Steve Vail is a Bricklayer. He is however no ordinary bricklayer. He used to be a former FBI agent who didn't like taking orders from anybody. When somebody begins killing FBI agents, Deputy Director, Kate Bannon decides that she needs his help. Vail will need to go back to the world he abruptly left to see if he can help the FBI track down the murderer.
As this is Noah Boyd's first novel I had no expectations other than the jacket info which always seems to promise the best novel ever. With the front cover holding the words "Move over Jack Reacher, here comes The Bricklayer - James Patterson" it had me hoping that this debut would be a good one.
First off the author is not silly; he has all the components needed that have made previous authors successful. Brooding lead character that doesn't like the rules, yep he has that. Female character that is somehow persuaded to go along with the idea of breaking every rule there is, yep he also has that. Storyline involving crazy psychopath murderer that seems to know all the tricks in the book, yep, got that too. Noah Boyd has all the ingredients that other have previously used with one exception. Noah Boyd has actually worked for the FBI.
The experience tells through the storytelling somehow making this tried and tested formula work even more than usual. The storytelling itself is good, being fast-paced and edgy without being too over the top. The actual writing of the two main characters was great and the rapport between them is built up gradually. I also fell in love with Steve Vail's character; he was witty and charming without being smarmy. On top of that he seems more real the way he is written, as does Kate Bannon.
Some may say that Steve Vail is nowhere near as good as some of the other characters people have come to love such as Jack Reacher and Alex Cross. However remember that this is a debut novel and there is loads of room for this character to develop. That is of course on the proviso that Noah Boyd wants to continue with this character. I think a follow on book to this would be great.
I can honestly say there is nothing I didn't like about this, admittedly Steve Vail hasn't wormed his way to my heart like Peter James has done with his lead character Roy Grace, but a follow up might just do the trick. Its tough competition out there today for crime writers; especially when creating a fresh story. I think Noah Boyd has done this well because the authenticity show through the story.
Note about the Author: The Author: FBI agent Paul Lindsay received commendation and a $600 incentive award from FBI director William Sessions for helping spearhead the capture of serial killer Benjamin Atkins. After writing his first novel in 1992, Paul Lindsay -- a twenty-year veteran of the FBI -- became the victim of a vicious backlash. The Bureau threatened to fire Lindsay for insubordination, claiming he violated a company ban on accepting outside income. Was that the case? Or did Lindsay expose too much about an agency that likes to remain in the shadows? He went on to write another 5 books before writing under the name Noah Boyd.Sadly Paul died in 2011 while in hospital suffering from pneumonia . He was diagnosed in 2005 with a blood cancer that compromised his white blood cell count, the possible result of his exposure to chemical defoliates when he served in the Marines in Vietnam