The War Reporter
The War Reporter by Martin Fletcher
Published by Thomas Dunne, St. Martin’s Press.
Tom Layne was a world-class television correspondent until his life collapsed in Sarajevo. Beaten and humiliated, he fell into a hole diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Eleven years later he returns to the Balkans to film a documentary on the man who caused his downfall: Ratko Mladic, Europe’s biggest killer since Hitler, wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity. Mysterious forces which have protected Mladic for a decade, preventing his arrest, swing into action against the journalist. Tom soon falls into a web of Balkan and Washington intrigue and deceit that threatens his life as well as the woman he loves.
Drawing upon his own experiences reporting on the wars in Bosnia and Sarajevo, Martin Fletcher has written a searing love story and a painfully authentic account of a damaged war reporter seeking rehabilitation by chasing down the scoop of a lifetime.
Award-winning NBC News special correspondent Fletcher (Jacob's Oath, 2013, etc.) returns with an action-packed thriller where love and honor save the day.
American journalist Tom Layne may have trained for combat and learned how to stay alive in practice drills, but real-life capture was never on his agenda.
While covering the wars in Bosnia and Serbia, Layne is captured and, after his release, falls prey to post-traumatic stress disorder.
More than a decade later, a reinvigorated Layne returns to the Balkans on a documentary film project.
His mission is to expose the war criminal responsible for destroying innocent lives—and Layne's once-promising love affair with a woman caught in the crossfire.
Fletcher's experience as a reporter adds authenticity to the fictional pursuit of Ratko Mladic, the criminal wanted for genocide by many but hunted by few (and who in real life was arrested in 2011).
Mladic is in hiding and under protection from Serbian fighters. Layne's documentary, however, opens the door for those who are willing to talk and lead the journalist in the right direction. His struggle is not merely physical nor even strictly political.
Layne faces an internal fight as he battles terrible dreams and flashbacks to the nightmare that happened years earlier. This is where Fletcher's best writing comes under the spotlight. While the novel avoids traditional chapter breaks, Layne's journey is mirrored in sections that project action, passion, defeat, confusion, and triumph. On the surface, Layne exudes confidence and self-control in his pursuit of redemption.
In his dreams and in quiet romantic moments, however, he lets his guard down, and his vulnerability demonstrates as much inner conviction as he projects on the outside.
Fletcher is masterful at portraying realistic combat and showcasing the survival skills of working journalists.
A fast-paced thriller that depicts the life-or-death realities of war correspondents.
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