Ex-FBI Steve Vail is visiting Kate Bannon, the Assistant Director at the FBI, for what he thinks is a well-earned and romantic New Year's Eve in Washington, D.C., when he quickly finds himself knee-deep in a very complicated and unusual case.
A man known simply as Calculus, an intelligence officer at the Russian embassy, has approached the FBI claiming he has a list naming several Americans who are supplying confidential information to the Russian secret service. All he asks in exchange for the list is a quarter of a million dollars for each traitor the FBI nabs. But then Calculus informs the FBI that he's been suddenly recalled to Moscow, and the Bureau suspects the worst: the Russians are onto Calculus, probably have access to his list, and will be targeting the traitors soon unless the FBI can find them first.
The FBI knows they have to find Calculus and everyone on the list before the Russians do, but, without knowing exactly who is on the list, they also have to keep the operation quiet. Only one man can do the job: rogue, ex-agent Steve Vail. But finding Calculus and his list of turncoats isn't going to be easy. In fact, it's going to be downright deadly.
"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." - Publishers Weekly
"Not as strong as The Bricklayer, but fans wont want to give up on the series yet." - Booklist
"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" - Kirkus Reviews
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Rated of 5
A brilliant follow up to the bricklayer, can't wait for next book.
Rated of 5
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 office 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!
Rated of 5
Gina W. (Thomasville, AL)
I enjoyed reading Agent X. I rated it 'good' because I am not a big reader of books with a spy/espionage theme, however, I think fans of spy thrillers will really enjoy this book. The main character, Vail, is very likeable. I would recommend this book to friends.
Rated of 5
Darlene C. (Woodstock, il)
Nothing New Here
Another cold war, Russia vs. U.S., novel with a mole high up in one of the U.S. spy agencies. Although this has been done many times, I was hoping for a a fresh perspective. Unfortunately, I found this book to be tiresome and, frankly, boring much of the time. The plot was implausible to the point of being difficult to follow. I had to keep reminding myself what the point was of all the chasing around and dead bodies. I enjoy books where the plot is complex and challenging but the clues are there. However, I am not an Agatha Christie fan because the clues are available only to one of the characters - no chance to figure it our for your self. This book follows that formula.
I have not read the first book in this series so perhaps I was at a disadvantage in terms of character development. My belief is that books should generally stand on their own, providing enough character development to flesh out the characters so they become real people that you have some feeling about - either liking or disliking them. In my opinion, this book failed to accomplish that. Both of the main characters, Steve Vail and Kate Bannon, seemed very one dimensional. In particular, Steve Vail would make a great romance novel hero. He is perfect, never does anything wrong and is the only one capable of figuring out and finding the bad guys. If you enjoy those types of heroes, this will be a good read for you. It might make a good airplane or beach book but would not be high on my list of recommendations.
Rated of 5
Maggie P. (Mount Airy, MD)
Fast paced, this book offers three different storylines so the reader must focus. Not reading the first book with these characters, The Bricklayer, does not put the reader at a disadvantage. The banter between Steve Vail and Kate Bannon is reminiscent of "Moonlighting." Agent X is a good, quick, light read.
Rated of 5
Sharon W. (Columbia, SC)
Agent X Needs Help!
Noah Boyd, pen name for Paul Lindsay, needs to focus. Is he using Dan Brown's plot construction model? Perhaps Lee Child's? The tedious plotting through way too many puzzles suggests Brown. The rogue main character suggests Childs. I suggest Boyd/Lindsay find his own legs.
His main character's attitude about management-level agents in the Bureau, while somewhat over-stated, are nevertheless quite accurate.
The writing mechanics are careful for the most part, but awkward and amateurish in many places.
I plodded through this book. I wanted to skip.
Noah Boyd is the pseudonym of former FBI agent, Paul Lindsay, who worked on cold cases when he was not writing. He was a Marine Corps platoon commander in Vietnam, where he was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Silver Star for Bravery. He went on to be a successful FBI agent in Detroit with over 20 years experience hunting some of the country's most prolific serial killers, including the Green River Killer and the Highland Park Strangler.
The first book in his Steve Vail series, The Bricklayer, was published in 2010. The second, Agent X (aka Last Chance to Die) was published in February 2011. Boyd's intimate knowledge of the Bureau's inner workings, including its weaknesses, and his "in the trenches" experience lends unusual authenticity to Vail's character and the novels ...
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