Cover image for Testimony
Title:
Testimony
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2017.

©2017.
ISBN:
9781455553549
Physical Description:
485 pages ; 24 cm.
Series:
Kindle County legal ; #10
Language:
English
Abstract:
"In the bestselling tradition of Presumed Innocent--the 1987 debut novel that made him "one of the major writers in America" (NPR)--comes what may be Scott Turow's best thriller yet ... Bill ten Boom has walked out on everything he thought was important to him: his career, his wife, Kindle County, even his country. Still, when he is tapped to examine the disappearance of an entire Gypsy refugee camp--unsolved for ten years--he feels drawn to what will become the most elusive case of his career. In order to uncover what happened during the apocalyptic chaos after the Bosnian War, Boom must navigate a host of suspects ranging from Serb paramilitaries to organized crime gangs to the U.S. government, while also maneuvering among the alliances and treacheries of those connected to the case: Morgan Merriwell, a disgraced U.S. Major General; Ferko Rincic, the massacre's sole survivor; and Esma Czarni, an alluring barrister with secrets to protect. A master of the legal thriller, Scott Turow has returned with his most irresistibly confounding and satisfying novel yet"-- Provided by publisher.
Holds:

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Summary

Summary

Scott Turow, #1 New York Times bestselling author and "one of the major writers in America" (NPR), returns with a page-turning legal thriller about an American prosecutor's investigation of a refugee camp's mystifying disappearance.

At the age of fifty, former prosecutor Bill ten Boom has walked out on everything he thought was important to him: his law career, his wife, Kindle County, even his country. Still, when he is tapped by the International Criminal Court--an organization charged with prosecuting crimes against humanity--he feels drawn to what will become the most elusive case of his career. Over ten years ago, in the apocalyptic chaos following the Bosnian war, an entire Roma refugee camp vanished. Now for the first time, a witness has stepped forward: Ferko Rincic claims that armed men marched the camp's Gypsy residents to a cave in the middle of the night--and then with a hand grenade set off an avalanche, burying 400 people alive. Only Ferko survived.

Boom's task is to examine Ferko's claims and determinine who might have massacred the Roma. His investigation takes him from the International Criminal Court's base in Holland to the cities and villages of Bosnia and secret meetings in Washington, DC, as Boom sorts through a host of suspects, ranging from Serb paramilitaries, to organized crime gangs, to the US government itself, while also maneuvering among the alliances and treacheries of those connected to the case: Layton Merriwell, a disgraced US major general desperate to salvage his reputation; Sergeant Major Atilla Doby,a vital cog in American military operations near the camp at the time of the Roma's disappearance; Laza Kajevic, the brutal former leader of the Bosnian Serbs; Esma Czarni, Ferko's alluring barrister; and of course, Ferko himself, on whose testimony the entire case rests-and who may know more than he's telling.

A master of the legal thriller, Scott Turow has returned with his most irresistibly confounding and satisfying novel yet.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestseller Turow (Identical) movingly evokes the horrors of the Balkan wars in this gripping thriller that nonetheless falls short of his best work. Bill Ten Boom, the former U.S. Attorney for Illinois's Kindle County, leaves his white-collar defense practice to take a position with the International Criminal Court in The Hague investigating a 2004 war crime. Ferko Rincic has stated that he survived an attack on his Roma community in Barupra, Bosnia, which ended with 400 men, women, and children herded into a cave that subsequently collapsed due to an explosion. Ten Boom agrees to try to verify Rincic's account and identify those responsible for the massacre. His work brings him into contact with a femme fatale barrister from the European Roma Alliance, who located the crucial witness to the case, and a disgraced American general who commanded NATO troops in Bosnia. Yet another Turow lead suffering a midlife crisis, Ten Boom comes across more as a variation on a theme than as an original character. Author tour. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

An Illinois prosecutor seeks to learn who annihilated a group of refugee gypsies in Bosnia.Mega-selling author Turow turns from familiar, fictional Kindle County (read, Chicago) to treacherous Bosnia for this latest, uneven thriller. Here, in 2004, about 20 armed men herded into a cave a group of 400 Roma, or gypsies. From atop an overhang to the cave's entrance, the abductors set off explosives, causing landslides that buried the gypsies alive. Who were the perpetrators, and what were their motives? Were Serb paramilitaries behind it? Were jihadis defending Bosnian Muslims from the Serbs? Or did the American military carry out the massacre in an act more heinous than My Lai? Eleven years later, the International Criminal Court at the Hague, which tries mass atrocities, pursues the case. The ICC wants an American lawyer to prosecute, and Bill ten Boom seems the perfect choice. He has friends on "both sides of the aisle" in D.C. and a reputation that's "bulletproof." Alas, Bill, though worth millions, is going through a male midlife crisis, which leaves a too-familiar, not very fascinating character to carry the tale. It doesn't help when Bill predictably becomes attracted to defense attorney Esma Czarni, an English barrister who is also a Roma. As they combust, Turow's prose turns purple. An "earthquake of pleasure" turns the bed they share "into a delicious, soupy mess." Just as clichd is Turow's sense of place. En route to the gypsy campsite, Bill sees "little whitewashed houses that could have been home to Hansel and Gretel." Bill's journey to find the culprits initially moves by fits and starts, frequently interrupted by subplots only tenuously connected to his quest. A tightly written action set piece at midpoint, in which Bill and an associate narrowly escape execution, snaps readers to attention, and Turow largely keeps them there as he moves on to a complicated, trenchant, and pertinent finish. Worth staying the course. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Staring down a classic middle-age rut, white-collar defense attorney Bill ten Boom changes tack and takes a prosecution post with the International Criminal Court. Bill's biggest case turns on the testimony of Ferko Rincic, who claims that armed men in unidentified military uniforms executed an entire village of Roma (gypsy) refugees. No one, including American soldiers at a nearby base, has seen the Roma since the alleged attack, and Rincic's testimony is filled with credible details about Bosnia and the volatile postwar situation there. Bill's team riles governments and Bosnian paramilitaries while investigating rumors that the U.S. executed the Roma as retribution for their sabotage of the attempted arrest of Bosnia's former president for war crimes. Hampered by government secrecy, local paramilitaries, and a perplexingly uncooperative Rincic, Bill soon finds that his creates more questions than it answers. Turow applies the same storytelling magic to the ICC that has drawn scores of readers into his Kindle County courtrooms, weaving fascinating details about the challenges of prosecuting war crimes into a suspenseful story of redemption and the complexities of justice. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Turow continues to have A-list appeal, and his latest, though somewhat outside his wheelhouse, will still draw a crowd.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2017 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

THE BOSNIAN WAR and its aftermath is an excellent period in which to set a legal thriller because, more than 20 years after the end of that messy conflict, it is still unclear exactly who was responsible for doing what to whom. The war remains one of the bloodiest whodunits of 21st-century international relations. The breakup of Yugoslavia, and the declaration of independence by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, sparked interethnic carnage in which Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Muslims butchered one another and were murdered with a brutality and complexity that horrified and baffled the outside world in equal measure. At least 100,000 people were killed, many by systematic "ethnic cleansing." The fallout and legal accounting from that war continues today. Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, was finally captured in Belgrade in 2008 and brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. Last year, Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Scott Turow has set his latest novel, "Testimony," against this background, swapping the American courtrooms of previous books like "Presumed Innocent" and "The Burden of Proof" for the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. The result is fast-paced, well researched and, like the background it describes, distinctly tangled. This is a crime novel that requires a level of concentration and engagement with international politics some readers may balk at. After a successful career as a United States attorney and criminal defender, Bill ten Boom, Dutch in origin, all-American in instinct, is having a Force 12 midlife crisis. At the age of 54, he has lefthis home in Illinois, his wife, his family and his job, concluding that despite all his success, he has never "felt fully at home with myself." At the suggestion of an old friend, a senior intelligence officer, he accepts an offer to work for the I.C.C. at The Hague and prosecute an unsolved case leftover from the Bosnian war: the disappearance of several hundred Roma, or Gypsies, in the wake of the conflict. The Roma were some of the least recognized victims of the Bosnian war, reviled and misunderstood by all sides, as they have been throughout history. In 2004, Boom learns, 400 Roma men, women and children were rounded up by masked gunmen in the middle of the night, trucked to a large cave and then, according to a lone survivor, buried alive. Who killed them? Serb paramilitaries? Islamist jihadis? The Bosnian mafia? Or was this the work of United States forces, carrying out a revenge attack after the Gypsies tipped offthe fugitive Serb leader to an impending raid in which several American servicemen were killed? Teasing out the complexities and actors in the conflict requires considerable scene-setting and throat-clearing. "Do you know where Bosnia is?" Boom is asked at the outset. "East of anyplace I've been" is the reply. Once Turow has taken us through the warring parties, the Dayton Accords that ended the fighting in 1995, the NATO forces deployed to enforce it and America's refusal to participate in the I.C.C., we are off, at a speed that becomes faster and more assured as the novel progresses. There is a particularly fine scene in which Boom finds himself kidnapped by Serb paramilitary thugs, dragged to the top of a salt factory tower and attached by his neck to a colleague, a boozy Belgian who speaks antique Australian argot. If either man moves he will fall offand hang both of them. Boom, believably, wets himself. Turow successfully recreates the roiling uncertainty of the Bosnian conflict and its consequences, the stew of racism, military aggression and crime, the willingness of ordinary people to visit spectacular cruelty on their neighbors in obedience to ethnic enmities centuries old. Central to his plot is Laza Kajevic, the fugitive Bosnian Serb leader suspected of unleashing his men on the Roma. Despite his disclaimer that "no character is a representation of anyone who has lived," Kajevic is plainly modeled on the real Karadzic, from his elaborate coiffure to his towering arrogance and blithe brutality. I had the chilling experience of meeting Karadzic during one of his visits to the United Nations, and Turow has captured his strange menace, his "gargantuan self-importance" and "serene willingness to be both judge and executioner." The scene shifts back and forth from the killing fields of Bosnia to the quiet bourgeois certainties of the Netherlands, but Turow seems less comfortable on foreign soil than in the familiar surroundings of his fictional Kindle County. In Bosnia he sees "little whitewashed houses that could have been home to Hansel and Gretel"; a building in The Hague is "reminiscent of Disneyland." Helping Boom in his investigations is Esma Czarni, a Cambridge-educated barrister, Roma advocate and Gypsy sexpot, with "a great mass of fried-up black hair, . . . huge, imposing black eyes" and a shapely bosom. "I realized that at some level I had known what was going to happen," Boom says. So does the reader. "'Allow yourself, Bill,' she murmured. . . . 'Prepare for paradise.'" And sure enough, he does, falling into an "earthquake of pleasure." This is pretty harrowing stuff, but thankfully fairly short-lived. "TESTIMONY" LACKS THE TAUTNESS of Turow's earlier legal thrillers, and one senses a midlife author attempting, like his midlife character, to find meaning and resolution, and "bring justice to the millions in several nations murdered, tortured, raped, starved and savagely misled" in the course of the Bosnian conflict. This book does not wear its research lightly and tends to inform the reader, a little ponderously, when a lecture is about to begin: "How much pathology you familiar with, Boom?" Then again, few other writers would be prepared to explore the so-called Hague Invasion Act, or have a character declare: "The Service-Members' Protection Act prohibits any American assistance in an I.C.C. investigation." The Bosnian war erupted from a complex concatenation of hatreds. There was savagery by all, and incompetence on the part of the U.N. and NATO. The Roma, as ever, were caught up in the violence. Hundreds of thousands of confiscated arms were shipped from Bosnia to Iraq. What happened to those weapons has never been fully explained, providing the hinge to Turow's plot. The Bosnian slaughter offered no easy moral conclusions, and to his credit Turow does not suggest any. "I do not know . . . what I would do in wartime," one character observes, reflecting on the horrors of the war. "I am not sure the rules would be very clear to me if it were kill or be killed." That is true of most people in wartime, in every age. This is at once a thriller, a story of middle-aged angst, an exposition of international law and an exploration of an intensely serious and very nasty episode in recent history. Like the international court's attempts to bring retrospective justice to Bosnia, it is imperfect and occasionally confusing, but also admirable and important. BEN MACINTYRE'S latest book is "Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS."


Library Journal Review

With little to go on other than the disturbing testimony of the lone survivor of an alleged massacre of 400 Roma, or "Gypsies," in a Bosnia refugee camp in 2004, Bill Ten Boom, a former Kindle County, IL, attorney now working for the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands, determines to learn the truth about the night of April 27. His investigation of the cold case takes him from Holland to a Bosnian village where the Roma may have been buried alive. One thing is certain: no one has ever heard from them again. Suspicion about possible U.S. Army involvement leads Bill to Washington, DC, to meet with a former general who had been in charge during the 2004 peacekeeping maneuvers in Bosnia. When he searches for clues a little too close to the hiding place of the former leader of the Bosnian Serbs, another possible suspect in the massacre, Bill ends up in a seemingly inescapable situation. -VERDICT Inspired by "real world events," Turow (Presumed Innocent; Identical) crafts a complex and haunting tale of war crimes that will not only satisfy his courtroom drama devotees but also readers of international thrillers. [See Prepub Alert, 11/7/16.]-Wendy W. Paige, Shelby Cty. P.L., Morristown, IN © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.