Wednesday, May 08, 2019

What is Timothy Jay Smith reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Timothy Jay Smith, author of The Fourth Courier: A Novel.

His entry begins:
The Fourth Courier, my novel set in Poland, was only released a few weeks ago, but I’m already well into my research for a new novel. Set in Istanbul, it’s the story of a gay Syrian refugee who gets recruited by the CIA to go deep undercover to carry out a dangerous mission. I know Istanbul less well than other locations in my novels, so I’m working my way through a small library of books set there.

In fiction, I like to read the kind of books that I write, and the two novels I just finished were relatively fast-paced stories, but not all action, which had depth and could even be accused of verging on literary. They were Joseph Kanon’s Istanbul Passage and Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. Also like my own work, both stories were set against the backdrop of a bigger picture issue, so they were enlightening at the same time.

With scenes of Jews hunkered down on rickety ships destined for Israel, Kanon describes the chaos that ensued for...[read on]
About The Fourth Courier, from the publisher:
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.
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--Marshal Zeringue