The year 2013 saw the losses of some classic writers --- Elmore Leonard, Richard Matheson and James Herbert, to name a few. None left as big a hole in the world of popular thriller fiction as internationally bestselling author Tom Clancy, who died suddenly this past fall.
Political thrillers and global spy fiction has long been a popular genre, but not many contemporary writers mastered it with the skill Clancy possessed. Now with him gone, a slew of authors will be battling to fill the void left in this niche genre. Among them is British-born but U.S.-raised writer Andrew Britton.
THE COURIER is Britton’s sixth novel and represents a terrorist threat that appears to be ripped straight out of international news headlines. A young Muslim man, ironically named Mohammed, is tasked with completing the ultimate jihad. He is assigned the role of courier to a package that has been sought after by various nations going back to the stormy days of World War II.
"THE COURIER moves at a brisk pace and contains enough modern political and anti-terrorist efforts to make for a timely and intelligent thriller."
This package, concealed in a common trunk, possesses a weapon of nuclear magnitude that could do serious damage for whatever nation or terrorist sect holds it. Mohammed and the terrorist organization he works for have located the package before any of the major global powers could, and the plan is to deliver into the very heart of the United States and detonate on American soil.
Out to thwart this plot is the unlikely duo of former U.S. spy Ryan Kealey and young Farsi-speaking nuclear physicist Rayhan Jafari. Initially, Ryan and several members of the U.S. inner circle are hesitant to trust such an important mission to a woman of Muslim descent. However, Rayhan has proven her allegiance time and again, and her knowledge and skill set will be necessary for this mission to be successful.
The unexpected key to the mission lies in the mind and experience of Ryan’s uncle, WWII hero Largo Kealey. Enjoying retirement on Long Island, Largo is surprised when he is contacted by U.S. intelligence forces and asked to recount his missions from nearly 70 years earlier. It was in 1941 when Largo’s team was working with the British MI6 squad to stop German forces from claiming a weapon of nuclear proportions that could turn the tide of the war. Thankfully, that weapon never came into play but has now re-emerged as a serious threat to the U.S.
Ryan and Rayhan globetrot in an effort to hunt down both the weapon and those who are in pursuit of it. Things are not made any easier when an apparent mole within the U.S. intelligence ranks is working to sabotage their mission at every turn. THE COURIER moves at a brisk pace and contains enough modern political and anti-terrorist efforts to make for a timely and intelligent thriller.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on January 8, 2014