The Bottom Line: One of the year’s best thrillers.
In The Courier’s intense opening pages, four thugs are gunned down by an assassin in Bangkok, a businessman’s contract is brutally terminated in Tokyo, and a DEA agent saves an overdose victim in Charleston, West Virginia.
What’s the connection between these seemingly disparate tragedies? Debut novelist Gordon J. Campbell deftly answers that question over the next 300 pages, writing in bite-sized chapters that rarely fail to pack an emotional or physical punch.
The heart and soul of Campbell’s novel is 40-year-old Canadian Gregg Westwood, a devoted family man and medical sales rep based in Japan. Just as Gregg is double-crossed by his employer in Tokyo, he’s recruited by intelligence agents to deliver a package to Bangkok. As they see it, Gregg’s inexperience in espionage is his biggest asset.
But once there, the handoff doesn’t go as planned, and their new courier is in way over his head. Meanwhile, back in Japan, the life Gregg has so carefully constructed is suddenly at risk.
In what is shaping up to be an incredible year for first-time novelists, The Courier’s edge-of-your-seat plot is eclipsed only by Campbell’s lush landscapes. The claustrophobic density of Shinjuku and the stylish grit of Bangkok leap off the page, while the hominess of the U.S. Air Base invokes a sense of nostalgia that transcends our era. The Courier is a rather lean book, but Campbell has seemingly chosen just the right details to create an environment for Gregg’s inevitable transformation.
A: I’m the Regional Sales Manager for Rach Inc. We offer uniform and marketing solutions to US Government facilities in Asia and Europe. An example of our work would be the window graphics, logo mats, wall graphics, and uniforms used by the new Bayou Burgers, Po’Boys & Daquiris restaurant at Yokosuka’s Club Alliance.
A: I visit Yokota, Atsugi, Zama, Yokosuka, and The New Sanno regularly. We try to visit Sasebo, Iwakuni, Misawa, and the bases in Okinawa quarterly.
A: I’ve written and published short stories and essays and have been blogging for several years. Writing a novel has always been one of my dreams, and it finally became a priority. The Courier’s development and multiple rewrites spanned over three years.
A: The Courier is my first novel, and the second part of the Gregg Westwood Series is under development. You can purchase The Courier on Amazon in both E-Book and printed format. We release an audio version in November.
A: I asked myself what would happen if a salesman without military training entered into a dangerous situation unfamiliar to anything in his world. Could he stand up, persevere, and protect his people?
A: The reaction to the book will depend on reading tastes of both the military and non-military community. The Courier is a thriller novel with military, revenge, espionage, and conspiracy aspects. It might appeal to readers of Lee Child, Jack Carr, Ben Coes, and Mark Greaney.
A: There are incredible resources available to “indie authors” allowing the production of a professional quality product. A smart looking cover, excellent editors, and expert formatting technicians can be hired to groom your novel. I’d be sure to invest in these services before offering work to a first novel competition or exposing your art to professional and amateur critics.
A: I was born in Canada and did not serve in the U.S. military. My friends, who are U.S. military veterans, offered a lot of support to add accuracy to the novel.
A: Book two in the Gregg Westwood Series will be released next year. It starts where The Courier left off.