Jennifer Reese
October 03, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Small Boat of Great Sorrows

Current Status
In Season
Dan Fesperman
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B

Vlado Petric, the soulful Sarajevo detective Fesperman introduced in ”Lie in the Dark,” his 1999 debut, is living the downtrodden-emigre life in Berlin at the start of this bumpy thriller. Recruited by the international war crimes tribunal to coax an ancient WWII evildoer from his Bosnian mountain retreat, Vlado heads back to his homeland — where he learns that his own father may have committed unspeakable crimes at a concentration camp. At times, Fesperman struggles to say something ponderous and profound about Balkan history. He’s less interesting — but more fun — when he revs up the hammy keep-’em-guessing plot, littered with hidden treasures, international intrigue, lusty old Croatian thugs, and late-night crypt openings.

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