The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd — 9780062068576 — ****
Time to Read: About a week
The FBI has a problem on their hands. The Rubaco Pentad–a domestic anti-bureau terrorist cell–is killing agents and people who have caused the FBI problems in the past, and claim they will kill even more if their demands aren’t met. The bureau’s hands are tied by its own rule book, and the Pentad is making them look and feel the fool. Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon thinks she has a solution. It’s name: Steve Vail.
Steve Vail was an FBI agent, until he became frustrated with the way the bureau’s rules got in the way of his investigations. He left the FBI to become his own boss as a bricklayer in Chicago. Kate remembers him and his reputation as an agent who wasn’t afraid to toss the rule book out the window in order to get the job done. Despite his unorthodox methods, Vail is exactly what the bureau needs to stop the Rubaco Pentad before more lives are lost.
The Bricklayer was yet another outstanding novel from Noah Boyd. Of course, I read them out of order, but doing so didn’t ruin much (Though I would recommend reading this one before you pick up Agent X later this month. Out of order is okay, but there were a few things in the second book that would have been even better if I’d read the first book first.).
This book is action-packed, but it doesn’t rely on gun battles and explosions to carry the reader through. It has a great plot full of twists to rival a mystery novel and well developed characters on both sides of the story. Steve Vail is a little larger-than life, but most good heros are, and he still has his flaws and makes mistakes. Kate Bannon is almost your typical woman in a man’s world who is trying to keep Vail from jumping after the bad guys without a parachute, but she doesn’t try to be “one of the guys” like so many other fictional characters in similar roles, and she’s not afraid to let Vail take the reins from time to time. The two characters play off each other very well, and they start to feel like real people almost the second you meet them, which is something I always like to see.
I have to admit that Boyd does jump point of view without warning a bit more than I like (looking through Kate’s eyes in one paragraph, and Steve’s the next), and that fact did seem a little disorienting at first. Aside from that fact, however, I can’t really say anything bad about this book. It’s a great story with great characters and a plot that kept me reading even when I needed to be setting the book down to do other things. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes action-packed books with elements of mystery. Noah Boyd may be relatively new on the bookstore shelves, but he certainly knows how to spin a good yarn out of fuses and blasting caps.
Check out Noah Boyd’s author page at Harper Collins Publishers.
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