Author Guest Post
So, I think I’ll talk about love.
I was quite surprised when love walked in to COURIER. (Well, to be truthful, I was fairly surprised by just about everything that ended up in the book. For a guy who spent most of his life in a business where you had to have a second, third, and fourth way of doing just about everything, it’s amazing how much I just wing it.) My protagonist, Rick Putnam, is a motorcycle courier back in the early 70’s and, as a Vietnam Vet, he drives his bike at top speed and maximum danger to drive the demons of war out of his head. He’s also the child of an alcoholic parent and left home to join the Army because it was preferable to the continuous abuse at home.
Here’s something that won’t come as a big surprise to any of you Adult Children of Alcoholics out there—an alcoholic mother uses “love” as a control mechanism to control those around her and an endless series of crises to give her an excuse to drink. In case you haven’t guessed, my Mom was a lush. At 17, I swore never to spend another 24 hours under her roof and at 19, my parents helped out by disowning me. This was one of the very few aspects of Rick’s personality that came from my personal life—by and large, he’s based on a young Nicholas Cage. The result of a lifetime having “love” used as a cudgel is that Rick ends up feeling that all emotions are only weaknesses and that anyone who says they love you is setting you up.
Add to this the extreme PTSD that Rick developed after his time in Vietnam, and you have a guy who’s locked his feelings inside a concrete shell. He’s afraid that he could explode and hurt anyone if he ever let them inside; that he’s so badly injured that no woman could want him. Here is a guy who can’t stand that he’s alive when his friends are dead, is deeply affected by the enemy he’s killed, and generally doesn’t see himself as fit to join the rest of the world. It is any wonder that the opening scene has him riding so fast that Death is only inches behind?
Or as Woody Allen once said, “I'd never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.”
Only one person has ever smashed through this armor—college friend Dina Scholten—and she has to do all the work; talking to him, setting meetings, arranging lunches, and accepting without comment anything and everything he tells her of his life.
Unfortunately, she’s gay and not terribly interested in Rick as anything but a friend.
Then, at one of their weekly lunches up on Capitol Hill, Dina introduces Rick to a young Northern Cheyenne law student who’s been working to defend the American Indian Movement radicals who just finished a takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Her name is Eve Buffalo Calf—which is a very important name in Cheyenne culture (but you’ll have to wait until the sequel to find out why)—and everything changes.
Now, to be totally honest, Eve was originally brought in because I knew I was going to need a way to get Rick out of Washington at the end of the book and I knew that the FBI wasn’t terribly popular on the reservations in 1972. She was a completely two-dimensional character just meant as a plot device.
Except, like everyone else in the damn book, she wasn’t under my control and she kept growing more and more and becoming more important to the plot and the subplot. See, the plot is that Rick Putnam has picked up evidence that traces High Treason right back to the White House and so a kill squad is sent to kill him and dispose of the evidence. As you might imagine, there are all kinds of guns, explosions, and intense races with various sports cars attempting to wreck Rick’s bike.
It wasn’t until I wrote the screenplay for COURIER (just for the experience, no one from Hollywood has called yet,) that I realized that the real plot was whether Rick would (or could) open up enough to let anyone in—whether he would choose life or the living death of complete emotional isolation. Eve is the key person but there are also a group of housemates, the sort of people who normally would just leave for the next house without forming even the most fragile friendships. What can I say? These guys really stepped up. They’ re some of the very first computer geeks and total social outcasts. Together, this group house ends up as the sort of artificial family of the damaged that you see in Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
I promise that I didn’t intend any of this to happen when I wrote the book!
As I wrote the later scenes where Eve and Rick meet on early-morning walks on the Mall and then confront danger together, her character just kept growing on me. She was tough but not hardened, aware of Rick’s flaws but determined that he was worth the effort, and is easily as smart and funny as Rick on his best day. I came to like her and couldn’t let her go.
And, in the end, neither can Rick.
About The Author
This led to about a dozen years spent in dark rooms and watching pictures shot by someone else somewhere vastly more exciting. Eventually, he became a field producer for Nightline and covered stories ranging from the Berlin Wall to Tiananmen Square to Apartheid in South Africa. After 20 years at ABC, he took a buyout to try this “multimedia” stuff everyone was talking about. That led to 30 years of freelancing, senior positions at soon-to-die dotcoms, and various periods of employment at companies like Fox News (six weeks,) MSNBC (3 years,) and CNN (6 years.) Eventually, he was fired for about the fifth time and realized he was too old and, more importantly, too opinionated to get another job.
So, he took up writing.
He lives now in Bethesda, just outside Washington with a wonderful wife in a home built so she could have a dog. Along with all the other lies he told himself back in 1973, it turns out that he hates living alone. His two children and one grandson are doing great and he enjoys seeing them on the few times he emerges from his home office.
COURIER is his first novel (but he’s written 3 others in 2013 alone so don’t expect him to go away.)
AUTHOR WEBSITE #2
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
Courier - Book Trailer
Courier by Terry Irving
Publisher: Exhibit A
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Format: Paperback - 336 pages
Kindle - 1269 KB
Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Historical Political Thriller / Suspense
BUY THE BOOK: Courier
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by JKS Communications.
It’s 1972. The Watergate scandal has Washington on edge and Putnam, a Vietnam veteran and 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. Racing at breakneck speed through the streets of the capital, he not only intends to be the best courier in the business, he also intends to escape the demons that haunt him. 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.
Enlisting the aid of friends who have discovered a way to hack into the government’s computer databases, and a beautiful young Indian Rights activist, Eva Buffalo Calf, Rick races full throttle through the streets of the nation’s capital to stay ahead of his pursuers as he searches for answers. When he discovers the killings have been orchestrated by a rogue CIA agent and his team of assassins, Rick isn’t surprised when his road to the truth leads directly to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
My Book Review:
In his debut novel, Courier, author Terry Irving weaves an exhilarating and fast paced political thriller with a historical twist.
Rick Putnam is a Vietnam Vet and motorcycle courier for one of Washington D.C.'s leading television stations. The Vietnam War has taken its toll on Rick, after recovering from his war wounds, he suffers from PTSD and his method of escaping his demons and the memories of the war that continue to haunt him is by riding his motorcycle at breakneck speeds down the streets and alleys of the capital. When Rick picks up a roll of news film from a correspondent and news crew, he later finds out that the film contains the potential of a very hot and damaging story, and that the correspondent and news crew have been killed. What he doesn't realize is that he's next on the killer's list. With one fast motorcycle and a little help from friends, Rick is determined to figure out who is after him and why ... a discovery that will lead him all the way to the White House!
Courier is a gritty and gripping political thriller that takes the reader on one hell of a roller coaster ride. From Vietnam to the White House, Nixon to Watergate, author Terry Irving transports the reader back to 1972 Washington D.C., an era of turmoil in US history.
The author utilizes his past media experience to weave an intriguing tale that is rich in vivid descriptions and historical information. One can only wonder if the author instilled a bit of himself into Rich, as he is also a motorcycle enthusiast who began his career as a media motorcycle courier. I loved following Rich story's, he is a realistic and flawed man who the reader can easily relate to, you can't help but feel for him as he struggles with the residue of his time in Vietnam while trying to put his life back together.
With a fascinating cast of characters; witty dialogue and gripping interactions; and a riveting action packed storyline with chase scenes, danger, political drama, exciting twists and turns, and even a romantic love story thrown into the mix; Courier is a captivating historical political thriller that will keep you on your toes and turning the pages. I could easily see this novel being made into a movie, it is a must read that won't leave you disappointed!
RATING: 5 STARS
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
April 26 Author Interview at Literary Lunes
April 27 Review at Little Miss BookMark
April 28 Review at Manhattan Reader
April 29 Review at Book Reader’s Heaven
April 30 Review at For the Love of Books
May 1 Review at Books are Love
May 2 Review, Guest Post and Excerpt at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
May 3 Review at Like a Bump on Blog
May 4 Interview at Dab of Darkness
May 12 Guest Post at Obsessed with Progress
Also on the Tour
Feature Friday Spotlight at Literary Wonders