The War Reporter: A Novel

  • Review
By – May 19, 2015

Not­ed NBC war cor­re­spon­dent for the Mid­dle East and Tel Aviv bureau chief Mar­tin Fletch­er deliv­ers a thrilling nov­el set in the 1990s, using his lengthy expe­ri­ences as a jour­nal­ist to take read­ers on a touch­ing, stress­ful, and emo­tion­al ride through wartime Bosnia and Ser­bia. The book is action-packed while also explor­ing the com­plex per­son­al rela­tion­ships that devel­op in a volatile war setting.

The main char­ac­ter in this grip­ping nov­el is Tom Layne, a well respect­ed tele­vi­sion jour­nal­ist. Tom is skilled in pre­sent­ing moments of shock­ing real­ism in war-torn coun­tries that make him a high­ly pop­u­lar cor­re­spon­dent. 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. One such sto­ry is about a lit­tle boy who had been sep­a­rat­ed from his moth­er when a bomb explod­ed in a hos­pi­tal. Tom and his team sneak in and out of the hos­pi­tal try­ing to find infor­ma­tion about the child so they could reunite the fam­i­ly. Tragedy befalls the team while they are film­ing the sto­ry. A gang of para­mil­i­tary men were sent to the team’s loca­tion by their leader, Gen­er­al Ratko Mladic, to rough up Tom and his team.

Tom and his team are shak­en. Tom returns to Amer­i­ca and Nina, liv­ing and reliv­ing her night­mare, remains in Ser­bia, try­ing to recon­struct her life. Dur­ing this time, Tom real­izes that Nina is his true love, but Nina is try­ing to move on from the war — and Tom. The sto­ry holds read­ers tit­il­lat­ed in hop­ing that Tom and Nina can heal from the hor­rors they have experienced.

It takes Tom fif­teen years to return to Bosnia and Ser­bia to make a doc­u­men­tary about Gen­er­al Ratko Mladic and his war crimes. 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. Gen­er­al Mladic and his men try to stop Tom and Nina from putting togeth­er the doc­u­men­tary that facil­i­tates the reunion of Tom and Nina. 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.

The War Reporter is a mov­ing nov­el, a crisply writ­ten and believ­able sto­ry of mod­ern-day war and its effect on human rela­tion­ships that keeps read­ers ful­ly engrossed from start to finish.

Ellen, orig­i­nal­ly from Albu­querque, NM, cur­rent­ly resides in New York City. She has been a vol­un­teer teacher at the Rodeph Sholom School and has held var­i­ous vol­un­teer patient sup­port posi­tions at Mount Sinai Hos­pi­tal in NYC. She is an avid read­er and active par­tic­i­pant con­tem­po­rary fic­tion book groups.

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