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

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  341 Ratings  ·  38 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 profiteer ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 584 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Thorndike Press
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Woody Chandler
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not remember how I got onto this series, but I am glad that I did! I recently read Len Deighton's "XPD", which dealt with WWII echoes down the corridor & the same thing happens in this one, with the WWII goings-on in Yugoslavia dripping into modern-day Italy & the Balkan countries that came into being in the early-to-mid 1990s.

Vlado Petric is recruited from his menial equipment operator job in Berlin to return to Sarajevo to help hunt war criminals, but just as in the first book, h
Eric Stone
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe
Always good to find a new (to me!) historical mystery writer. The Baltimore Sun says " A literary thriller with historical perspective" Set in 1998, this is book #2 and I hope to check out others. This one centered more on war crimes from WWII than the Balkans.
Feb 19, 2014 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
Jul 26, 2011 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
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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,
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting and very different kind of book for me. It was in some ways similar to Jean LeCarre's spy novels, but easier to follow and understand! Set in Bosnia in the last few years, it follows a war crimes tribunal's efforts to capture someone accused of war crimes during WWII. But it was more than that. One of the protagonists is Bosnian and the other is American. The contrast between the two cultures is very evident from the start. I was sad to understand how long war and hatred ...more
Jan 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Mar 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
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 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tad slow in the setup. Looking back, the plot was intricately woven with immense revelations towards a satisfactory conclusion.
Elephant Bookstore
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: max
meh....not terrible, but the point of these books is lost on me.
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good thriller with very slow start, that keeps you turning pages afterwards...
Sequel to Lie in the Dark - great to revist the characters.
Mary G.
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good spy novel thriller.
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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
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Vlado Petric (2 books)
  • Lie In The Dark (Vlado Petric #1)

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