** "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 4.3 out of 5based on
12 months ago
Timothy Jay Smith is one of my favorite contemporary writers who doesn't disappoint a reader. Timothy weaves stories with clarity and will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to the last page.
The Fourth Courier is a wonderful new addition to my digital library that I will cherish for many enjoyable re-reads!
More than 1 year ago
Combine an ego-maniacal general, a crooked cop, a murderous drug dealer, a nuclear scientist eager to escape Russia, and what do you have? The Fourth Courier, by Timothy J. Smith, a compelling thriller with unexpected twists and turns, great character development, and a riveting narrative.
Set in Poland in 1992, the authorities suspect four victims found gruesomely murdered had been spiriting radioactive material out of the former Soviet Union.
An FBI agent and a CIA officer are in Warsaw to assist in solving the murders in which the victims had been shot, and had their faces disfigured. One character’s comment, “A conventional war can be contained, but nukes in the hands of a megalomaniac?” rings all too true for today as well as then.
The Fourth Courier deals with multiple social issues: drug addiction, abused women, parental anger over their children’s choices, human rights, immigration, and prejudices, to name a few. Smith handles all of these beautifully. If you enjoy a good thriller, you will love The Fourth Courier.
What Makes This Reviewer Grumpy?
In the e-book version I read, there is a huge number of words run together, as if they were all one word, and there are capital letters in the middle of words, as well as lower-case letters at the beginning of sentences. I suspect this is a problem with the software used in creating the e-book. The editor should have corrected this. Aside from that, there are only the usual mistakes:
• using a noun in place of an adverb (example: slow should be slowly);
• misplacement of “only” within many sentences;
• a few missing commas.
More than 1 year 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. *
More than 1 year 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.
More than 1 year 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.
7 months ago
If you're looking for a book full of mystery, thrills and deceit then The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith might be for you!
This book was action packed, fast paced and full of intriguing characters (all of which seem to meet at the final climax of the book). Not only that, but Timothy Jay Smith had such a way with words that it was hard to put down! To just quote the opening lines of the book, "their steel girders booed thunderously" had me hooked, and his way with his prose continued to be spotless and marvelous!
In this book, we follow Jay Porter the FBI agent while he is in Poland. Dead men are popping up everywhere and they all have very specific pieces of evidence about them suggesting there's a murderer on the loose. Throw in the 90s setting with Russia, Poland and nuclear weapons, and you've got yourself a great start to a thrilling mystery novel. Along the way we meet characters who seem to belong to the mafia, a lovely lady named Basia who feels like a Bond girl, and lots and lots of deceit.
This book gave me Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and James Bond vibes. It's really intriguing and dark yet still made me feel totally hooked on the book. I read it all in one sitting because I NEEDED to know how it ended. To top it off, having the incredible writing style of Timothy was just amazing! It was enchanting to read the story and see it happening in front of my eyes so well! He's so descriptive!
If I had to give this book a rating, it would be R. There's blood, guns and sex (lots of sex, among different genders too!).
Overall, this is one great addition to your mystery and thriller shelf! I would 100% recommend this book if you like a good mystery novel or want something to spice of your reading! And, it's relatively short! The copy I received was under 300 pages which made it nice and quick for me!
For fans of authors like Barbara Kingsolver and Leif Enger, a stunning new voice in
contemporary literary fiction."Tragedy and blessing. Leave them alone long enough, and it gets real hard to tell them apart." Elena Alvarez is living a cursed ...
“Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages.”The Boston Globe“Archer is a master
entertainer.”TimeONE MAN. TWO LIVES. . .Russia, 1968. When his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, Alexander Karpenko and his mother must ...
Set in the 1950s, Lady Be Good marks Amber Brock's mesmerizing return, sweeping readers into
the world of the mischievous, status-obsessed daughter of a hotel magnate and the electric nightlife of three iconic cities: New York, Miami, and Havana.Kitty Tessler ...
Inspired by the true story of Nanda Devi Unsoeld’s tragic 1976 death while climbing her
namesake mountain, Susan Froderberg’s novel Mysterium tells the tale of a courageous woman’s ascent to the summit of India’s highest peak to honor her fallen ...
“What a box of tricks! This full-throttle thriller, dark and driving, rivals Agatha Christie for sheer
ingenuity and James Patterson for flat-out speed. Swift, sharp, and relentless.” — A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the ...
Intelligence officer Ellis Voigt fights toprevent the Soviets from infiltrating the Manhattan Project whilerunning fromenemies
on both sides, in the thrilling sequel toThe Dead Don’t Bleed. Washington, DC, 1945.LieutenantEllis Voigt of the Office of Naval Intelligence is desperate to keep ...
Bestselling author Lisa Patton digs into exciting new territory with Rush, a story about mothers
and daughters, sisterhood, tradition, and doing the right thing, now in trade paperbackExperience the phenomenon from a front row seat...It’s move-in day for college freshmen ...
A romantic and thrilling historical adventure from the internationally bestselling author whose work Diana Gabaldon has
called Enthralling.Spain, 1748. Caridad is a recently freed Cuban slave wandering the streets of Seville. Her master is dead and she has nowhere to go. ...