Agent X

Agent X

by Noah Boyd

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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“Vail is in the mold of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and Robert Crais’s Joe Pike….This guy has movie written all over him.”
Chicago Sun-Times


“Fans of Sam Spade and Jack Reacher will feel right at home with this new tough guy.”
Boston Globe


“We have a new American hero in Steve Vail.”

—Patricia Cornwell


Steve Vail, former discarded covert operative and the FBI’s new go-to guy for the toughest jobs, returns in Agent X—the pulse-pounding follow-up to the explosive New York Times bestselling debut thriller by Noah Boyd, The Bricklayer. A former FBI agent himself, author Boyd pulls out all the stops in Agent X—as “the Bricklayer” hunts down an elusive Russian spy in a taut and authentic thriller that rivals the very best of Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Robert Ludlum.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061827037
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/26/2011
Series: Steve Vail Novels Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 517,847
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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.

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Agent X 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 117 reviews.
Tigerpaw70 More than 1 year ago
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.
boonduggy More than 1 year ago
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.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
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.
jan-fort More than 1 year ago
Intelligently written, suspenseful, totally engaging.  It was hard to put down.  
NH62 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
joannalongbourne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the Steve Vain stories, however, I felt that this one was a little all over the place, plot-wise.
SallyRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Noah Boyd¿s life makes up for a remarkably authentic background for this book. His own life was a former FBI agent and his character of Steve Vail, aka Bricklayer was derived from his father¿s occupation. As I did not read his first book, this is my thought of where Bricklayer came from. He was a disenchanted FBI agent and rules got in his way of doing his job effectively. Therefore, Steve Vail becomes a nomad with the skill of an officer of the law but none of the stops. Despite this, it does stand on its own without having read the first book.Kate Banning starts the story as someone who knows something or has something someone wants. The first pages get you hooked. You do not have to wait until page 100 to get into this story. The story moved up, down, and sideways. When you think that is it, something else pops up to grab your attention.The book is very readable. , Even though Steve is a superman hero, his has Clark Kent¿s romantic skills with Kate and as a result the romance falls flat in the story.The cover is quite eye catching and would make a great Mark Valley movie!
MikeD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an exciting spy novel! Fast paced, with lots of twists to keep you confused! Steve Vail, bricklayer and Kate Bannon, FBI agent are estranged lovers brought together by no choice of their own... but despite their personal conflict work together to unravel a complex trail of spies and counterspies! This is the author's second book, so I will have to read his first one [The Bricklayer} before his 3rd one comes out! Highly recommended!
Bumpersmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Steven Vail is the new super agent, along with Kate Bannon they untangle to most intricate and complicated clues in a spy mystery that is a real page turner. I know this is the 2nd book in a new series, so I read the first book before tackling my assisgnment. I recommend both books and look forward to Book #3.
Omakase on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not having read The Bricklayer, I was somewhat intrigued by the jacket blurb and bubbling praise for Agent X. The premise wasn¿t particularly original (ex-FBI agent is called back to help on a special case), but in the hands of a new author I was hoping for a fresh take on the idea.Unfortunately, Agent X really failed as a sophomore novel in a number of areas and the quality of the overall story suffered greatly as a result. The author, Noah Boyd, is an ex-FBI agent himself, but he wasn¿t able to capture any of the real life details you would expect with a writer who has that experience.The plot is an over-the-top spy mystery with so many (very unlikely) plot twists and dead bodies that by the end I just wanted the story to be over. While I can suspend belief for a rip-roaring action story, this one just did not measure up. The book opens with Steve Vail, the main character, solving a kidnapping while seemingly on a coffee break. A few keen insights and he is able to solve the crime and capture the kidnapper in a dozen pages. This was a prelude to how the rest of the book unfolds with Vail jumping frenetically from scene to scene.Boyd manages to wrap some interesting puzzles into the narrative, but these can¿t carry the storyline.The problems with this book really fall into three areas: dialogue, characters and plot ¿ which doesn¿t leave much. The dialogue is this novel is frankly horrendous. Every other line sounds like adolescent banter and it never lets up. The sexual innuendo and double entendres get very old and had me cringing in so many places.The characters were forgettable and very one dimensional for most of the book. The ¿relationship¿ between Vail and Kate Bannon was stiff and unnatural and felt forced into the story. Vail himself is portrayed not only as always being the smartest guy in the room, but the ONLY smart guy in the room.As far as the twisting plot, there were just far too many times when the action didn¿t make any sense. Boyd may be able to develop a better writing style in future books, but the action scenes here were dry and unexciting. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of books like this on the market and many of them are better. I would not recommend this book for the experienced reader as it will leave you disappointed.
LB121100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Steven Vail is a renegade ex-FBI agent who hates bureaucrats - can you relate? So he takes on special projects as he works as a bricklayer. He has a romantic interest in Kate Banning who is high up in the FBI but the two can't get their relationship on the right path. Steve works on two main cases simultaneously in this book and both make his character and the story very exciting and suspenseful. i liked Steve's character. He does what a lot of us want to do - do our job without interference. But sometimes that can get you in trouble. This is an easy to read book and one that you don't mind going back to the next day. I really enjoyed it and recommend it.
maisy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Agent-X is the second book in a newer series featuring Steve Vail, an ex-FBI agent who prefers to be a bricklayer rather than be "bossed" or "micro-managed" or "managed" at all. He works best alone, not reporting to anyone.This story was fast and fun to read. Many crimes to solve. How many? How many connections? I won't say. You have to read it for yourself.Steve Vail is securely on my Short List of Favorite modern action characters. (Thanks to LibraryThing, which brought my attention to Noah Boyd's books!)
PatrickJIV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although this is fiction, the believability of some of the things these two peeps did, especially figuring out the code was just to much to think it was possible. Disappointed in this book.
cmwilson101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Agent X by Noah Boyd is a fast-paced, entertaining, & enjoyable read. It centers around Kate Bannon, a straight-laced assistant director at the FBI, and Steve Vail, an unorthodox former FBI agent who quit the Bureau in disgust over all the rules and regulations. Steve retired and works as a bricklayer. Opposites attract, and Steve and Kate are drawn to each other despite the fact that they both feel that the relationship is impossible. The two have all but given up on their relationship when someone tries to kill Kate. Steve decides to protect Kate under the guise of joining forces with her to help solve a puzzling case involving spies, double-agents, and intrigue. A quick read, with lots of action and some interesting puzzles.
sdrobert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have not yet read Bricklayer, Noah Boyd's first book. Through out novel there are several references to activities that must have happened in The Bricklayer, but it does not take away from this story. Noah Boyd has created incredible characters that really come to life. No James Bond perfection here. They are very human and flawed. The story is action packed with a few twists and turns. The ending seems a bit predictable, but you have to read to make sure there was not another twist thrown in!
Draak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To fully appreciate this book you should really read book 1 The Bricklayer. That said Agent X starts a few months or so from where book 1 ends. It features Ex-FBI agent Steve Vail who quit, or was fired depending on who's telling it, when he refused to compromise his beliefs. He is now a bricklayer living in Chicago. Kate Bannon, a FBI Assistant Director is also back and working along side of Steve. Its starts with an attempt on Kates life which everyone except Bob Lasker, the Director of the FBI, thinks was a failed suicide attempt. When Steve shows up for a New Years Eve date things start jumping. First they get pulled in, as a favor, on a child abduction case that is quickly solved by Steve. The next day Director Lasker asks Steve to once again sign on to help with a top secret espionage case concerning the Russians. When Steve turns it down Lasker talks to him privately and tells him about the attempt on Kates life. Steve reconsiders and takes the case with the same conditions as the first, that he answers to no one and does things his way. Along the way Steve runs into fellow FBI and friend Luke Bursaw who quickly asks Steve for his help on a case of a missing FBI analyst. As a result Luke gets pulled into helping Steve and Kate. While following the clues the lighthearted banter between everyone is enjoyable, you can picture that they really are friends and have a great relationship, while the action leaves you on the edge of your seat. We also learn a little bit more of what makes Steve tick and what happened to him as a child that makes him somewhat damaged. I love this series and can only see it getting better. There is not a dull spot in this book and the addition of Luke to the cast of characters was a good one. I hope we get to see him back working with Kate and Steve. Can't wait for book 3 to come out and I highly recommend this series.
CraigStepp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you like thrillers, spies, double agents and plot twists you'll like Agent X. Steve Vail is a former FBI agent. Now he's a bricklayer. Kate Bannon is the assistant director of the FBI. The two have a strained romantic history but Steve is willing to work on their relationship. Steve still has all his skills. He's going to need them to keep himself and Kate alive. An attempt on Kate's life is made to look like a suicide. Her career is threatened. An unknown intelligence officer has lead the FBI to believe that some Americans are passing secrets to the Russians, Every clue leads to an attempt on their lives. Even when the FBI lets Steve loose with his unorthodox approach it looks like the only outcome will be failure.
no1bookaddict on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book grabbed me from the beginning and I couldn't stop reading. There were a few parts here and there where I thought the writing was hard to read, but overall the story was great and I loved the ending! I will definitely pick up the next one.
wrighton-time on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Article first published as Book Review: Agent X by Noah Boyd on Blogcritics.Kate Bannon, FBI agent is having one of her worst nightmares ever. She feels like she is dying. As she pries open her eyelids, she realizes there is no dream, only real life. Someone has left her car running and she is breathing in fumes, unable to open her garage, which is jammed, in the back of her mind she realizes that this will look like suicide instead of what it really is. Who is it that is responsible for her murder?In the hospital, Bob Lasker, Director of the FBI is cautiously waiting for her to wake. He has questions only she can answer. Unlike the others, he does not believe the evidence. Kate needs to find out who is after her and why. It is time for her to call Steve Vail for help. Steve has always been at his best in these situations and she has always been able to rely on him. Will he help her this time? Never one to follow the rules he has left the business and is now pursuing his own way as Bricklayer. Growing up in his father¿s footsteps, it was what he was groomed for. A rule breaker, not a rule taker, he chose to leave the business.Kate is not sure he will help, and if he does, can she keep him within the guidelines required by her Director? With only one man believing her story, will Vail also understand that she is in danger, not from herself but from others? When Steve agrees to help, digging into the deceit behind her most recent problems, the evidence takes them into the dark and dangerous underground of the spy network. Whom do they trust, in this political game of tag?In Agent X, Noah Boyd has built a layer of deceit that only the best minds could follow. Nevertheless, as each clue is unraveled the bad guys are murdered before they can be debriefed. Steve and his trusty companion Kate follow the trail, to find the deep undercover spy and unmask him, but at each turn, the adversary is ahead of them. While close and having a great respect for the other they both work off differing agendas, neither trusting the other with all their information.Kate believes in Steve, but not all the information adds up when the ousted spy¿s die, many at the hands of Steve himself. Is he only in the wrong place at the wrong time as he claims or is he responsible for the deaths? She is vulnerable without the entire backing of her crew. Whom does she believe when the evidence points in varying directions? She is strong and smart, but what is really happening? Can she take a leap of faith and follow her heart, or will she follow the advice and evidence as presented.Steve is secretive and has his own agenda. He is extraordinarily bright when it comes to seeing the big picture, but he struggles with putting his faith in others. He is adept and cocky, going his own way, using the information he garners to flesh out further spies, and information. But who is guiding him with bits and pieces of clues, leading him into fray after fray, only to murder the suspects before they have a chance of digging out the truth. Steve is the quintessential MacGyver with just a bit of Mack Bolen thrown in. Boyd has written a fine, fast paced and intriguing suspense, keeping you guessing. Just who are the bad guys, and will Kate make the right choices?I would recommend this book to those who enjoy fast-paced adventure, set in a spy thriller. Vail is a wonderful character and sure to be one to bring back time after time. The moniker of Bricklayer helps to flesh out his persona, both solid and well-constructed with strength of character. This is an exciting novel with strength of purpose and hard to put down. This is action and adventure at its finest, a thrilling ride.This book was received as a free copy by GoodReads First Reads. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
rufusraider on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book. It is about several potential spies within the government. The main characters are a FBI agent and ex-agent. The author has very intriguing plot line on the hunt for the potential spies. The twists and turns in the plot keep you on your toes and wondering how did I miss the clues within the story. The interaction between the two main characters is a good side story within the plot and contributes to some of the twists and turns. If you enjoy thrillers or espionage novels you should enjoy this book.
johnfgaines on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am happy to be introduced to Noah Boyd and his "Bricklayer" series featuring FBI-agent turned construction worker Steve Vail and his partner (in more ways than one) Kate Bannon. Boyd is the pseudonym for an FBI insider and his insight into the inner workings of the Bureau shows in his writing. Even so, Vail's uncanny ability to piece together clues and reach conclusions stretches credulity at times. Exciting fiction sometimes requires the reader to practice the willing suspension of disbelief. The most enjoyable course is to sit back and go with the flow of the adventurous narrative. When the reader is willing to stop picking nits, he or she is in for a wild ride as Vail and Bannon lurch from one dangerous situation to another, trying to untangle an Ariadne's thread leading them to a series of traitors who had been giving American secrets to the Russians. The trouble is the Russians keep wasting their assets by killing off the traitors just before the FBI catches them. On the whole, Agent X is a very satisfying read and comes highly recommended.
ellenr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Bricklayer is again called in by the FBI to help solve a sensitive problem. His partner is again Kate Bannon, now promoted to Assistant Director and caught between calling off their on again - off again relationship and needing his expertise to quickly dispatch a counter intelligence problem. Boyd proves again that he can provide a complicated, fast paced read with just that touch of humor and romance to keep things livelier still.
tigger1192 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book through the Early Reviewer program, but it's taken me a while to actually review it. That's because I decided to go back and read "The Bricklayer" first. I'm not normally a fan of this genre, and it was evidenced by the fact that it took me so long to read both of these books. The situations the characters are in, especially in Agent X, while action-packed, just seem implausible. And the way the get out of said scrapes? Even more so. I gave it three stars because the characters are at least likable, and the writing is decent.
norinrad10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Make no mistake, this is not a good book. What it is, is a prime example of what you have when you have interesting characters but no real plot and stilted dialog. I managed to finish this book because I liked the characters and found myself interested in what happen to them. However, the convoluted nonsensical plot about Russian spy rings outsourcing to Lithuanians nearly lost me several times. Also couldn't figure out if the two main characters were getting together or not. The only thing worse then the plot was the dialog. Just when I'd gotten past the plot and was interested in the character, boom! Here comes a piece of wooden dialog. The best thing about this book is that it made me appreciate the writings of Danial Silva even more.