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 investigative details.
He died in September 2011. He was 68 and had battled blood cancer since 2005.
Thought you might like to hear about my last case with the FBI.
The first three bodies were found in the abandoned Monterey Motel in Highland Park, a small, once affluent city that is surrounded by Detroit. When the body count reached eight, public concern really hit full pitch and people wanted answers. All the victims had been raped and strangled. That's when I was called in.
My first impulse when tackling any problem is looking for a way to slice through the Gordian knot, the most reliable shortcut I know. What I had learned while working on the Green River Murders in Seattle and studying other serial killings was to search for a surviving victim; it's how Gary Ridgeway and Ted Bundy had both been caught. The first thing I asked for at the Highland Park PD was the file of tips that had been called in. After an exchange of confused looks, one of the detectives said that he thought they were on the long-abandoned third floor in a bathroom. I went up and took a look. Inside a twisted, dusty filing cabinet, I found about a hundred unexplored tips.
One had been called in by a woman who had been raped and then severely choked by a man she knew only as "Tony" before she escaped by running down a busy street naked in the middle of the winter. The assault had taken place in the basement of an abandoned Howard Johnson's restaurant, which was immediately adjacent to the Monterey Motel. Being an investigator of keen insight, it occurred to me that Tony was somebody we needed to find.
This being Detroit, the woman had used an alias to report the crime and "Tony" would turn out to be a nickname without a single etymological connection to the killer's true identity. Theselet's call thembig city idiosyncrasies, caused a two-month delay before we were able to arrest Benjamin Atkins and obtain a confession to eleven homicides. We also got his admission of a twelfth murder he was planning to celebrate his birthday in two weeks.
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