The Bricklayer : Steve Vail

  • by Noah Boyd
  • Narrated by Michael McConnohie
  • Series: Steve Vail
  • 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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 ...


What the Critics Say

"Nonstop action and nonstop authenticity make this a real winner." (Lee Child)
"We have a new American hero in Steve Vail." (Patricia Cornwell)
"Terrific pace [and] surprises galore." (James Patterson)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Save your credit!

This book was absolutely terrible. The story was predictable, boring and lifeless. The characters were flat and unlikable, and the writing was just painful. This mystery/thriller is a cliche-ridden embarrassment to the genre.
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- Coralie

Joe Friday meets Kevin from Home Alone

I purchased this title from Audible right away after reading a glowing review in my local Sunday paper's book section. The review appeared right next to the NYT Best Seller list and the reviewer concluded his writing by saying he couldn't wait for more books in this new series.

I found this book to be adequate but it won't be on the NYT best seller list any time soon and I don't think I'll be likely to purchase any future installments.

The book's main character is a "retired" FBI agent who, in comparison with all of the book's other characters, has super powers of reasoning and physical prowess. The setup early in the book is promising but does in hindsight give away to book's very formulaic nature: retired agent gets pulled in by the very bureaucracy that drove him out in the first place and finds a way to overcome it once again to defeat the bad guy.

There were two important aspects of this book that just didn't work for me. First the characters seem to be straight from the '60's or 70's and kind of comic bookish in nature. The female lead is especially curious: somehow she managed to become an FBI Assistant Director but gets weak in the knees when Our Hero (the bricklayer) is around. Most of the lines of their dialog (Her: "Bet you say that to all the girls who get shot around you.") are transparent attempts at witty flirtatious banter but are just hard to take. Second, I found the many "traps" set by the bad guy to be just too improbable. Worse yet, Our Hero knows that things are being set up but just continues to walk into danger and somehow cleverly escape. The first time is not bad but after this happens about five times it seems kind of unrealistic.

The narrator is good in a 1950's tough guy kind of way and there are no notable production glitches. I finished the book because it does pick up a little near the end. For those interested in this genre, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
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- Tony B.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-26-2010
  • Publisher: HarperAudio