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The Small Boat of Great Sorrows (Vlado Petric #2)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  293 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Vlado Petric, a former homicide detective in Sarajevo, is now living in exile, and making a meagre living working at a Berlin construction site, when an American investigator for the International War Crimes Tribunal recruits him to return home on a mission. The assignment sounds simple enough. He is to help capture an aging Nazi collaborator who has become a war ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published September 23rd 2003)
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(showing 1-30)
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May 16, 2014 Speesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really excellent book, that might start off slowly and studied and have you wondering where all this is going, but really gets underway in the second two-thirds and makes up for all the ‘what’s this all about then?’ of the first part. It then delivers an exciting, thought-provoking final climax.


It is about one Vlado Petric, a Bosnian ex-Policeman, who escaped from the troubles and is now working on a building site in Berlin. He is found, tracked down and recruited by some Ameri
Aug 07, 2011 Ernest rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vlado Petric, a former detective in Sarajevo, is drawn back into that world via International War Crimes Tribunal investigator Calvin Pine. This is complex not only on a personal emotional level, but as the murky world of politics threatens to interfere, his personal life and history becomes involved and not everyone is telling others the full truth.

This is an intelligent novel, with the author’s knowledge of the area and time clearly evident. It is a deep novel at times, yet unfortunately somet
Feb 20, 2016 Danielle rated it really liked it
I bought this book at a reduced prize some weeks ago just to find out it is a sequel. Luckily it turned out to be a stand-alone story. You don’t need to read the first book ‘Lie in the dark’ in order to understand more about Vlado Petric’s past.

When the reader meets Vlado, a former Bosnian homicide detective in ‘Small boat of great sorrows’ in Berlin, we learn his is in exile and now working at construction site. Luckily for us, he is approached and recruited by Calvin Pine, an American investi
Jay Fromkin
Nov 07, 2011 Jay Fromkin rated it really liked it
Dan Fesperman's The Small Boat of Great Sorrows intertwines the horrors of World War II and the Bosnian war in this suspenseful novel of treachery in wartime and its aftermath.

Vlado Petric is an expatriate Bosnian cop, working on an excavation project in Berlin to support his wife and child. Out of nowhere, Petric is approached by an American investigator for the War Crimes Tribunal with a short-term job and a long-term opportunity: help us arrest a Serb war criminal from World War II, which wil
Jan 29, 2011 Dianne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers, political
An interesting and topical plot.

Vlado Petric, an ex-detective Bosnian refugee from Sarajevo working on a building site in Germany, is approached to help the War-Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. The hunt is on for the Serbian General Andric indicted for the massacres at Srebrenica. But in order to be even handed, it is decided to prosecute a notorious Ustashe guard from the second world war killing camp in Yugoslavia, Jasenovac.

So the two stories intertwine, one from the present the other from WWII,
I like Vlado Petric and was glad to have a chance to check in with him. The story was interesting: he's called in on a war crimes tribunal investigation to help bring in criminals from both WWII and the recently-ended war in Bosnia.

A twist in the story gives Vlado his incentive, but I felt that the resolution to that twist was a bit of a cop-out on Fesperman's part and it would have been more interesting for him to explore the true ramifications of that twist. Otherwise, I enjoyed it and like I
Nov 16, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-crime
I'm planning to read everything that Fesperman has written. He is a wonderful writer. This story follows the life of Vlado Petric,a Bosnian policeman who had to flee Sarajevo in the book Lie in the Dark. This story finds Vlado now working in Berlin at construction sites. An American from the Hague War Crimes Tribunal looks him up and offers him a job tracking down an picking up a Bosnian war criminal hiding out in a small Bosnian village. The story of the Balkans is fascinating and Fesperman is ...more
"[An Englishman's worse,] he reads a few books and thinks he has it worked out, but at least he usually has the good grace to keep it to himself."

"He inhaled deeply, smelling turned earth, the resinous bite of the pines. At times like these the general found it easy to imagine the hills were enchanted, a place where mere farmers and peasants slipped their skins by night to become ogres and knights, gliding into the trees to joust and thrust in secret, writing new chapters in the lore of the forb
Oct 12, 2010 Lila rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I started reading this on my trip to Sarajevo. I had read his earlier book set during the war. This is especially interesting to me now as I can imagine the settings. There is an unusual twist to the plot in that the war crimes being investigated were WWII crimes, not crimes from the more recent conflict.
May 20, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I really enjoy this author - and now having read 3 of his books, they all make you want to learn more about the historical aspect of each book. This book in particular deals with post Balkan genocide and events in WWII. As a former war correspondent (in Berlin during the former Yugoslavia war), you are aware he is writing from his experience.

May 21, 2011 Mady rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, 2011
Hm, no reviews in goodreads on this one...

Planned to read this one in preparation for an upcoming trip. However, had to return it to the library without having finished it (but had already given up on this).
It wasn't very bad, it was just not interesting enough in a period where too much is going on and it's hard for me to focus on a book...
Celia Pastoriza
Feb 25, 2008 Celia Pastoriza rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller-mystery
This book definitely provided me with insight into life in the Balkans, and I enjoyed reading it very much. There were flaws however: a prologue that ends up having nothing to do with the plot, a point of view that only shows up once and then disappears, and a plot that loses some believability the farther afield it goes.
Dec 19, 2010 Jim rated it liked it
Gathering dust on my bookshelf for about three years, I finally turned to this novel wondering if it would match Le Carre, as the blurbs seemed to infer. And it was good, but more in the style of a Robert Harris or a Robert Wilson, leaving me wondering what it was about Le Carre that raised his novel above the ordinary? I couldn't tell you, I just know it when I see it.
Apr 27, 2009 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent tale of intrigue which links the pursuit of WWII war criminals with the pursuit of the same from the more recent Bosnian conflict. The author does a nice job of weaving together the plots and sub-plots into a very interesting story.
Jemera Rone
Jan 15, 2015 Jemera Rone rated it liked it
The enterprising Sarajevo detective is summoned from day labor in Berlin to work for the International Criminal Court which wishes to use him to bait a Serban war criminal. After mamy conflicting relevations about his long-dead father, he strikes gold.
May 05, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
Former detective Vlado Petric left his beloved Balkan home to join his wife and daughterin Germany, but when asked to return to Croatia to help the War Crimes.
Good story set round events of which my knowledge is somewhat hazy. Well worth reading.
Apr 20, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it
Good follow up to Lie in the Dark, with Det Petric returning whilst living in Berlin, I felt this was much more fast paced than 1st book. Will be interesting to see if author writes any more books with Det Petric.
Jan 14, 2009 Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed the first book in this series more than this one. Set in mainly Bosnia and Italy a Bosnian detective is trying to track down a WWII war criminial. Too many coincidences happened to help solve the mystery to be believable. The conversation also seemed awkard at times.
Apr 23, 2016 VRL rated it it was amazing
Dan Fesperman is a fantastic writer! You can see that he is in touch with history and different places of the world. The plot thickens right from the beginning of the book and continues on until it finally resolves in the final chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mike Zickar
Feb 04, 2015 Mike Zickar rated it liked it
Always good to read about former Yugoslavia; this book was great for about the first 2-3rd, and then I felt like the final 3rd just sort of made it through the finish line. Fesperman is an engaging writer who has a real sense for these spy/mystery thrillers. . .
Sep 12, 2015 Adrian rated it liked it
A tad slow in the setup. Looking back, the plot was intricately woven with immense revelations towards a satisfactory conclusion.
Feb 13, 2016 Hadebeer rated it really liked it
Riveting, page turner. Read it in 2 sittings. Can't wait to get my hands on another of Fesperman's books. I think I have a new favourite author.
Ann Tonks
Apr 06, 2016 Ann Tonks rated it really liked it
In the end, a rewarding and fascinating exploration of both character and the politics and history of the Balkans. A good read.
Eric Stone
May 26, 2011 Eric Stone rated it it was amazing
Sort of the follow up to Lie in the Dark. Truly wonderful book, though if I had to go to a desert island with just one of them, it would probably be Lie in the Dark.
Jun 09, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Not my favorite mystery of all time, but I liked the settings (Bosnia, Germany, Italy). Also marks second book in a row that I've read with significant action in an Italian lemon grove.
Kaye Peters
Kaye Peters rated it it was amazing
Jun 13, 2008
Josh rated it really liked it
Nov 17, 2016
Jake Feldman
Jake Feldman rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2009
Lulu rated it it was amazing
May 28, 2011
Sheila Sheehan
Sheila Sheehan rated it liked it
Nov 27, 2014
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Dan Fesperman’s travels as a writer have taken him to thirty countries and three war zones. Lie in the Dark won the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first crime novel, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows won their Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller, and The Prisoner of Guantánamo won the Dashiell Hammett Award from the International Asso ...more
More about Dan Fesperman...

Other Books in the Series

Vlado Petric (2 books)
  • Lie In The Dark

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