Reviews

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New Thriller Courier Takes You on an Amazing Ride

Courier ImageThe book is “Courier” and the author is Terry Irving. I know Terry through my interviews and I know he is capable of some slam dunk work. This book is one of those thrillers that you just can’t ignore. Remember “Airport”? Well think along the same lines… Here we go… Back to the seventies….

I had the privilege of reading Terry Irving’s latest work, Courier. This is a fast-paced, nail-biting thriller combining intrigue, suspense, a bit of romance, and mostly, edge-of-your-seat action.
Rick Putnam, the story’s protagonist, finds himself unwittingly smack dab in the midst of one of the biggest potential political scandals of the era. It’s 1972, and Rick, an emotionally wounded Vietnam vet is a motorcycle courier for a news agency in Washington, DC. Doing his job as usual, he suddenly finds himself in possession of a reel of film which exposes Nixon’s acceptance of bribes in the form of campaign contributions by the South Vietnamese in order to extend the war for their benefit. This footage is so explosive, so volatile, those who want to see it buried will stop at nothing to quash it, regardless of who is expended in the meanwhile. Naturally, Rick is the primary target.

Rick is an interesting guy– he’s a man’s man, but utterly vulnerable and tortured by visions of horror suffered in the war. To attempt to dull these memories which haunt him nightly, he rides his BMW motorcycle to its limits on a daily basis– by riding hard, fast, and a bit maniacal at times, his mind can push the memories away for a just a bit. If you’ve ever ridden a bike or even been a passenger, the action-packed descriptions of Rick’s many hair-raising, adrenaline pumping rides will take you right back to being on that seat. I am a former rider myself and I was instantly transported back to that feeling of tremendous power between my knees and feeling my hand twist the throttle just a little bit more- pushing my personal limits to balance the fear with the utter exhilaration I felt.

There’s even a sweet romance – Rick, who normally is quite emotionally closed off, finds himself captivated by a strong-willed Native American law student who is able to access those parts of him he thought he had shut forever. It shows Rick to be incredibly human and brings to light so many issues we know vets continue to suffer to this day.

Mr. Irving based the book on his own experiences as a motorcycle courier during the same time. He describes Rick as “far more daring and much better looking than I ever was”; although I have to wonder if he’s being too modest. Only personal experience could have allowed the descriptions of that type of amazing motorcycle riding. Additionally, the descriptions of the news production process during the 70s, when Mr. Irving himself was right in the middle of that business, was fascinating. He describes the process of film editing and that sense of constant urgency in the newsroom. Since most of his life after being a courier was spent in the news production environment, you can feel the reality of the scenes through his descriptions which can only be gleaned by being there. One gets a hint at what life in Washington was really like during that heady time.

I don’t want to give away any secrets– suffice it to say the twists in the story will have you gasping in surprise and chewing at your nails. I don’t normally read thrillers, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I know you will, too. It’s quite the ride!

Review by LoriAnn Murray

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