THE BRICK LAYER by Noah Boyd

THE BRICK LAYER

KIRKUS REVIEW

Pseudonymous Boyd makes a blistering debut with the tale of a disgraced former agent who rescues the FBI from a murderous extortionist.

First the Rubaco Pentad slays a tabloid TV reporter who’d done an exposé of the Bureau, demands $1 million or it will kill an unnamed politician, and executes the FBI agent carrying a dummy package with no money. Then it murders a Utah state senator (also a prominent FBI critic) and this time wants $2 million; the agent and the package—now containing real cash—disappear en route to the drop. When the Pentad kills a defense lawyer (also known for his anti-Bureau stance), Assistant Director Don Kaulcrick brings in Steve Vail, fired five years ago for refusing to give evidence against an incompetent superior because it would have led to the release of a cop-killer. Presently working as a bricklayer in Chicago, Vail agrees to join forces with the FBI so long as he’s not reinstated and not paid and can have the assistance of new Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon. Learning that Vail’s on the case, the Pentad demands that he deliver the third package: a duffel bag containing $3 million. Vail jumps through every hoop and survives every booby trap; the payoff gets delivered, and he gathers some telltale clues that set him on the Pentad’s trail. Deflecting the advances of Bannon and a Los Angeles ADA, he focuses manfully on the case, realizing at length that virtually all the evidence has been planted, “and we’re still being played like a whorehouse piano.” Boyd, identified by his publisher as a former FBI agent, provides the inevitable cat-and-mouse game between Vail and the Pentad’s chief with enough jolts to create a legion of fans for this novel, trumpeted as the start of a series.

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.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-182701-3
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2009




THE BEST MYSTERIES OF 2010:

Fiction NOWHERE TO RUN by C.J. Box
by C.J. Box
Fiction THE BRICK LAYER by Noah Boyd
by Noah Boyd
Fiction THE GLASS RAINBOW by James Lee Burke
by James Lee Burke
Fiction WORTH DYING FOR by Lee Child
by Lee Child

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

MysteryBRYANT & MAY OFF THE RAILS by Christopher Fowler
by Christopher Fowler
MysteryABSOLUTE RISK by Steven Gore
by Steven Gore
MysterySEIZURE by Nick Oldham
by Nick Oldham