At times, the movements of soldiers and civilians in the Bosnia of 2004 become almost too convoluted to follow, but don’t give up. Just when you’re wishing you had jotted down major plot points, a character will deliver a capsule summary of where things stand. Meanwhile, Turow devotees will enjoy the glimpses of stalwarts from previous Kindle County novels ... 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.
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 ... 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 ... 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 ... imperfect and occasionally confusing, but also admirable and important.
It's a compelling story, told with Turow's usual ease, authority and understated humor. But after all these years, he can't escape the shadow of Presumed Innocent — nor, for all the distance his protagonist travels, does he seem to want to. Boom's ill-advised affair with the sexually charged Esma can't help but recall the far more incendiary illicit romance between Rusty Sabich and Carolyn Polhemus. Perhaps if Boom were less straight-laced, the affair would heat up the pages. As it is, it's rather lukewarm in a by-the-numbers kind of way.
Testimony — which, don’t get me wrong, is quite entertaining — sometimes veers into Cialis ad territory. After all, what’s more urgent: middle-age male sexual angst, or the possible massacre of 400 gypsies in a refugee camp after the Bosnian war? ... Dark, unlikely fodder for a summer thriller, perhaps, but Turow’s lively prose and terrific cast of supporting characters makeTestimony one for the beach bag. This is a guy who knows what he’s doing ... Testimony is a fun ride, an odd thing to say about a novel that casts new light on Bosnian war atrocities and sketchy American arms deals, as well as midlife crises among smart (but stupid) white guys. A weird, sometimes eyeball-rolling mix, but it works.
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.
...with Testimony, Turow’s tale stays within the courtroom — but a court of a different sort and setting. Rather than Kindle County (Turow’s thinly disguised Chicago), Testimony unwinds in the Netherlands, at the International Criminal Court in the Hague ... To dig out the truth, ten Boom heads into Bosnia, with a side trip to Kosovo. There he meets some fascinating characters, comes close to losing his life — and learns that nothing about this case will prove simple ... Turow tells his tale in classy fashion, even when he writes about everyday details ...guides readers through a minefield of a plot until everything finally becomes clear. It’s complicated but will hold anybody who ventures in ...one character will surely remind many readers of the real-life David Petraeus.
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 ... 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.
Turow movingly evokes the horrors of the Balkan wars in this gripping thriller that nonetheless falls short of his best work ... Yet another Turow lead suffering a midlife crisis, Ten Boom comes across more as a variation on a theme than as an original character.