Dan Fesperman – The Small Boat Of Great Sorrows

Former Bosnian police detective Vlado Petric lives an unsatisfying but peaceful life in Berlin, where he and his family have sought asylum. When Calvin Pine, a prosecutor from the International War Crimes Tribunal, comes to ask for his help in catching a war criminal from the Second World War, Vlado is excited about returning to his own country, but afraid of what he will find there. His fears are justified. Not only does the sting operation go horribly wrong, but he and Pine get caught up in a fifty-year-old web of espionage and deception, involving Vlado’s dead father, and striking right to the heart of his own identity.

Aside from the intricately crafted plot, Dan Fesperman writes beautifully and movingly about the devastation and human cost of war. The characters he has created here are deep and engaging, and leave a lasting impact. The climax may have a little too much of the crime caper to it, but it does at least seal an otherwise rather dark story with an emotionally satisfying (and uplifting) cap. Highly recommended.