Excerpt from The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Bricklayer

A Novel

By Noah Boyd

The Bricklayer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Feb 2010,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2011,
    416 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Stillson stood on his tiptoes to look over the counter and into the vault, where Ronson was stuffing bundles of cash into an optimistically large hockey bag. Tall and extremely thin, Ronson had been released six months earlier from the state prison at Joliet, where he had been paroled after serving one-third of his twenty-year sentence for attempted murder and the armed robbery of a bank. The deadly assault charge stemmed from shooting it out with the arresting detectives. He had surrendered only after running out of ammunition.

Stillson’s job during the robberies was to keep all the customers and employees covered while Ronson vaulted the counter and cleaned out the tellers’ drawers. This time, as Ronson was taking the time to force the manager to open the vault’s day gate, the first police car showed up in response to a silent alarm. At the moment, everyone was aware of the increasing potential for violence and was lying facedown obediently, trying not to be noticed.

“How are we going to get out of here?” Stillson yelled over the counter.

“One thing at a time,” Ronson shot back, and continued stuffing the bag with money.

“How can you think about the money?”

“Because if we get out of here, we’re going to need every dime of it.” After zipping up the bag, Ronson threw it ahead of him and vaulted back over the counter. He yanked an elderly woman to her feet.

“No, no, please don’t!”

“Shut up, you old broad. You’ve already lived long enough.” He pushed her toward the front door, and as they disappeared around a wall that separated the door’s alcove from the rest of the bank, he yelled back to Stillson, “Just keep everybody covered.”

Stillson couldn’t deny that he liked the control he had over everyone during the robberies. And for some reason, with the cops outside, that feeling was even more intense. To demonstrate his willingness to fully execute his partner’s orders, he backed up a couple of steps and slowly swung his gun from side to side. That was when he noticed a man lying next to a watercooler. His gold-colored Carhartt work pants as well as his boots were covered with concrete dust. His faded black T-shirt clung to his thick shoulders and arms. He was the only one with his head raised, and he seemed to be watching the gunman with a mixture of curiosity and insolence.

The one-eared bank robber didn’t know it, but the man had been tracking and analyzing his movements, measuring his agility, the length of his stride, his reaction time. He judged Stillson as a man who had not built a career on physical prowess or intimidation. His only authority seemed to be the gun in his hand, which he was holding too tightly.

As the man continued to stare at Stillson, he admonished himself: You don’t carry a gun anymore, stupid. Next time, you use the drive-through. “What’re you looking at?” Stillson demanded.

The man’s mouth went crooked with a sneer as he silently mouthed words, causing Stillson to think he was having trouble hearing. He reached up and checked the rubber ear to make sure it wasn’t blocking the auditory canal. When he found it in place, he realized that the man had figured out it was fake and was taunting him. “Think that’s funny?”

The man spoke a little too loudly now. “I said, I’m watching you so I’ll get it right at the lineup.”

Stillson took two quick steps toward him, thrusting the black automatic forward, being careful not to get too close.

“Are you nuts? You some sort of tough-guy construction worker? Is that it?”

“Bricklayer.”

“What?”

“I’m a brick mason,” the man said.

Stillson took another half step, raising the gun to eye level. “Well, meat, you’re about to undergo a career change. You can be either a floor kisser or a brain donor. Your call.”

Excerpted from The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd. Copyright © 2010 by Noah Boyd. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  166The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.