At the same time the FBI is confronted by a group of extortionists, the Rubaco Pentad, who have made the FBI the target of their extortion. They are requiring the Bureau pay them! After receiving the first demand for $1,000,000 the Bureau, following standard protocols, attempts a fake drop but is outwitted by a fiendishly clever drop plan at an abandoned naval prison.
The Pentad ups the ante and the consequences and demands $2,000,000. When the agent designated to make the delivery and the money both go missing the FBI is almost paralyzed.
Desperate for a solution before the story becomes public and facing another demand the Bureau reaches out to Vail to find the disappeared agent and money. In
Vail works with Kate Bannon, Deputy Assistant Director on the search. Los Angeles
In the investigation Vail encounters situations that are dangerous puzzles. Boyd has created enough clever traps for several books. There is even an excellent contemporary locked room mystery within the plot. Boyd’s skill in devising traps reminds me of Jeffery Deaver.
Not surprisingly the agency’s bureaucracy is very unhappy with a renegade leading the investigation but their reliance on procedure has them continually led astray by the distractions and misleading clues left by the Pentad. While they flail about Vail is relying on his ability to think more than his brawn. It was a pleasure to see the hero’s mind challenged in a thriller.
I read through the book eager to see the next devious trap unraveled. The cleverness of the Pentad brought to mind some of the early Harry Bosch mysteries of Michael Connelly.
My only lament is a regret I sometimes experience in Deaver books. The twists are unpredictable and well done but there is one too many of them.
Boyd has created the most promising thriller series in years. It is the second thriller I have read this year featuring a
hero. Michael Harvey created a high octane thriller in The Third Rail. Chicago ’s book raced along with the hero, Michael Kelly, having no time for reflection. Boyd’s book is a better book as he emphasizes thought amidst the action. (Curiously both Harvey and Boyd have the FBI blundering about ponderously investigating the crimes.) The Bricklayer has great visual images. It will be an excellent movie if Harvey will trust Boyd’s skill in plotting. (Nov. 28/11) Hollywood