The Fourth Courier

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 an adjective in place of an adverb (example: slow should be slowly);
  • misplacement of “only” within many sentences;
  • a few missing commas.


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