Testimony, Scott Turow, author; Wayne Pyle, narrator
I usually enjoy Turow’s books, but this one went off on too many tangents, and contained too much foolish dialogue between characters that did nothing to enhance the novel. It had far too many romantic, sexual interludes which were distracting and caused the plot to have a lack of continuity. It was often confusing, requiring rereading. It took almost ¾ of the book before it actually held my interest, and were it not for the fact that I have liked the author’s writing style in the past, I would not have finished it. Because it was based on incidents that did not, but might have taken place during the very real Serbian/Croatian war, if the author had stayed on message, the book would have been far more interesting and way shorter. In the end, the novel left me with the feeling that nothing would be resolved, although the true facts would be revealed. It was as if the author prepared me for the coming of Book Two!
In brief, the book is about attorney, Bill ten Boom. He is going through a mid-life crisis in his mid fifties. His marriage is over, his children are pretty well grown, and he needs a change. When the opportunity comes to pick up stakes and begin anew, he takes it and heads to The Hague to investigate a possible war crime. It is a crime of great magnitude, concerning the massacre of an entire Roma village. The genocide seems to have been covered up, and is only now being investigated.
The characters are colorful, straying from the mainstream. Some are deceitful and manipulative, some innocent, some savvy and sexy. Some are even sincere. However, all appear to be flawed in some way. Even America does not come away pure as the driven snow in this novel. Some characters are intended by name or action to remind the reader of the real Bosnian conflict and to make some characters resemble real life villains and war criminals like a supposed Serb leader named Laza Kajevic who is easily substituted for the real life Radovan Karadzic. In one of the flights of fancy that the author takes the reader, Boom, whose heritage is Dutch, discovers surprising secrets about his parents’ past during World War II, as he investigates the case. Well researched, the book can be entertaining, and all in all, if the reader sticks to the book, it will be a fairly interesting read.