The Guise of Another
Allen Eskens
(Seventh Street Books)
Minneapolis police detective Alexander Rupert feels that his life is falling apart. His marriage is failing, he's been transferred to the fraud department, and he's the subject of an internal affairs investigation on corruption in the Narcotics department. So when he's asked to look into the false identity of a car-accident victim named James Putnam, a man who supposedly died fifteen years earlier, Rupert sees a potentially big case and an opportunity to redeem himself.

His brother Max, also a detective, tries to help and encourages him in the investigation. With the help of a smart New York police detective, Alexander begins to unravel the mysteries of the case and identifies the original Putnam as the man who faked his death 15 years earlier in a boat accident off Coney Island. But it might not have been an accident.

His problems with the Department aren't improved as Rupert finds himself increasingly attracted to Putnam's former live-in girlfriend, a temptress who isn't shy about displaying her considerable charms.

The investigation puts Alexander in the sights of Drago Basta, a coldblooded veteran of the Balkan wars and a sociopath assassin who has been searching for Putnam for years. Putnam had something that Basta still wants, a flash drive that contains proof of corporate corruption and murder which Alexander hopes to use to restore his ruined reputation.

The story moves at a brisk pace that kept me turning the pages until the homestretch where it breaks into a full gallop while serving up several totally unexpected plot twists that make it all worthwhile.

The War Reporter
A Novel
Martin Fletcher
(Thomas Dunne Books)
Tom Layne is a well respected television journalist, skilled in presenting the shocking reality of war-torn countries. His team includes Nick, a young, sharp cameraman, and a brilliant interpreter named Nina. The trio works together in reporting on everything from fighting and bombing to heartfelt human-interest stories.

Tragedy befalls the team when a gang of paramilitary thugs sent by their leader, General Ratko Mladic, capture and beat Tom and his team. Tom returns to America shaken and humiliated, he falls into a deep depression, diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Nina, living and reliving her nightmare, remains in Serbia, trying to reconstruct her life.

Eleven years later he returns to the Balkans to film a documentary on the man who caused his downfall: Ratko Mladic, Europe's most notorious killer since Hitler, wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity. He convinces Nina to collaborate on the documentary. The war had left the people of Bosnia and Serbia shaken, poor and fearful of the commander of the Bosnian Serb army, the patron of rape, murder, and torture

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, but once Tom and Nina start putting together the documentary --- interviewing war victims, editing footage --- they become part of each other's lives, and the healing begins.

Martin Fletcher, a highly respected television news correspondents who spent nearly 30 years with NBC News, 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.

--- Warren Sharpe
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