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.