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
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 clichéd 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.
"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...admirable and important."New York Times Book Review
"The real pleasure of the new novel lies not so much in solving the mystery of the massacre as in watching Turow knock down assumption after assumption made by Boom--and the reader. In fact, I can't think of another novel in which so many givens end up being exposed as either honest mistakes or outright lies. TESTIMONY is a tour de force of collapsing perceptions."Washington Post
"The master of the courtroom drama, Scott Turow's latest legal thriller goes international and is a page turner not to be missed!"Daniel Silva, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Black Widow
"TESTIMONY is Scott Turow's most ambitious and complex work-which takes us from the gritty familiarity of his beloved Kindle County into a mysterious world of international intrigue. It's the best kind of thriller, which stimulates the mind as well as thrilling the heart."Jeffrey Toobin, New York Times bestselling author of American Heiress
"A compelling story, told with Turow's usual ease, authority and understated humor."Chicago Tribune
"Turow's lively prose and terrific cast of supporting characters make TESTIMONY one for the beach bag...This is a guy who knows what he's doing: Turow has been crafting intricate, best-selling legal thrillers dating back to his blockbuster wifedunit, Presumed Innocent (30 years ago!)."USA Today
"Scott Turow writes with zest and authority about the inner workings of the law...TESTIMONY unfolds in highly descriptive prose and is sprinkled with colorful characters."Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"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."Booklist
"Follows twists and turns, shifting alliances, and a near-fatal confrontation... [TESTIMONY] is exciting and consistent with Turow's prior novels."The Missourian
"A complex and haunting tale of war crimes that will not only satisfy his courtroom drama devotees but also readers of international thrillers."Library Journal
"Bestseller Turow (Identical) movingly evokes the horrors of the Balkan wars in this gripping thriller."Publishers Weekly
"TESTIMONY is an absolutely crackerjack read, and again leaves us wishing that Turow would haul out his typewriter a tad more often."Winnipeg Free Press
"A thriller yarn with many twists and turns."Chicago Sun-Times
"Raises important questions of responsibility, patriotism, corruption and the role of military power. And even as it confronts these weighty issues, it keeps the reader engaged in a page-turning thriller...Turow is back on his game in TESTIMONY."Illinois Times
"Fast-paced...Scott Turow is first and foremost a storyteller, and that's what propels the action, that and trying to figure out the truth...another fine book by this very fine writer."Washington Times
"[A] smart, demanding thriller."Washington Post, "17 Thrillers and Mysteries Worth Toting to the Beach"
"Scott Turow has done the impossible: Making the International Criminal Court in The Hague interesting. ..in TESTIMONY it is a hotbed of intrigue and infighting involving a massacre of Roma people in former Yugoslavia and the travails of an American prosecutor."Bloomberg.com, "Our Favorite Summer Reads"
"Not your average legal thriller. Brilliant? Yes. Compelling? Yes. Complex? Yes. Fraught with misperceptions, twists and turns? Yes. Most of the time spent in a courtroom? Not even close...the setting and circumstances made me feel as if I have seen a glimpse of what it was like in Bosnia during the war."Fredericksburg News
"TESTIMONY shows the great human toll when an entire section of the world descends into chaos...this novel is a legal thriller on a grand stage...Turow's descriptions of the causes and aftermath of the Bosnian war are both substantive and compassionate...sheds an unwavering light on the devastating human toll and the still-reverberating political aftershocks."The ARTery, WBUR
"Scott Turow's new novel is the dedicated fiction-reader's version of El Dorado: a driving, unputdownable courtroom drama/murder mystery that is also a literary treasure, written in language that sparkles with clarity and resonates with honest character insight. I came away feeling amazed and fulfilled, as we only do when we read novelists at the height of their powers. Put this one on your don't-miss list." (Praise for Innocent)Stephen King