A Book Spy Review: ‘Testimony’ By Scott Turow


At fifty-years-old, prosecutor Bill ten Boom leaves behind his life in Illinois and moves to the Hague, where he accepts a position with the International Criminal Court. Specifically, Boom is interested in investigating a case from 2004 that resulted in the massacre of several hundred women and children in Barupra, Bosnia.

According to Ferko Rincic’s account, the events were horrific. One of the only survivors, Ferko testifies that fifteen or twenty armed men herded the women and children into a cave, which was then blown up by the gunmen who rigged the explosives to make the cave crumble inward, trapping and killing everyone inside.

More than a decade after the heinous acts occurred, the International Criminal Court is finally getting around to pursuing charges. Boom wants the case, which pleases the court because they wanted an American to handle the proceedings anyways. Vowing to bring justice to those who murdered the innocent gypsies and children, Boom sets out to find those responsible and make them pay.

Among the potential suspects are the Serbian operatives, jihadists, and the United States Army. Boom follows different leads and eventually connects with a defense attorney named Esma Czarni–which pulls attention away from the case as the plot starts to wander.

As a protagonist, Bill ten Boom is a millionaire searching for meaning in his life. He sets out to take a rewarding, fulfilling job he hopes will provide the purpose he’s looking for that money never seemed to provide. In a nutshell, that formula is clichéd and has been done time and time again.

Blue collar workers, and most people in general, have a hard time relating to rich people who seem unhappy with their abundance of money. To pull that off, the character needs other redeeming qualities for readers to relate to. That’s Turow’s biggest misstep here, as Boom never develops in a way that will make readers care about him. The saving grace is the case itself, because anyone with a heart can be moved by the mass murdering of a town’s women and children.

As the story develops, which takes a while because Turow throws in a lot of misdirection and side plots, he eventually hits his stride. While understanding how to build suspense, the author’s real specialty is bringing the courtroom drama to life. And while there’s not a ton of courtroom scenes in Testimony, the ones that did make the final cut are classic Turow.

While readers might not be quite as moved by the testimony that drove Bill ten Boom to pursue the group of merciless killers, Scott Turow’s latest legal thriller brings enough drama to keep longtime readers satisfied.

Book Details

Author: Scott Turow
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1455553549
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: May 16, 2017 (Order Now!)

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