Author: Glenn Meade
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication Date: August 19th, 2014
After a massacre at a Bosnian prison camp, a young girl is found alone, clutching a diary, so traumatized she can’t even speak. Twenty years later, the last witness to the prison guards' brutal crimes must hunt down those responsible to learn what happened to her family.Twenty years ago, after the fall of Yugoslavia, the world watched in horror as tens of thousands were killed or imprisoned in work camps during an “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia. Carla Lane has little knowledge of what went on halfway around the world when she was a child. She is living a near perfect life in New York City, married and soon to have a family of her own. But when her husband is murdered by a group of Serbian war criminals, strange memories start coming back, and she discovers that she underwent extensive therapy as a girl to suppress her memories. She is given her mother’s diary, which unlocks her childhood memories and reveals that she was, along with her parents and young brother, imprisoned in a war camp outside Sarajevo.As her memories come back, it becomes clear that she is the last witness to a brutal massacre in the prison and that her brother may still be alive. She sets out to find her brother, but first she must hunt down the war criminals responsible for destroying her life. But these killers will stop at nothing to protect their anonymity and their deadly pasts...and are determined to silence the last witness to their crimes.From the talented storyteller who gave us The Second Messiah, The Last Witness serves up another captivating and nail-biting thriller that will keep you holding your breath right to the end.
I'm glad that I have started getting into WW2 era books, there is a history there that we should always remember and try to prevent again from happening. Sadly though, history tends to repeat its self and not only does it repeat, but it becomes worse. Knowing the history of the concentration camps is good to know when diving into The Last Witness, a story that takes place twenty years ago. We were all alive then, unlike seventy years ago for Auschwitz. And it's a good reminder of history with what all is going on in the world today and how it needs to be prevented from happening again.
The Last Witness was a different story then what I'm used to reading, but the change of pace was a good one. This book is a thriller, mystery, and history all mixed together. And it is a fast paced story. Once I hit the last 100 pages, there was no putting this book down.
We follow Carla, mainly through this book. When we are introduced to her, she is just a regular girl, who is happily married to her college sweetheart, who just happens to be one of the best pianist in the world. Instead of basking in the fame, they enjoy the quiet life. Things drastically change suddenly and because of certain circumstances, nightmares start to haunt Carla. With the help of her grandmother and family friend, her history that her mind hid from herself resurfaces.
It is here when we learn about the camps that were set up for the "ethnic cleansing" of her childhood country. The similarities to what the Nazi's did is heartbreaking, no one should ever have to go through that, but these camps upped it a bit in the brutality and humiliation.
Carla, after reliving her past again after having it buried and dealing with the death of her husband, not only wants to seek justice for her family and for those who died at the camp, but she wants to make it personal as well. In all of this, Carla is also determined to find the remains of her family, which makes everything more emotional.
The settings and the characters were presented in a fantastic and very realistic fashion without being hard on the reader. Carla was an interesting character, with everything she went through, I would not have blamed her to have an emotional and psychological melt down, but she didn't she stayed strong and pushed forward. The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way about Carla were a few instances when in communication to others, she would just say, "Explain" or "Tell me" several times. It was a bit repetitive, but in no way took away from the story.
Then there was the ending...I honestly didn't see it coming. With the way the story was presented, I was expecting something else entirely. I honestly don't know how I feel about one character at the end. There is such a jumble of thoughts over this person. It was an interesting turn.
A note to the reader: This story shows the life in one of these prison camps. There are mentions of murder, attempted murder, rape, and beatings. There are also a couple of minor swear words. They all do play a part in the telling of this story. If they were not included, it wouldn't have done justice to the victims.
4 out of 5
About the Author:
His novels to date have been translated into twenty-six languages, and have enjoyed critical and commercial success. Glenn Meade spends some of his free time in the American south.
Thank you to Howard Books, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.