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Testimony    by Scott Turow order for
by Scott Turow
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Scott Turow can always be relied upon for a sound legal thriller. In Testimony, he takes lawyer Bill ten Boom to the International Criminal Court, to assess a case of a crime against humanity - in this case Roma (gypsy) refugees from Kosovo. It seems that an entire settlement in Barupra, Bosnia vanished overnight, and a witness, Ferko, claims that four hundred men, women and children were taken by soldiers to the Cave in a nearby mine and blown up. The possibility is raised that the soldiers might have been Americans from a nearby base.

At age fifty, Boom has decided to start his life again, to the consternation of all who know him. He has quit his very successful law career in Kindle County, divorced (fairly amicably) his wife, and is considering 'a year of summer' following the sun around the world. His old law school friend Roger Clewey (now a spook) contacts him and proposes that he accept an opportunity working as a prosecutor for a permanent war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Boom does so, and returns to his dead parents' homeland, where the dark mystery of their past is eventually revealed to him.

But that's not what he's there for. He works with forensic anthropologist Goos, and also with femme fatale Esma Czarni from the European Roma Alliance. The primary contact, and translator, for their witness, she soon makes her romantic interest in Boom very clear - and gradually draws him in, despite his ethical concerns. Boom interviews legendary General Layton Merriwell who was responsible for the army base at the time of the massacre - Merry gives him key information on where to dig deeper. And Boom and Goos, aided by the colorful Attila, investigate in and around Barupra.

Is their witness reliable? What they uncover on the scene is mixed. Then, a serendipitous encounter makes them both a target. The backstory gets even more convoluted as layers of secrets are unpeeled. And, complicating his romantic and professional life further, Boom gets involved with his married landlady, who's a defense lawyer. Of course, he does eventually figure out what happened in the Cave, and learns who has played him all along. As always, this Turow mystery is well worth reading.

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