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The Bricklayer

The Bricklayer

4.0 172
by Noah Boyd, David Chandler (Narrated by)

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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


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.

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.

Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
The Steve Vail Series

Meet 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.

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Bricklayer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 171 reviews.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Didn't get much sleep the other night because after reading the first pages of THE BRICKLAYER, I simply couldn't put it down. A former FBI agent who writes under the pseudonym Noah Boyd has crafted an intriguing suspense filled tale that ricochets from stunner to stunner and introduces an enigmatic yet affecting new hero, Steve Vail. Vail is a former FBI agent who left the Bureau because he didn't care to take orders and was let go for insubordination. No one would have argued that he was one of their best but he simply did not fit the expected mold. Vail has gone to Chicago where he makes a modest living as a bricklayer and sculpts in his spare time. While Vail lays bricks the FBI is feeling heat - an attractive woman reporter who had "done the expose of the FBI and the United States attorney's office in Los Angeles" steps out of her shower and is shot dead. The killer places a blue piece of paper on her chest on which is written "Rubaco Pentad." Her death is followed by the murder of an FBI agent who has gone to deliver a million dollars in order to stop further killings. Who or what is behind the increasing demands for money and the killing of prominent citizens? The FBI is stumped until Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon remembers Vail, and convinces her superiors that he may be the one, the only one who can help them. She goes to Vail's Chicago apartment and convinces him to come back for just one more case. Upon his return he has to put up with ambitious Bureau chiefs who aren't too happy to see him but more importantly he has to deal with the sinister Rubaco Pentad who have just demanded three million dollars and they want Vail to make the drop. What follows is a series of heart stopping scenes in which Vail pits himself against a group who seem less interested in money than in killing him. Ingeniously laid traps make it clear that a mastermind is behind the Pentad, a mastermind who knows a great deal about how the FBI works and is out to disgrace the Bureau. Noah Boyd spent 20 years with the FBI but went head to head with his superiors when he wrote a book "unflattering to the FBI." That wasn't all - he next wrote a magazine article detrimental to his boss. Sound familiar? That may well be one of the reasons why THE BRICKLAYER is so effective - Boyd writes of what he knows and does so with authenticity. - Gail Cooke
Lucie More than 1 year ago
I read a great deal but have never before been motivated to do a review. It is a first novel on a par with Grisham's "A Time To Kill". Noah Boyd obviously has authentic knowledge of the FBI's inner workings and presents a compelling story that feels real, is easy to read, hard to put down and leaves one anxiously waiting for his next book.
Besen More than 1 year ago
This is a serviceable clone of Lee Childs' Jack Reacher series. I enjoyed it enough to read the second in the series (which might have been a bit better.) The plot is a bit formulaic, and the hero is a little too competent to be believable (just like Reacher) but that's what I'm looking for in a book like this. It was fun to read and kept me guessing how it would turn out without any obvious red herrings or give-aways. If you like this, definitely read the second in the series.
RNichols More than 1 year ago
Absolutely Loved it! Give this one a chance, you will not be disappointed. A great first novel with a main character I am sure we will see in many books to come!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has all the key elements of a Jack Reacher novel but with more real life symitry. Couln't stop reading it. Jack is still in my life, but Steve is a close secomd. With all the room for errors on the FBI side. Let's hope Noah Boyd can write quickly.
Suzzie1 More than 1 year ago
ABSOLUTELY CAPTIVATING I was up til 2AM finishing this book, I just couldn't put it down. I simply loved the charactor he created, Steve Vail. What was there not to like . Brillant, marvelous sense of humor and he had you til the last page of this wonderful book. The story had me guessing at every turn of the page and an ending i truely had not anticipated. I am looking forward to reading another by this aurthor. I hope we have not seen the last of Steve Vail.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Noah Boyd has written a page-turner. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. My husband and I both enjoyed the book. I have recommended it to friends and purchased copies for gifts.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
I won an advanced copy of this book in a giveaway, otherwise I probably wouldn't have read it. This type of book isn't what I usually read, so while it certainly wasn't a bad book, I didn't find it particularly enjoyable. It took me a while to understand some of the jargon, and I found it difficult to follow some of the action. There was plenty of action, suspense, and red herrings to keep me entertained. The ending did suprise me. Not my kind of book. I don't think I'll read the rest of the series, but I recommend it to fans of the genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Bricklayer is a fun read, with smart dialogue and an fast paced plot. I want to read more from this author as soon as I can.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story I couldn't put it down--good paced action!
Razorback1 More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable easy read. I saw the author, Noah Boyd, on Don Imus' morning show. His personal story is intriguing (FBI) and the foundation for the book. The main character in the book is interesting and likable. Definitely a recommendable read and hope Mr. Boyd will consider authoring another book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way to go! I do have one complaint - i stayed uo until 4 am reading it - couldn't put it down. And can you believe it - clean. I'll be looking forward to more by this person.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plenty of enjoyable reading here. Not overly violent or too sexy-Nice balance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and will say Noah Boyd has made the very short list of my favorite authors! The characters were well defined, dialogue crisp and entertaining, and the plot wel developed and interesting, with plenty of twists and surprises. I will buy more of this author immediately! Thank you, Noah Boyd, for a wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read.
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