Recent Events

Friday, 25 October 2019

‘The Fourth Courier’ by Timothy Jay Smith

Published by Arcade Publishing,
18 April 2019.
ISBN: 978-194892-410-8 (HB)

April in Warsaw 1992 and bitterly cold, and a young American FBI agent, Jay Porter, is on the banks of the River Vistula, looking at a dead body. He is with two Polish police officers, the glamorous Basia Husarska, Director of the Bureau of Organized Crime, and Detective Leczek Kulski. He is here because there is concern in the United States that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union with its domination of Eastern European states and the resulting growth of criminal smuggling networks across those countries particularly Poland, there could be not only a ferocious and violent drugs trade but something more deadly, more to be feared: nuclear smuggling. And now several bodies have been found, all with signs of violent death, and with traces of nuclear material on their hands. More concerning still is that the dead men are Russian. And meanwhile war is brewing in the Balkans. So Jay who is not himself a nuclear scientist but who has, due to family connections, an interest in and some knowledge of the subject, volunteers for the assignment and hastily embarks on a crash course in Polish. 

And there is indeed a Balkan connection: a sinister Serb general is in contact with Dr Sergei Ustinov, a Russian physicist who has been working on a portable atomic bomb. Ustinov is planning to defect to the West and this would very much suit the general who dreams of using such a bomb to secure his desire to ensure that Serbia is the dominant power in what was then still Yugoslavia but falling apart in the growing Balkan wars. Meanwhile, Jay is becoming attracted to Lilja, an attractive Polish airhostess.

This is a fast-moving tale with a number of characters whose separate narratives all come together by the end.
Reviewer: Radmila May

Timothy Jay Smith has travelled 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 Theatre. He lives in France.

Radmila May was born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology – and is now concentrating on her own writing.

No comments:

Post a Comment