Tuesday 2 April 2019

#BookReview — The Fourth Courier, by Timothy Jay Smith #HistoricalFiction #NewRelease @TimothyJaySmith

The Fourth Courier

By Timothy Jay Smith

For International Espionage Fans of Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, a new thriller set in post-Soviet era Poland.

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it's feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.

“Are you suggesting someone is trying to put together an atomic bomb?”

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, brought about many opportunities — for some. Since the dissolution, post-communist Poland had become a freeway for unlawful trafficking. However, when three bodies turned up — each showing signs of torture and a bullet in the heart, alarm bells started to ring. This was not the work of a serial killer. This was the work of something much worse.

With the disappearance of a Russian physicist, the International Community has to get involved, for this physicist has designed a portable atomic bomb. It is feared that this bomb will find its way into the wrong hands and if it does, the consequences do not bear thinking about.

The race is on to find the killer, and hopefully, the bomb — before it is too late.

From the banks of the Vistula to the glamour of the Ambassador’s residence, The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith is one of the most tense, powerful and utterly compelling historical thrillers that I have ever read.

This action-packed, adrenaline induced, thriller of a story grabbed me from the opening sentence and did not let up until the last first stop, by which time I finally managed to catch my breath and utter “Wow! What a book!” I was immediately drawn into the world that Smith has created. It is a world filled with danger and uncertainty. It is very obvious that Smith has spent many hours researching this period in Polish and Russian history. 

Smith has chosen to tell his story from both sides, which I thought was refreshing. So not only do we get to follow the “good guys” we also get to follow those who want the bomb for their own sordid purposes. I thought this approach worked incredibly well.

Smith certainly has a novelist eye for human detail, and nothing is beyond his telling. We meet some very degenerate individuals through the course of this novel and one very memorable narcissistic. Smith, it seems, has a visceral understanding of what makes a good villain. Likewise, Smith has created some really notable protagonists. I particularly liked FBI agent, Jay Porter. Porter is a wonderfully delightful character who I immediately took to. His relationship with Lilka gave his character creditability, and his failure to find a decent cup of coffee was a source for some light entertainment. Lilka was another character that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. Her situation is precarious, to say the least. However, she is a very strong and courageous woman, a good match for Jay. There is a rather large cast of characters in this book, and they all help to drive the story forward. Sometimes, with such an extensive cast, the reader can become confused, but not so in this case. Smith has a masterful control over them all, and as they have such distinct characteristics, it was easy to keep up with whom they all were.

There can be no doubt that Smith writes with a great deal of imagination and energy. The Fourth Courier is one of those books that is very hard to put down. This is the kind of novel that will keep you turning the pages into the early hours of the morning.

The Fourth Courier has everything a good historical mystery thriller should have. It is full of cliff-hanger tension. It has enough plot twists to satisfy the most hardened of critics, and it has a cast of unforgettable characters.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up you copy of
The Fourth Courier

Timothy Jay Smith

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that saw him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a 'devil's barge' for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.

These experiences explain the unique breadth and sensibility of Tim's work, for which he's won top honors. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper's Promise "literary dynamite" and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His screenplays have won numerous competitions. His first stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.

Connect with Timothy: WebsiteTwitterLinkedin.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a real page-turner, Timothy. Congratulations on your award!


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx