Current affairs aside, I love a good political thriller. And my book of the month for October delivers some perfect escapism from our present reality. The Fourth Courier written by Timothy Jay Smith is a fabulous read. The action takes place in post-Cold War Warsaw circa 1992 after the Communist era has ended. Smith does a wonderful job in setting the scene; his description of the Polish city is mesmerizing. His intricate and detailed storytelling places the reader in the midst of all the action.
There has been a series of grisly murders that has brought international attention because the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends agent Jay Porter to help with the investigation. With the death of the fourth courier, Jay learns that a portable atomic bomb has disappeared and the action intensifies. After teaming up with Kurt Crawford, a CIA official, the race is on to find the bomb before it ends up in the wrong hands.
The unique twist in this spy thriller is that Porter is straight and white and Crawford is gay and black. Like a good Bond novel, the agents sexual dealings play an integral part of the storyline. And there is one very enjoyably homoerotic chapter in the weight room that has me hoping for them to turn this book into a movie.
All kidding aside, The Fourth Courier is an exciting thriller that will have readers voraciously devouring the pages from start to finish. I love discovering writers whose works I have never had the chance to enjoy. After reading this novel, I will definitely be looking into Smith’s other books.
Smith has won top honors for his novels, screenplays and stage plays in numerous prestigious competitions. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. Previously, he won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. His stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award, and his screenplays have won competitions sponsored by the American Screenwriters Association, WriteMovies, Houston WorldFest, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Fresh Voices, StoryPros, and the Hollywood Screenwriting Institute. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.
For more information on Timothy Jay Smith and his work, go to www.timothyjaysmith.com.