; some are repetitive and border on the silly side at times, nevertheless, the storyline is nicely written and is an entertaining read. My favourite of all the characters is Kate Bannon, she is far more engaging and intriguing than the wild card lead protagonist. It was also fun to follow the hot and cold romance between Kate and Steve; the dialogue between them is rather peppered with sarcasm making it an interesting relationship.Overall, the story is a well-rounded with a little something for everyone who is attracted to the world of thriller novels.

    This series may come to a sudden end with the sad and unfortunate passing of its author.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 10, 2011

    Love the Steve Vail series

    Excellent sophmore title. If you enjoy John Cory by DeMille or Steve Berry's Cotton Malone you will enjoy these books. Smart, fast paced and funny. Highly recommmend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Good but not great

    A bit of a letdown. The first one was better, but if you like Byzantine plotlines, this is your guy. He's created an intriguing main character, but the guy is a little on the phenomenal side. Still in all, this is entertaining stuff. if you like Dick Francis and Robert B. Parker and Michael Connelly but are up for something a little more challenging, you might enjoy this. Just be prepared to work a little.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Sophomore Slump

    Noah Boyd has now written two novels involving Steve Vail, his everyman answer to Jack Reacher. If you can only read one of the books, then read the first, The Bricklayer. Much of what was novel and fun in that book becomes old and tedious in the second. The Kate-Vail relationship has so many ups and downs that I lost interest. The little trick the author created wherein Vail keeps coming up with new clues that others couldn't also caused this book to go for some 390 pages. A few less clues and he still would have had a really good book at 300 pages. My suggestions: fewer surprise clues, and end the Kate-Vail mess.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2014

    Intelligently written, suspenseful, totally engaging.  It was ha

    Intelligently written, suspenseful, totally engaging.  It was hard to put down.  

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  • Posted November 24, 2013

    Don't miss this one!

    Noah boyd has hit a character that holds you in place waiting for what he does next. Exciting and entertaining. I read the first in this series The Bricklayer and couldn't wait for this second in the series. This series is worth your time. You won't regret it. I can't recommend it enough.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Fallenpath

    Thanks. She said her eyes gleaming.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    CEREMONIES

    Swatar looks at Creampaw and Fallenpaw. "We ask StarClan to look down at these apprentices. They have worked hard to learn your ways and have earned their warrior names. Fallenpaw, Creampaw, do you accept?" They both nodded. "Then you are now warriors in your turn. Creampaw you will now be known as Creamcrow. Fallenpaw you will now be known as Fallenpath. Congratulations." ((Does anyone else need a ceremony.))

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    Yyhgtggff

    Ggf

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    Agent Black

    Reporting for duty.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    Recommemded

    Enjoyed his first book with these characters and this one as well.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2011

    highly recommend

    GREAT ACTION NEVER ENDING. PLUS A LITTLE ROMAANCE. I LOVED IT.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    A good read

    Got boring 3/4 through. Not as good as the first book, The Bricklayer.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews

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