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Summary and book reviews of The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd

The Bricklayer

A Novel

by Noah Boyd

The Bricklayer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2010, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2011, 416 pages

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Book Summary

Someone gives you a dangerous puzzle to solve, one that may kill you or someone else, and you're about to fail... And there is no other option. No one who can help. No one but the Bricklayer.

The Bricklayer is the pulse-pounding novel introducing Steve Vail, one of the most charismatic new heroes to come along in thriller fiction in many years. He's an ex–FBI agent who's been fired for insubordination but is lured back to the Bureau to work a case that has become more unsolvable—and more deadly—by the hour.

A woman steps out of the shower in her Los Angeles home and is startled by an intruder sitting calmly in her bedroom holding a gun. But she is frozen with fear by what he has to say about the FBI—and what he says he must do...

A young agent slips into the night water off a rocky beach. He's been instructed to swim to a nearby island to deposit a million dollars demanded by a blackmailer. But his mission is riddled with hazardous tests, as if someone wanted to destroy him rather than collect the money...

Vail has resigned himself to his dismissal and is content with his life as a bricklayer. But the FBI, especially Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon, needs help with a shadowy group that has initiated a brilliant extortion plot. The group will keep killing their targets until the agency pays them off, the amount and number of bodies escalating each time the FBI fails. One thing is clear: someone who knows a little too much about the inner workings of the Bureau is very clever —and very angry—and will kill and kill again if it means he can disgrace the FBI.

Steve Vail's options —and his time to find answers—are swiftly running out.

Noah Boyd's The Bricklayer is written with the bracing authenticity only someone who has been a crack FBI investigator can provide. And in this masterful debut Boyd has created a mind-bending maze of clues and traps inside a nonstop thrill ride that is sure to leave readers exhilarated and enthralled.

Before

As Mickey Stillson stared at the gun in his hand, he absent-mindedly reached up and adjusted the fake ear that was his entire disguise and wondered how a born-again Christian like himself had wound up in the middle of a bank robbery.

A year earlier, he had been so certain of his religious conversion that when he went before the Illinois parole board, he let his inner peace sell itself. He asked its members to address him as Michael—a name that he felt emitted a soft, evangelical glow—because like Saul giving way to Paul, prison had been his personal road to Damascus. Confinement, he explained to the stony faces in front of him, had actually been his salvation. Without it, he would never have found God, the void that had sent his previous life tumbling end over end, resulting in a three-year-long incarceration for forgery.

He couldn’t help but wonder now if finding God hadn’t in fact been strictly a means of survival. After all, his ear had been cut off by ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

Looking for a page-turner to while away the weekend with? 17 out of 18 BookBrowse readers gave thumbs up to this heart-pounding thriller and its hero. Here's what they had to say:

From the first page to the last I was completely engaged with the characters and the story line, and at 390 pages this one is no wimp. And still, it ended too soon. There were so many twists and turns in this thriller that I could not figure out what was happening next - and I'm the queen of figuring out the ending by the middle of the book. As an added bonus, I have fallen in love with Steve Vail (aka the Bricklayer) and am so thrilled that this is just the first book in a series. I can't wait for the second book to come out. So you better get this one on your wish list quick because you cannot have my copy (Rebecca C)!   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

Full Review Members Only (463 words).

Media Reviews
San Francisco Chronicle

If the rest of the series is as sensational as The Bricklayer, Vail should have a long, happy life - and readers should enjoy every installment of it.

Booklist

Boyd is said to be a pseudonym for a former FBI agent, and this fast-paced thriller includes many authentic-seeming details about the Bureau’s bureaucracy.

Publishers Weekly

Predictable plot elements include the hero's incredible escapes from peril and the growing romantic bond between the laconic Vail and the attractive Bannon.

Kirkus Reviews

Highly formulaic - the Rube Goldberg plot makes Jeffery Deaver's twisty thrillers seem models of realism - but irresistible red meat for connoisseurs of action thrillers.

Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)

[A] refreshingly unpredictable mystery destined to become a bestseller with many sequels.

Author Blurb Lee Child
Non-stop action and non-stop authenticity make this a real winner.

Author Blurb Patricia Cornwell
Noah Boyd brings his FBI experience to this dazzling thriller. The pace is frenetic, the action is unique, and the drama intense. We have a new American hero in Steve Vail.

Author Blurb James Patterson
Patricia Cornwell highly recommended this thriller to me and she was right on. The Bricklayer has terrific pace, surprises galore, and snappy dialogue in the appropriate places. Even better, it has a real hero. Move over Jack Reacher, here comes The Bricklayer.

Reader Reviews
Nancy Patterson

Brick by brick
I had just finished the Hunger Games series and was looking for something new that intrigued me like this series. Since my dad was a second generation bricklayer, I picked it up wondering how authentic the author's voice would be regarding the life ...   Read More

SAM

Back to Basics
Interesting plot. Great characters. Wonderful dialogue. It doesn't get much better if you enjoy fast-paced mystery/suspense novels. Noah Boyd has masterfully created one of the best ones I've read in awhile. He reminds me of the earlier ...   Read More

Nikki R. (Irvine, CA)

Hail Vail
As I began reading I had some doubts since it started rather slowly in my opinion. I kept plugging away and boy did it get exciting ! A bit creepy too as the adventures were recounted. On a lighter note the male/ female interplay added interest. By ...   Read More

Jan P. (Fairfax, VA)

Oh the Tale Boyd Wove!
One hundred pages into Noah Boyd’s The Bricklayer, first glance up, lost in a story full of suspenseful endings that kept on coming. Agent Steve Vail, both real and unreal in his dealings and his daring. Airy and intense bantering with both love ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

About the Author
Noah Boyd is the pseudonym of a former FBI agent who works on cold cases when he's not writing. He was a highly successful FBI agent 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. His 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 novel's investigative details.

Coming Soon: Agent X, the second in Boyd's Steve Vail series, will publish in hardcover in February 2011. Browse BookBrowse members' "First Impressions" reviews here.

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