What would you do if your sister is murdered and the killer gets away with it?
Tommy Courten, an IBM sales executive, finds his life upside down when his baby sister is murdered and the prime suspect escapes to South America. The police and the F.B.I. give up on the case but Tommy, who is addicted to the violence he experienced as a marine in Vietnam, is intent on revenge. He embarks on a lone manhunt to bring the psychopathic killer to justice. Tommy tracks the man from a Virginia suburb to a dangerous, remote area of Colombia that is controlled by the drug mafia and indigenous tribal people. When he and the killer finally come face-to-face, Tommy is shocked by what he discovers about his own true nature and the path to personal redemption. The Stamp was inspired by a sensational 2007 murder case.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good looking, athletic Lieutenant Tommy Courten has a bad guy, good guy personality. Rough and ready to go at a moment notice, necessary attributes for the front lines of Vietnam, with a gentle, thoughtful interior that gives him the control and ability to reason, making it possible to live in an ordinary society. He marries but that doesn’t work. He works for IBM, but that is too confining and as controlling as his term in the Marines. He just doesn’t fit. Then his kid sister, Ellen, is killed. Her boyfriend cannot keep her around once she becomes pregnant because he is married. If she had just left him alone, it wouldn’t have happened, he theorizes. Tommy must get revenge. The police and military do not seem to be able to do anything because the accused, Private Rodney Zapata, has fled to Bogota. Tommy takes justice into his own hands and flies to Columbia in search of Rodney. There he finds his prey but he also finds Luz from an area called Guajira. Only Luz and her people can save Tommy’s life, not just his physical body but also his heart and soul. Ed Brodow has written a crisp, intense story about the life of one man, Tommy Courten through the eyes of another, a friend of Tommy’s. This unique treatment gives this novel a sense of intensity as his friend sees Tommy’s life through his own reflections on his life and those of friends and family close to him. Tommy’s friend sees different experiences as “Stamps on the Forehead” of individuals. The Vietnamese War was a stamp on Tommy’s forehead, a time in his life that would change him and not allow him to move forward with his life. Then, as he is trying to do just that, Ellen’s death again forces him back into his old pattern. Only exceptional wisdom and love can change the stamp on Tommy’s forehead. This is an exceptionally well written story and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. Reviewer: Elaine Fuhr
I was approached by the author to review this book and I am grateful that he chose me for the honor. I had previously enjoyed his historical fiction work entitled, "The Fixer." That book was excellent in every way. This book is more of a short story that I read in about an hour. The narrator of the book starts with the premise that all people are "stamped" with a certain year of their life. This means that something about that year defines the person you are and how you choose to lead the rest of your life. He gives examples of some of his relatives, before going into the story of Tommy Courten, one of his friends. Courten served in Vietnam and during a mission in 1968, his actions led to the death of 200 Vietcong as well as the man who was right next to him. The personality gleaned for Tommy was a person who took charge and fought against the norm if he didn't believe it. Tommy's sister is the victim of a brutal crime and when the authorities cannot capture the perpetrator, it is up to Tommy to hunt him down. The story is a very quick read and I tried to rate it higher but was not sure what the author was trying to precisely convey as Tommy later comes to the realization about the person he has become. Perhaps if the author had expanded this part of the book it would have been better. Also, having been to both Cartegna and Barranquilla Colombia several times, I was a little taken aback by the author's descriptions of the locations. They seemed like false sterotypes of someone who hasn't been there, more so than fact.
I recently enjoyed reading Brodow's Fixer and wanted to read more of his work. The Stamp did not disappoint. You are in for a ride with this well-written suspenseful thriller. It grabs you and takes you along and never stalls. I was hooked right on page one. The main character has 1968 "stamped" on his forehead. This was the year he fought in Vietnam as a Marine. Now he can't rid himself of the violence that has taken over his life. When his sister is murdered and the killer gets away he follows the man to Colombia and hunts him down. Once he finds him, the unpredictable story has a wonderful twist as the tables turn. The author's style is direct and unpretentious making The Stamp very easy to read. The characters are strong with an intelligence about what they are doing and thinking. I immediately became involved with the characters and caught up in their journey. I liked the female character as she holds her own and doesn't fold under pressure. The author's humor really comes across as he describes "cigar-borne aliens" and a rat that provides the floorshow in a restaurant. I'm really looking forward to reading The Stamp again. There are parts I want to re-visit so I can savor my appreciation of this marvelous story. I'm also looking forward to reading more of this talented author's work.