Book Review – “Agent X” / “Last Chance to Die”


Agent X is the second novel of The Bricklayer series by author Noah Boyd
Its also published as “Last Chance to Die” (I still wonder why)
My review of first novel The Bricklayer can be read here

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Agent: X – 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 Year’s Eve date, suddenly things get complicated. The FBI has another unsolvable problem, and it has Vail’s name written all over it.

A man known as Calculus, an officer at the Russian embassy, has approached the FBI claiming that he has a list of Americans who are selling confidential information to the Russian SVR. In exchange for the list, he is asking for a quarter of a million dollars for each traitor the FBI apprehends. But then Calculus informs the FBI that he has been swiftly recalled to Moscow, and the Bureau suspects the worst: the Russians have discovered what Calculus is up to, probably have access to his list, and will be hunting the traitors to kill them unless the FBI can find them first.

The FBI realizes that it has to keep the operation quiet. Once again, Vail is the perfect man, along with Kate Bannon, who would be anyone’s first pick for help on an impossibly dangerous case. But finding the traitors isn’t going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to be downright deadly. And if the Bricklayer survives, he will have to come up with a few tricks of his own.

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Agent: X – My Review:

Agent X is not as intriguing as the first novel. But again one shall admire the authentic writing style of the author and charater that is of Steven Vail.
The story seems almost realistic, the characters well developed, and the pace wild.

Book starts with an attempted murder of Kate Bannon to look like suicide, which she escapes. Unaware of this, Steve pays visit to meet Kate Bannon, on a New Years Eve party. Their romantic relationship is not going well, but then again they team up as the story paces up with cases that include kidnapping of a young boy and a missing FBI agent.

A Russian intelligent officer working in Russian Embassy, codenamed Calculus has contacted the FBI about a list of names of Americans who provide confidential information to Russia. Calculus disappears before the FBI can contact him. Steve, put on job by FBI, discovers that Calculus has left behind clues that will lead him to the traitors, if he can unlock the codes. Each code leads Steve to one traitor and a new clue is hidden to lead him to the next one. However solving clues is a race against time as another agency is involved in killing the traitors.

There is plenty of action involved till the case is solved. Kate is framed for treason, however Steve solves another puzzle to prove her innocence.

This book envisages more into the Character that is Steven Vail. Through the character of ex-partner at FBI, Luke helps us learn Steve’s history and understand as to how Steve is.
The dialog presentation between Steve & Luke and Steve & Kate are nicely done.

If you enjoy a good mystery with lots of twists and turns, a good thriller and/or suspense novel,  you will like this book.

Not as good as the Bricklayer but if Noah Boyd had written a third Bricklayer book, I’d ve definitely read it.

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