** "Sharply drawn characters, rich dialogue, and a clever conclusion bode well for any sequel." —Publishers Weekly **
** “Smith skillfully bridges police procedural and espionage fiction, crafting a show-stealing sense of place and realistically pairing the threats of underworld crime and destabilized regimes.” Booklist **
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.
Tim has traveled the world collecting stories and characters for his novels and screenplays which have received high praise. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his first book, 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 2017 Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, "Stolen Memories." His screenplays have won numerous international competitions. Tim is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. He lives in France.
The Fourth Courier: A Novel 4 out of 5based on
3 months ago
The years immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union were very chaotic in Europe and author Timothy Jay Smith draws from that atmosphere to create the The Fourth Courier. Following the Soviet Union’s breakup there was a concern about what would happen to all the nuclear material that was stored in its various countries and especially Russia itself. The plot revolves around a series of murders and missing nuclear material in post-Soviet Poland. During the course of the investigation, it is discovered that certain scientist who created a portable nuclear device is in the wind. All that is needed for him to start WW III is the addition of the right nuclear material. The race is on to prevent a war and no one knows for sure if they will succeed. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and it reminded fondly of such authors as Ludlum and Le Carre. I would give this novel 3/5 stars.
* A copy of the ebook is the only compensation received in exchange for this review. *
6 months ago
Set shortly after the Soviet Union imploded, this international intrigue takes FBI agent Jay Porter into Poland. There he’s quickly involved in a case where three men have been found dead on a riverbank. All have a minor genetic deformity: the stub of a sixth finger. The more pressing concern, however, is that they all have radioactive hands.
Porter and CIA agent Kurt Crawford along with their Polish counterparts are concerned about the security of nuclear material stockpiled by the USSR during the Cold War. Power in the Communist countries now lies in the hands of a Mafia-esque cohort composed of former intelligence and military men.
The cast is interesting. First, General Drako Mladic, the head of Yugoslavia Secret Services. He dreams of being the next leader of his country and plans to consolidate his power by buying the most dangerous weapon imaginable. Dr. Sergej Ustinov is a Russian scientist who has developed a portable nuclear bomb and thus can answer Mladic’s prayers. The Director of Organized Crime, Basia Husarska, is a femme fatale well-worthy of such a name. She beds Mladic and anyone else necessary to achieve her personal goal of escaping Poland. CIA agent Kurt Crawford is the gay black male version of Husarska who doesn’t hesitate to use his sexuality or his coloring to gain information. The protagonist, Jay Porter, handles his current case while, in the background, dealing his divorce and custody battle and looking toward a new love.
The Fourth Courier is well-plotted with murders, crosses, and double-crosses enough to snag any reader’s interest. Smith captures the late-winter gloom of Poland as well as the edgy nervousness of the 1990s post-Cold War uncertainty in the Communist bloc. As someone who grew up with parents who considered putting in a bomb shelter, The Fourth Courier played upon those uncertainties. Though at times the writing was a bit superficial, it was action-packed from start to finish and kept me turning pages.
7 months ago
The fourth courier is a crime fiction set in 1992. The story is about Jay Porter, a special agent and his gay CIA agent to investigate a Russian physicist who is missing. He is specialized in making atomic bombs and so that gives them the intuition of a big problem.
The thriller story also contained some history, politics and architectural description. Based on the stories setting, it being after the seismic fall of communism in Eastern Europe, I found the story to contain depth and relativity to real people. When Jay befriends a Polish family, it was easy to see how lives used to be based on the political environment in the communist era.
I found the literature to be worded strong and have a fast pace to it. The story was action packed and based on its descriptive nature had the reader senses a certain thrill and mystery while they read it.
The characters were exclusively singular in their personality and growth. I think that was what made the story amusing and stand out amongst its genre.
I would recommend this book to people who are crime fiction fans and enjoy reading thriller novels.
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