Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Bricklayer and Blood Ties

2/28/10 The FBI is at the forefront in two recent crime novels that have varying degrees of success. One is a thriller that's almost impossible to put down, while the other is a bizarre tale that stretches the imagination to the limit.

The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd (William Morrow, $24.99) is a compelling page-turner that showcases the debut of Steve Vail, who served in the FBI's Detroit office as a Special Agent for the Fugitive Squad.

Vail voluntarily left the FBI and is now working as a bricklayer in Chicago. In the first chapter, Vail single-handedly thwarts a bank robbery, then departs without sticking around for praise.

Kate Bannon, the FBI's newly appointed deputy assistant director, identifies Vail and later manages to convince him to assist the bureau. Vail, a classic anti-hero who doesn't work well under authority, is known for getting results. He agrees to help track down members of a domestic terrorist group that's initially attempting to extort a million dollars from the FBI.

When the body count rises and the demands increase, Vail gets more involved, discovering clues that FBI agents have either missed or simply ignored.

This is the first book in a series starring Vail and Bannon. The adrenaline-charged action never slows and the abundance of plot twists will satisfy even the most jaded mystery lover.

Noah Boyd is the pseudonym of Paul Lindsay, who served in the Detroit office for 20 years. He's the author of Witness to the Truth and five other thrillers.

Blood Ties by Kay Hooper (Bantam, $26) is the last book in the fourth trilogy of the paranormal Bishop Crimes Unit novels. This FBI Special Crimes Unit uses psychic skills to solve many crimes. They're now tracking a serial killer who's been leaving corpses in different states.

Outside of a small Tennessee town, two more bodies are discovered - and then suddenly, the SCU members become targets.

Soon, one member struggles for survival while others travel the gray area between life and death, trying to assist.

New readers are likely to be bewildered with the large cast of characters. Fortunately, there's a brief biographical section to help identify telepaths, mediums, seers, self-healers and other paranormals.

This one's merely satisfactory.

Ray Walsh
This review also appeared in the
Lansing State Journal on February 28, 2010.

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