The Bricklayer

The Bricklayer

4.0 165
by Noah Boyd

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Someone gives you a dangerous puzzle to solve, one that may kill you or someone else, and you're about to fail. . . . And there is no other option. No one who can help. No one but the Bricklayer.

The Bricklayer is the pulse-pounding novel introducing Steve Vail, one of the most charismatic new heroes to come along in thriller fiction in many years. He's an… See more details below


Someone gives you a dangerous puzzle to solve, one that may kill you or someone else, and you're about to fail. . . . And there is no other option. No one who can help. No one but the Bricklayer.

The Bricklayer is the pulse-pounding novel introducing Steve Vail, one of the most charismatic new heroes to come along in thriller fiction in many years. He's an ex-FBI agent who's been fired for insubordination but is lured back to the Bureau to work a case that has become more unsolvable-and more deadly-by the hour.

A woman steps out of the shower in her Los Angeles home and is startled by an intruder sitting calmly in her bedroom holding a gun. But she is frozen with fear by what he has to say about the FBI-and what he says he must do. . . .

A young agent slips into the night water off a rocky beach. He's been instructed to swim to a nearby island to deposit a million dollars demanded by a blackmailer. But his mission is riddled with hazardous tests, as if someone wanted to destroy him rather than collect the money. . . .

Vail has resigned himself to his dismissal and is content with his life as a bricklayer. But the FBI, especially Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon, needs help with a shadowy group that has initiated a brilliant extortion plot. The group will keep killing their targets until the agency pays them off, the amount and number of bodies escalating each time the FBI fails. One thing is clear: someone who knows a little too much about the inner workings of the Bureau is very clever-and very angry-and will kill and kill again if it means he can disgrace the FBI.

Steve Vail's options-and his time to find answers-are swiftly runningout.

Noah Boyd's The Bricklayer is written with the bracing authenticity only someone who has been a crack FBI investigator can provide. And in this masterful debut Boyd has created a mind-bending maze of clues and traps inside a nonstop thrill ride that is sure to leave readers exhilarated and enthralled.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
Pseudonymous Boyd makes a blistering debut with the tale of a disgraced former agent who rescues the FBI from a murderous extortionist. First the Rubaco Pentad slays a tabloid TV reporter who'd done an expose of the Bureau, demands $1 million or it will kill an unnamed politician, and executes the FBI agent carrying a dummy package with no money. Then it murders a Utah state senator (also a prominent FBI critic) and this time wants $2 million; the agent and the package-now containing real cash-disappear en route to the drop. When the Pentad kills a defense lawyer (also known for his anti-Bureau stance), Assistant Director Don Kaulcrick brings in Steve Vail, fired five years ago for refusing to give evidence against an incompetent superior because it would have led to the release of a cop-killer. Presently working as a bricklayer in Chicago, Vail agrees to join forces with the FBI so long as he's not reinstated and not paid and can have the assistance of new Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon. Learning that Vail's on the case, the Pentad demands that he deliver the third package: a duffel bag containing $3 million. Vail jumps through every hoop and survives every booby trap; the payoff gets delivered, and he gathers some telltale clues that set him on the Pentad's trail. Deflecting the advances of Bannon and a Los Angeles ADA, he focuses manfully on the case, realizing at length that virtually all the evidence has been planted, "and we're still being played like a whorehouse piano." Boyd, identified by his publisher as a former FBI agent, provides the inevitable cat-and-mouse game between Vail and the Pentad's chief with enough jolts to create a legion of fans for this novel, trumpetedas the start of a series. Highly formulaic-the Rube Goldberg plot makes Jeffery Deaver's twisty thrillers seem models of realism-but irresistible red meat for connoisseurs of action thrillers.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)

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