Seeking to escape the monotony he had come to endure in his job as assistant District Attorney in San Francisco, Philip Kearney needed a change. His solution came one day in a casual email from a friend: “UN has opening here for an international prosecutor doing war crimes stuff. You should apply, gotta go.”“Here” meant Pristina, Kosovo. And “stuff”—Kearney soon finds out, after landing the job despite his inexperience with international law and inability to speak any foreign languages—meant a harrowing string of investigations involving the most brutal and devastating crimes imaginable.
Abruptly removed from the comforts of home and the order and stability of America’s justice system, Kearny finds himself the sole international prosecutor assigned to a region of nearly one million people. Welcome to the Balkans circa 2001.
Kearney is thrown headlong into a series of historic investigations that quickly land him under the protection of four armed security guards. Armed himself with only the region’s archaic criminal justice code, Kearney is soon prosecuting local street thugs, shutting down a ring of international sex-traffickers, and spearheading an investigation into secret death camps—a case that ultimately implicates prominent local officials and inflames ethnic violence. He developed an urgent passion, stemming from devastating stories of torture, murder, and slavery that dominate Kosovo’s bleak landscape.
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I had no idea.
- J. Rice