testify, brother

Bill ten Boom ("Boom") is at a crossroads in his life. After spending decades as a prosecutor in our beloved Kindle county, putting white collar criminals in jail, he has retired. His children and grown and living lives of their own, giving him a chance to consider his marriage in a different light and deciding it's not for him. Now he is middle-aged, unemployed, unmarried, and wondering what's next in his life. 

And then the phone rings . . .

An old college buddy calls him up and offers him the chance of a lifetime--to go to the Hague and prosecute a case involving a mass murder of Roma refugees in Bosnia from 10 years ago with the International Criminal Court. It's an intriguing offer, at a time when Boom needs more intrigue. He barely has time to pack before he's on a plane to the other side of the world. The case is based on the testimony of one man, the sole survivor of the refugee camp. He claims that soldiers speaking in a language he did not know forced the occupants of his refugee camp to stand in a mine. The soldiers told the 400 Roma refugees that they were being moved and to wait there, trucks would be along in a few minutes to take them to their new camp. As they waited, an explosion caused an avalanche that buried them all alive. 

The mass grave is just a couple of miles away from a NATO base where the U.S. Army still had soldiers. But the relationship that America has with NATO ties Boom's hands in the investigation. And what's more, how did the Americans on that base not know of the mass murder, unless they were somehow involved or at least covering for someone? Boom's investigation of who massacred these refugees, why they were killed, and if his witness if even telling the truth leads Boom down a rocky path filled with political minefields, half-truths from fellow Americans, doubts, lies, car thieves, a disgraced U.S. Army General, organized crime, a brutal genocidal leader, and more questions than answers. And that's not even adding in the very attractive advocate for the survivor and witness who seems to be hiding an agenda of her own. 

Sound complicated? It did to me too. Honestly, I'm intimidated by anything having to do with international politics. But don't worry. Scott Turow's got your back. In Testimony, he walks you through the international intrigue and political relationships like someone explaining a season of The Real Housewives of (insert city of your choice here). He explains things beautifully without talking down to us, and he leads us through it all with a deft hand and the gentle intelligence of a favorite college professor. This novel is an education, but it's also a moving tale of our humanity in all its horror and beauty. Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. It will remind you of the importance of living your best life in every moment. And that is something we all need. 

 

Galleys for Testimony were provided by Grand Central Publishing through NetGalley.com, with many thanks.