Mysterious Book Report No. 94

by John Dwaine McKenna

There’s a special interest that we readers should be aware of and give some attention to:  first novels.  They have an aura about them because they encapsulate a lifetime of thought, expression and experience.  (Or in some cases, inexperience . . . ) It makes no difference if the author is eight or eighty, they’ll put the sum total of their life’s events into the body of their first novel.  And, as such, some of them are exceptional.  They’re the little gems we try to find and bring to your attention; the first-time author with something to say that we all want to hear.  And don’t worry, from time-to-time we’ll review the big guns as well, the A-list favorites like Michael Connolly and Lawrence Block, the giants of the mystery universe, as well as other well-known writers, but we’re trying to find your next favorite author as well, and this week we have a new up and coming author for you.

The Bricklayer, (William Morrow, 2010, $24.99, 390pages, ISBN 978-0-06-182701-3) by Noah Boyd is a first novel that’s packed with surprises.  The action is fast-paced and relentless with new twists and turns in every chapter as well as sharp, snappy dialogue that captures the essence of protagonist Steve Vail and various other good, bad and indifferent characters in law enforcement and criminal enterprises.  Mr. Boyd, a twenty-year veteran FBI officer, has an eye for detail, an ear for dialogue and the heart of a veteran spinner of stories as he takes us along for the ride while the FBI tries to track down a master extortionist and cop-killer intent on committing the perfect crime.

In the opening scene, Steve Vail, a former FBI agent and non-conformist hero, thwarts a bank robbery in progress when he knocks two would-be bank robbers out cold and tosses them through a plate glass window for good measure.  He then disappears, avoiding publicity.  The FBI tracks him down and enlists his aid to find an extortionist who’s made off with a couple of million dollars and killed five people, two of whom were FBI agents.  The action and the plot turns never let up until the surprise conclusion on the last page.

You’ll be rooting for Vail, the non-organizational outsider who refuses to adhere to the FBI bureaucracy while trying to outwit an evil mastermind who always seems to be one move ahead of them.  The Bricklayer is perfect light reading that will provide hours of relaxation.  It’s a great debut from a first-time author.  Drop us an email letting us know what you think of Noah Boyd and The Bricklayer.

And while you’re at it, would you tell us what you think of your local library?  Is it attractive, well-stocked and easy to use?  Is the library staff helpful and knowledgeable?  Did you find a book to read?  What’s that?  You haven’t tried the library yet?  You don’t even have a free library card?  Have you surrendered . . . to ignorance ???

There’s no surrendering at our websites:

johndwainemckenna.com

and

rhyolitepress.com

Drop in and take a tour.  Tell us what you’re reading, leave a comment, or several of them.  Join in the conversation and put your mark in cyberspace.  We’d love to hear from you.

You’ll hear from us next week . . . when we’ll have another new book review, just for you.

–JDM