This is a fable meant to teach that you should never trust a misogynistic Lithuanian chess master. I swear I am not making this up. Read the book if you don't believe me. It's nice to see a new author improving his game. This one's a lot meatier than the first Steve Vail book, The Bricklayer. I'd still like to have more depth in the personal backgrounds of the main characters, though. Agent X involves a deadly scavenger hunt created by a Russian spy called Calculus. The clues lead FBI agents Steve Vail and Kate Bannon from one double agent to the next, but every time they get to the next double agent, that person is killed. I was all ready to give this book four stars. I liked the greater plot depth and sophistication as compared to the first one in the series. Then came the end, which was very confusing and wrapped up too quickly and tidily. Good story, fast pace, interesting characters, and some fun, playful dialogue. I give it 3.5 stars.It's worth mentioning that this series has no foul language and no sex scenes. If you're looking for a clean(er) mystery/thriller series, give this one a whirl. The author, "Noah Boyd," is a former FBI agent, so we know his name can't really be "Noah Boyd," right? I started rearranging the letters in NOAH BOYD to see if I could figure out something about who really writes these books. Here are some possibilities: 1)"A. H. Nobody": The novels are randomly generated by computers.2)"Honda Boy": The author is that bored retired FBI agent blowing through your neighborhood at midnight on his noisy motorbike. Buy the book, so he can afford a car and you can get your beauty rest.3)"Hobo Andy": The author is the homeless man warming his beans over a trash fire under the railroad trestle. Go buy the book right now. The poor guy needs the money for his next bottle of Thunderbird.