AGENT X By Noah Boyd [Review]

Agent X

Don’t you love it when bricklayers are ex-FBI agents, those kinds of agents who just couldn’t fit in, the square peg in a round hole, and when they do come back and triumph you just cheer your heart out? Well, they aren’t alwaysbricklayers, but you know the kind of book I mean. So, I was happy to get a chance to read AGENT X by Noah Boyd, featuring Steve Vail, former agent-turned-bricklayer. I enjoy a good spy thriller, I even enjoy a good spy thriller with a plot that gets a little twisty, or even a lot twisty. I can set aside my need to have everything perfectly true to life. I can. I also really enjoy those books that let you get into the head of the main character and get to know them like Ian Rutledge or even Brother Cadfael. I love a good mystery, when the book keeps me guessing and toss in some action and an explosion or two and you have me sold.

So why, then, am I not thrilled with Agent X? First of all the plot, well plots, in fact, make yourself a flow chart, you’re going to need it to keep up. There is just so much going on from Vail’s relationship with plucky Kate Bannon of the FBI to the Russian killers to spies and the assassins and the attempts on various people’s lives. Second is the problem that even though there were lurking spies, flying bullets and all kinds of fun I felt like I was wading through cement trying to get through the book. The opening scene, an attempt on Bannon’s life, was so utterly slow I almost chucked the book then, but thought, well it has to get better, right?

The plot did get twistier, the bad guys did lurk and be bad and I was left at the end with this feeling of watching a primetime soap spy drama without any of the real fun. I wish I could put my finger on just what it was that made this book just a so-so read for me. It really did have all the elements to make it a good book. Maybe Boyd just tried to cram too much into this one novel. Maybe just one plot line could have been set aside. I’m not sure. I never really engaged with the characters, and I should, they are the type I generally like, but I just was left feeling flat.

The Bricklayer, the first Vail book, was actually enjoyable, and maybe that’s why this one was such a let down. I was expecting that book and got this one instead. I’m can’t really recommend Agent X wholeheartedly. If you love the genre, try it out, just be ready for a lot of confusion at times and every once in awhile that urge to peek ahead. I’m not going to give up on Noah Boyd and Steve Vail yet, if he turns out a sequel to Agent X, I will probably read it; I am just not going to rush out and buy it on day one.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars | Agent X by Noah Boyd | Publisher: William Morrow | Pages: 400 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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