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Agent X (Steve Vail #2)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  2,029 Ratings  ·  225 Reviews
FBI-agent-turned-bricklayer Steve Vail once helped the FBI solve a brilliant extortion plot. It was supposed to be a one-and-done deal. But when he's in Washington, D.C., to see Kate Bannon- an FBI assistant director- on what he thinks will be a romantic New Year's Eve date, suddenly things get complicated. The FBI has another unsolvable problem, and it has Vail's name wri ...more
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Morrow
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(showing 1-30)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is a fable meant to teach that you should never trust a misogynistic Lithuanian chess master. I swear I am not making this up. Read the book if you don't believe me.

It's nice to see a new author improving his game. This one's a lot meatier than the first Steve Vail book, The Bricklayer. I'd still like to have more depth in the personal backgrounds of the main characters, though.
Agent X involves a deadly scavenger hunt created by a Russian spy called Calculus. The clues lead FBI agents Ste
Bill Khaemba

“We are men who find chess fascinating. Did you expect our lives to be secretly interesting?”
― Noah Boyd, Agent X

Truly a surprise spy book that was thrilling and amazingly constructed, thoroughly enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book. Steve Vail is such a fun investigative character, that had a hint of sass and always never following the rules, it was so fun to follow his character. The clues left by the Russian spy about top government operatives selling government secrets to the Russians w
Selfish of me, but I was so sorry to learn that "Noah Boyd" died last month. I really like the Steve Vail character--as much as Jack Reacher--and had hoped for many more books.

p.220 Great line--attitude:
"Whatever misguided thing you are about to do, I'm in."

Complex, maybe even a bit convoluted, but I really like the characters.
Steve Dennie
Aug 13, 2011 Steve Dennie rated it it was ok
“Agent X” (February 2011) is the second bestselling novel under the name Noah Boyd, which is a pen name of Paul Lindsey. Lindsey, who wrote a total of 7 novels, served as a Marine officer in Vietnam and then worked 20 years with the FBI. Unfortunately, he died at age 68 in September 2011 after a battle with leukemia. So this series may go no further.

Both Noah Boyd books revolve around former FBI agent Steve Vail, who now works as a freelance bricklayer in Chicago (thus the title of the first Boy
Jun 14, 2011 James rated it liked it
It was good to get back to a simple ol' book that just entertained, and lacked all the drama and majesty of the books I have been reading lately. This book was fun, entertaining and reasonably well written, managing to captivate me and - as any good crime thriller should - confuse the hell out of me right up to the end. Okay, so it isn't an amazing book. But I did 'like it', and it was definitely worth the read.

The characters were interesting, with the banter between the characters being fun an
Paul Pessolano
Feb 12, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
Many of you read Noah Boyd's first mystery/thriller, "The Bricklayer" last year. It was not only a bestseller but one of the best mystery/thrillers of the year.

Noah, is an ex-FBI agent that spent twenty years with the Bureau and has been involved in many high profile cases, including the Green River Killer case and the Highland Park Stangler case (which he is credited for solving).

Steve Vail is an ex-FBI agent, that is now earning a living as a bricklayer, that left the service because he is ver
Rob Kitchin
May 12, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it it was ok
I like a good spy thriller novel every now and again. In my teens I read pretty much nothing else – Len Deighton, John Le Carre, Ted Allbeury, Graham Greene, amongst others. So I was quite looking forward to Agent X. In my view it was the literary equivalent of a Steven Seagal movie. The prose was workmanlike and flat and the dialogue wooden, lifeless and corny. The characters have no depth and their back stories are practically none existent. There is barely any chemistry between the leads, des ...more
Dylan Edwards
Apr 21, 2012 Dylan Edwards rated it really liked it
If you enjoyed The Bricklayer ( I definitely did !) then you will really enjoy this ...a more defined and complex novel which keeps you on the edge on your seat

I am right in reading that Mr Boyd is no longer with us ........
Feb 16, 2016 Tim rated it it was ok
No better than an average yarn with a tediously slow pace around solving a mystery and sexual interactions. 4 of 10 stars
Plot Summary: Ex-FBI agent Steve Vail navigates a maze of hidden codes and brain-teasing puzzles to stay hot on the trail of a band of Russian spies in this breathtaking follow-up to his New York Times bestselling debut, The Bricklayer

FBI-agent-turned-bricklayer Steve Vail once helped the FBI solve a brilliant extortion plot. It was supposed to be a one-and-done deal. But when he's in Washington, D.C., to see Kate Bannon - an FBI assistant director - on what he thinks will be a romantic New Yea
Dec 06, 2016 buboinzkhie rated it really liked it
after the last book i read, i found myself longing for an action or thriller book. and so i went to gr's recommendation section and i stumble upon noah boyd's novel agent x. the author himself had been a fbi agent for a span of twenty years. after reading the novel, i can say that the author did not dissappoint.

steve vail is a detective working for a fbi headquarter. he knows a lot about the mechanics of firearms, is very resourceful to make most out of pressing situations, and pursues hard inve
Mar 10, 2011 Mekerei rated it really liked it

Book 10: Agent X / Last Chance to Die

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Steve Vail, ex-FBI, now a bricklayer wants to spend a romantic New Years Eve with Kate Bannon, Assistant Director of the FBI. But of course it’s not to be. It seems that no matter where these two go – it’s all action.

The FBI is approached by a Russian intelligence officer; $250,000 for each traitor. Unfortunately he called back to Moscow and Steve and Kate have to use the clues left to track these traitors. The clues are cryptic and as soon as t
Feb 25, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Boyd returns with another exciting installment in his Bricklayer series (for lack of a better name), that equals, if not tops, the last one. Full of even more intrigue and drama, the book practically sells itself with its plot and character development. While it did have some cheesy moments in the dialogue, the story more than made up for it. With three mini-stories woven into one, we can see Steve Vail in numerous lights and really get to the core of the character’s development. While the story ...more
Sally Gawne
Feb 25, 2011 Sally Gawne rated it really liked it
Noah Boyd’s life makes up for a remarkably authentic background for this book. His own life was a former FBI agent and his character of Steve Vail, aka Bricklayer was derived from his father’s occupation.
As I did not read his first book, this is my thought of where Bricklayer came from. He was a disenchanted FBI agent and rules got in his way of doing his job effectively. Therefore, Steve Vail becomes a nomad with the skill of an office of the law but none of the stops. Despite this, it does st
Feb 18, 2014 Larry rated it it was amazing
This is Noah Boyd's second book. In his initial book he introduced us to ex FBI Agent Steve Vail and Steve is the main focus of this book. Boyd is an excellent writer with many twists and turns in the plot and story line that require the unique abilities of Steve Vail. I really have enjoyed these books and am anxiously awaiting the next book. The books combines international spy story lines, FBI and government moles, bad FBI leadership and a few other things. Noah Boyd is ex FBI and I can imagin ...more
Christine bonner
Feb 04, 2014 Christine bonner rated it it was amazing
This is the second book by Noah Boyd and sadly the last as he died not long after the book came out The book is all so call Agent X , the first book is called the Bricklayer
Steve Vail was a FBI agent but he got fired twice is now a bricklayer and does sculptures that no one sees. he has gone to Washington to meet Assistant Director Kate Bannon for New year Eve party but before there get there the police ask for help finding a missing boy.
Steve is than ask to help with a Russian agent that can id
Ted Mathews
Feb 26, 2014 Ted Mathews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Very Good

Very Very Good

I finished the Brick Layer very pleased with the whole package. The story, the plot, the characters and the ending. So, I jumped directly into Agent X.

Again everything was satisfying, the book is a success.

Some of the jumps from clue to solution were hard for me to follow. But the constant twists and turns were part of the charm of the main characters. There are few slow interludes in these pages. You will need to have a lot of energy to keep up with the action. But
Feb 26, 2011 Harvey rated it it was ok
This is a "sophomore slump" book. The first book in the series was much stronger. The puzzle and mystery are OK but much of the supposedly-romantic/charming banter was stilted and flat. Many moments were unrealistic and many continuity errors almost had me throwing the book against the wall. I will hesitate to read more from this author.
Mar 15, 2011 Marilyn rated it it was ok
Ugh. I won't be reading any more of these.
Bookworm LLC
Jul 19, 2013 Bookworm LLC rated it really liked it
Shelves: judy-bookshelf
Sequel to "the Bricklayer" - another excellent FBI thirller.
Mar 25, 2011 Jane rated it it was ok
Shelves: spy
Complicated / overboiled plot, predictable [boring] characters.
Aug 27, 2016 Lisa rated it it was ok
This was an odd book for me. There were parts I was mildly interested in, parts that somewhat irritated me and parts that bored me. Nothing was really terrible enough for me to stop reading, but nothing was so amazing that it kept me on the edge of my seat either. I haven't read the prequel to this book, The Bricklayer, but Agent X stands on its own well enough that it wasn't an issue, which is good.

The basic premise is that Steve Vail is some kind of hybrid of James Bond and Dr. House. He's sup
Bob M.
May 09, 2017 Bob M. rated it did not like it
I'm never a fan of books where the villian sits with the hero, or heroine, at the end, and while holding a gun on them, clearly with the intent of killing, proceeds to explain every aspect of their master plan for 10 minutes! Time that, of course, could be used to commit the deed. But, instead, at the last moment, good triumphs. To me, it is lazy storytelling. As is far too clever banter between characters when their world is about to blow up! A little realism would go a long way. Nelson deMille ...more
Dannielle Backhouse
Jun 08, 2017 Dannielle Backhouse rated it really liked it
Great read and characters.
Jun 11, 2017 Denise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Loved it!
Blood Rose Books
Mar 03, 2013 Blood Rose Books rated it really liked it
Former FBI Agent Noah Boyd is back with the next installment of his Vail series. The first book to this series is The Bricklayer, and while I do not think it is completely necessary to read the first book as there is very little reference to it in Agent X, it does explain the interactions and relationship between Kate, Vail and the FBI. However, you should be able to ascertain most of it while reading Agent X. Agent X puts Vail to the test when the Russians are hell bent on protecting their infi ...more
Article first published as Book Review: Agent X by Noah Boyd on Blogcritics.

Kate Bannon, FBI agent is having one of her worst nightmares ever. She feels like she is dying. As she pries open her eyelids, she realizes there is no dream, only real life. Someone has left her car running and she is breathing in fumes, unable to open her garage, which is jammed, in the back of her mind she realizes that this will look like suicide instead of what it really is. Who is it that is responsible for her mur
May 05, 2011 Reacherfan rated it liked it
Book 2 of the Steve Vail series finds Vial in DC trying to get back together with girlfriend Kate Bannon, now Assistant Deputy Director of the FBI. She refuses and is taking him to the airport when an ex-agent turned VA sheriff calls for a favor. A child has gone missing and he needs help. naturally, Kate goes, taking Vail with her and he, as usual, finds the child. But once again the trip to the airport is detoured - this time by the Director of the FBI. A informant, supposedly a low level IT e ...more
Toni Osborne
Sep 02, 2011 Toni Osborne rated it liked it
Also published under the title “Last Chance to Die”

Book 2 in the Steve Vail series

Former FBI Agent Steve Vail and Assistant Director Kate Bannon are back. This second instalment to “The Bricklayer” works perfectly well as a stand-alone title although to understand where the characters come from, it is always preferable to read books in sequence. This is definitely for the dye hard lovers of espionage.

In a blurb:

Steve is asked to return to the FBI by Director Bob Lasker to handle a particularly
Oct 17, 2013 Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It would appear that Noah Boyd loves convoluted plotting. After the numerous twists and turns of The Bricklayer he's delivered what is an even more complicated mystery with Last Chance to Die. Not only that but its a tale that unfolds at a lightning pace. As a result you need to pay very close attention or risk becoming, as I did a few times, mildly confused and having to backtrack to work out what little detail you missed that threw you off. This is because Boyd tends to throw out critical plot ...more
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Noah Boyd was the pseudonym Paul Lindsay, of a former FBI agent who spent more than twenty years working on some of the Bureau's toughest investigations, including the Green River Killer case and the Highland Park Strangler case (which he's credited with solving).

The first book in his Steve Vail series, The Bricklayer, was published in 2010. The second, Agent X, was published in February 2011. Boy
More about Noah Boyd...

Other Books in the Series

Steve Vail (3 books)
  • The Bricklayer (Steve Vail, #1)
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“We are men who find chess fascinating. Did you expect our lives to be secretly interesting?” 13 likes
“Vail: "There are worse things than being shot at."
Bannon: "Like...?"
Vail: "Living a life where you're never shot at.”
More quotes…