Thursday, 29 May 2014



Get ready for the ride of your life…
It’s 1972. The Watergate scandal has Washington on edge. Rick Putnam, a Vietnam veteran and motorcycle courier for one of the capital’s leading television stations, is trying to get his life back together after his nightmarish ordeal in the war. But when Rick picks up film from a news crew interviewing a government worker with a hot story, his life begins to unravel as everyone involved in the story dies within hours of the interview and Rick realizes he is the next target.
Before Twitter and Facebook, the fastest way get a story on the news was on a BMW R50/2 motorbike. It was also the fastest way to get killed…
Courier is a political conspiracy thriller as exciting as Three Days of the Condor, with a lead as cool as Easy Rider, all set in Nixon-era Washington.
Written by a four-time Emmy award-winning writer and producer, this is a killer blend of action and surprise twists, certain to appeal to fans of James Ellroy and Dennis Lehane.
Courier is Terry Irving’s debut novel. I was attracted to it on Net Galley because of the striking cover and the premise of a Vietnam veteran, not long back from his war and he’s landed slap bang in the middle of a conspiracy and cover-up in Washington, 1972. Though we have mention of Watergate and Nixon, our story deals with other shenanigans here.
We have our troubled veteran, Rick Putnam, suffering from PTSD and surviving on 3 hours sleep as he re-visits nightly his war and experiences in Ia Drang. His escape from his nightmares comes in the form of late night, pedal to metal motorcycle rides around DC. His day job as a courier for a TV station, brings him into the firing line when a whistle-blower and the news crew he talked too all die in simultaneous “accidents.” The film of the exposé goes missing and Putnam, who was seen receiving the back-up film is targeted. Putnam’s training and “spidey sense” enables him to escape the first “accident” planned for him.
Unwilling to trust too much in coincidence, Putnam with the help of his “geeky” computer-savvy housemates seeks to unravel the conspiracy. With a relentless adversary, himself a veteran from the Vietnam-US conflict, we have continued attempts on Rick’s life and those who he entrusts with his knowledge.
Courier is an interesting tale, well told. I’m a bit too young to recall first-hand the presidency of Richard Nixon and his subsequent resignation and the tumultuous time and place the US capital must have been in the early 70’s, but Irving does a great job is placing the reader there.
Washington, Watergate, Vietnam, motorbikes, conspiracies, veterans, Ia Drang, elections, campaign contributions, investigative journalism, dark arts, cover-ups, TV reporting, (covert) homosexuality, Native American issues, the BIA, reservations, motorcycle gangs, gay bars, Vietnamese restaurants and cuisine,  explosions, arson, car accidents, thugs for hire, pursuit, murder……. and more all whipped up together to provide a heady cocktail.
Decent characters that are well-fleshed out, with a sympathetic main lead and an interesting bunch of support characters. Slight criticism in that I would have liked to have seen more of our adversary, though we do get some of his history, it was his present I would have liked to have seen greater depth to, in respect of who was pulling his strings. There’s also a bit of love interest in the guise of a politicised Native American girl, which added another layer and dimension to the mix.
The author I would guess has a passion for motorbikes as he imparts a fair bit of knowledge into the mechanics and behaviour of a bike being ridden at the edge of its limits. There’s a fine balance between too much technical stuff – cue snooze-fest and just enough to prove you know what you’re talking about and the author manages to strike the right balance here, as well.      
Overall verdict – 4 from 5. The fact that Irving gets it all done and dusted in about 220 pages is another tick in the box from me.
Terry Irving’s blog/website is here.  

I accessed this one via Net Galley.
* My 400th blog post, since I started back on 16th May 2012.
My Book Trivia was my first. I can't say anything has changed in two years, only the figure is maybe 1000 more!


  1. Hey Col, well done with the 400th entry. I'm trying to work out: at what point in the future is your entry number going to match the number of books in the attic? You could work towards the two numbers converging.

    Nice review. Probably not for me (to quote someone who visits my blog).

    1. Moira, thanks. Not for you - hey no problem.

      At the moment though the acquisitions have slowed, the numbers would still be diverging as opposed to converging. More will power required - logically - say there's 2500 - going on the low end of the scale. Read 120 a year, I'm sorted until I'm 72'ish - why do I need more books?

  2. Congrats on post #400. :)

    1. Scott cheers - hopefully I'll be posting for a few more yet!

  3. Congratulations on 400 posts. If you have 3000 books (minimum?) in the attic, are they all unread? (OK I see there you are saying 2500 minimum.)You definitely have me beat there. I haven't done a count, but I don't think I could have over one thousand.

    This book does sound interesting and I do remember Nixon and the Watergate hearings very well. Maybe I will try to fit this in someday.

    1. Tracy thanks.
      I reckon 2500 is a minimum. Basically I used to read and keep all my books. At some moment in time (late 2000's) I had a lightbulb moment and decided to this was impractical and I then got rid of recent reads (2006 onwards maybe - not that I recorded them) and everything read thereafter. So probably I have 1000 or so that I would have read maybe 50-60% of previously that I'm kind of thinking I would like to read again before I part with them (delusional? possibly). Andrew Vacchs, Elmore Leonard, Joseph Wambaugh and a lot of Vietnam War authors plus others I can't even remember.

      I was going to try and organise them but its a massive task. I have most of them in the attic and about 10 boxes in my mother-in-law's attic and a bookcase downstairs that houses maybe 200 books, plus about 500 on my kindle! I dimly recall promising you some photographs a while ago which I haven't done. It would be nice to have them catalogued and organised so I could lay my hands on exactly what I wanted to read when I wanted it.

      Washington early 70's - seemed to have a helluva lot going on!

    2. Firstly, congrats on 400 posts; that's quite an accomplishment. Secondly, I'm amazed at the sheer number of books you must have stored here and there. I complain about my TBR but Tracy estimated it at no more than 150 (it looks huge because it's all sitting out in the bedroom and I see it all the time - good incentive to not buy at least in theory). Thirdly, Washington in the 1970's: have you seen the movie "All The President's Men" - excellent procedural thriller and recommended.

    3. Glen thanks. I'm a bit of a head case when it comes to books - more money than sense I suppose! I suppose I'd have to sleep in the attic to get dissuaded - out of sight out of mind, maybe?
      I've heard of All The President's Men, but never seen it - a good shout, thank you.

  4. Congratulations on 400 posts, Col, and you nailed it with a fine political thriller that I'll keep in mind. Keep them coming. After reading about your books score, I don't feel so guilty about my 200-odd books. I can breathe easy!

    1. Prashant thank you. Great book to bring up the 400! Only 200 odd books - you need to get out a bit more!