Sunday, June 4, 2017

Book: "Testimony" by Scott Turow

I just finished the page-turner "Testimony" by Scott Turow. The lawyer turned writer has been a stellar and steady feeder of law-based thrillers for quite some time and some of his work has been made into feature films. But "Testimony" took me on an unexpected journey and gave me an ending that I did not see coming (although, in retrospect, I probably should have read more into the dialogue and pieced it together).

Bill Ten Boom, a fifty-five year old former prosecutor takes a job at the International Criminal Court - the body charged with prosecuting crimes against humanity - in The Hague and is assigned perhaps the most challenging case of his career: investigate the supposed massacre of 400 Gypsy (Roma) natives in Bosnia towards the end of that country's savage war. The case will take Ten Boom into Bosnia itself and will offer a myriad of essential character including a faithful translator, a mysterious Gypsy attorney with an eyewitness to the crime, a former disgraced Army General, and a former defense contractor now playing both sides of the post-Bosnian conflict. Through the investigation, Ten Boom begins to piece together a cover-up and a real possible motive for the supposed massacre, a secret that, if exposed, would carry grave consequences for the US military.

Turow, yet again, writes with purpose and clarity, laying the proper foundation for a story that unfolds into a surprising ending. He infuses Ten Boom with enough legal savvy and experience to connect the pieces together and gives enough background into the characters to make the story both suspenseful and intriguing (I'm so jealous!).

What I appreciated about Turow's character development was the extent to which Ten Boom talks about his life, in relation to his work (the novel is told in first person). Through the relationships Ten Boom makes with his colleagues, with the women he meets and with the formidable characters he meets along the way, the reader is treated to an accompanying insight into Ten Boom's rationale.

On why he took the job at ICC, Ten Boom says: "I know this much: Justice is good. I accept the value of testimony, of letting the victims be heard. But consequences are essential. People can't believe in civilization without being certain that a society will organize itself to do what it can to make wrongs right.  Allowing the slaughter of four hundred innocents to go unpunished demeans the lives each of us leads. It's that simple."....and so eloquently stated. [June 4, 2017]