- Buy the book
Reviewed by Joe Tackett
or those of you casting a tasteful net in search of America’s next great literary hero, look no further than Noah Boyd’s “The Bricklayer.” Boyd’s protagonist is the witty and rugged Steve Vail, a talented FBI special agent whose uncanny instincts are matched only by the unorthodox means he is willing to explore to ensure justice prevails. Despite his brilliance as an agent, Vail’s tendencies to operate as a lone wolf clashes with the institutional paranoia of the FBI, leading to his firing and a new career as a bricklayer.
While Vail is breaking up armed bank robberies and measuring how much water to splash onto the mortar, the FBI is attacked in a wave of blackmail, extortion and murder. Artfully placed clues lead the agency to suspect the culprit may be one of their own. Desperation drives the FBI to send out the beautiful Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon to coax the irreverent bricklayer back to the job.
Kate’s seduction of the reluctant Vail is successful and the pair finds themselves swept up in a vortex of cleverly laid clues, dead ends, red herrings, more dead bodies and millions in missing ransom money. Relentless, Vail dogs the trail and pursues the implacable criminals through a series of blood-chilling episodes sure to raise the reader’s pulse and certain to keep the pages turning.
The plot twists and turns as Vail battles both the villains and the rigidly byzantine interagency politics of the FBI, and the reader cannot help but be mindful of Vail’s warning early on in the book: “The one thing I’ve learned on this job is never to underestimate a man’s capacity for evil. Even a good man’s.”
Many threads are woven by Boyd but are masterfully summed up in the end, leaving little to wonder aside from when the next release in the series is due. In sum, “The Bricklayer” has something for everyone fond of the suspense genre, so don’t hesitate to grab a copy for your next relaxing day away from work, sweethearts and poorly performing portfolios.