book reviews · Bookish

The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (Review)

Hi! Today I am on the Love Books Group blog tour for The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith, out now! Read on for my review, more info about the book and the author, and be sure to check out the other stops on the tour. I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour.

The Fourth Courier is an espionage thriller based in 1992 Poland that follows Porter – an FBI agent whom is in Poland to assist with investigations, Crawford – who is there from the CIA for similar reasons and Mladic – a sadist and a masochist who hopes to establish and preside over the new Serbia now that the borders to Poland have been opened.

There have been four murders. All of the bodies have turned up in the same area, on the same river, seemingly on display and with similar methods to murder and mutilation. Jay Porter has been assigned to the case, working from the Embassy with Kurt Crawford alongside the Polish investigating team.

Mladic enlists the aid of an isolated nuclear scientist and corrupt cop to assist him with smuggling uranium in to Poland in the hopes of creating a suitcase bomb. But will he succeed?

The book has quite the atmosphere and sets you firmly in Warsaw, after the fall of communism, where food is short, money is short, smuggling is common and drugs are easy. I really enjoy the way the author managed to really create such an atmosphere and convey the emotions of the people through the difficulties during this time.

I really enjoyed the way the characters were written. I was unsure why sexuality and skin colour mattered and why they were certainly noted upon in the bio. I questioned if it was to earn diversity-points. I was incredibly pleased to discover that was not the case at all and that there was a reason for it which we discover in the second half of the book which has a lot more going on as we really get in to things.

The book is incredibly steadily paced and has a good balance between the characters, environment and plot and I found this incredibly enjoyable, albeit a little predictable at times; I want to get to the end and see how it concluded from the multiple perspectives. I’d definitely recommend it.

About the Book

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.  

About the Author

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.

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