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4.4 out of 5 stars42
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 November 2003
A gripping and interesting story set in the harsh reality that is the former Yugoslavia. Stephen has a great ability to describe scenes and events in detail, so much so that you can easily visualise the characters and surrounding with all their imperfections and characteristics. It would seem a great deal of research went into this, which is all to his credit.
There is a brief synopsis above, so the story outline is already explained. A good story which is well written and made more enjoyable by the many twists and turns and the unexpected ending. If you like the thriller genre, then you should spend the time to read �Eyewitness�.
I would think this would make an excellent film.
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on 7 March 2003
I have enjoyed all of the Leather books. This one again did not disappoint. A very quick read. Also very informative about the worlds of prostitution and human trading, not things I usually read about.
This book has great characters, and a fast paced story, that keeps you guessing til the end. Definitely worth reading.
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"... (Solomon) reckoned that sitting in a car with an Albanian pimp, his bodyguard and two heavily armed Croatian thugs on he way to a shoot-out in a Bosnian brothel would make anyone nervous."
Such is the approaching moment of truth for Jack Solomon, an investigator employed with the International War-dead Commission in the Balkans. Jack's job is to coordinate the identification by DNA of the bodies of civilians killed in the ethnic cleansing atrocities in Kosovo and Bosnia, and then notify surviving family members. Jack's latest case involves twenty-six Bosnian Muslims - men, women and children from the same extended family - found locked in the back of a refrigerator truck at the bottom of a lake. Death had been by suffocation some three years previous. But the chill of the lake had preserved the bodies perfectly, and Solomon takes the presence among the dead of an eighteen-month old girl, still clutching her teddy bear, hard. Further investigation indicates that one member of the clan survived, sixteen-year old Nicoletta. Jack's self-imposed mission is to track her down so she can testify before the War Crimes Tribunal. But the girl has run, apparently disappearing into the dark world of indentured prostitution. After Jack runs afoul of one of the region's most vicious and powerful criminal bosses, his boss sends him back to the safety of London, where, as chance would have it, Nicoletta is now an escort agency hooker.
THE EYEWITNESS is a fascinating look at the callous, and sometimes appallingly vicious, business of international trafficking in prostitutes. Author Stephen Leather's description of the London sex-for-money scene, from the girls working out of the traditional Soho walk-ups to the burgeoning Web-based outcall/incall enterprises, is comprehensive. Research in depth, I'd say.
While Solomon is undeniably the Good Guy in this thriller, and there are also Bad Guys depraved enough to make your skin crawl, perhaps some of the most interesting characters are those falling somewhere in between in the most unexpected ways. Indeed, there's a plot twist at the end that was completely unexpected.
In the Acknowledgements, Leather thanks working girls "Angela, Francesca, Jessica, Kim and Sophie" for their insights into the flesh trade. Perhaps it's from them that one of the author's characters, Inga, leaves us the message:
"I chose this life. I wasn't forced into it ... We do what we must to survive ... and we make the best of it." I think that those words could come from any of us, especially from myself as I drive into the 9 to 5 that I sometimes abhor.
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on 3 November 2007
A great read that covers an eyewitness from crimes in Bosnia who ends up in the flesh trade in London. We have a host of strong characters from the Serb gang leaders to Maltese and Russian pimps in London persecuted by Jack Solomon, an ex-cop now turned UN war crime volunteer aidworker. The story comes with Leathers' trade mark doses of action, and the sad prostitution cases are dealt with a balance showing the extent of extortion and anguish the girls go through, as well as their grim acceptance of a desperate escape from poverty. A great read with a Deaver style ending that you won't see coming!
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on 11 June 2008
This is only the second Stephen Leather book that I have read and it is a big improvement on the last one (Pay Off - which was his debut). Shady characters with questionable motives and morals help Jack Solomon in his search for the only witness to an atrocity in the former Yugoslavia. Blistering pace, rip-roaring action scenes, excellent characters and detailed seedy settings all add up to an excellent thriller. Highly recommended.
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on 22 July 2003
Without hesitation or care for delicate sensibilities, Stephen leather gives the reader a view of the darker side of human existence. From mass graves and torture to the seedy world or near slavery that is the reality of large city prostitution, Leather weaves a path of intrigue and suspense.
The ending is disappointingly predictable but this did not lessen my enjoyment.
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on 3 May 2012
This is a dark journey which explores war, ethnic cleansing, atrocities, people trafficing and prostitution. In fact it quickly becomes clear through this novel that they are often linked. Atrocities create orphans, orphans need jobs, pimps prey on orphans to turn them into prostitutes and they are trafficed around europe illegally as "language students" to get the best price.

It is a gruesome and viceral journey, graphic in many cases, which I wasnt expecting. I did not give it 5 only because I wasn't sure that I wanted to go where the journey led but there was plenty of food for thought along the way.

It dovetails nicely with the evidence of the UK's disasterous "no border control at all" of successive governments which has allowed foreign criminals to set up huge vice empires in our country.

A strong stomach is needed.
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on 17 December 2012
I loved it but no surprises there as I am staunch Stephen Leather fan. I can honestly say that he is one of the 2 favourite writers I have never felt dissapointed with and I have read most of his books (bar the erotic ones, not my scene!).

In this one the main character is obsessed with justice after seeing harrowing remains of a whole family including children from the same family murdered in such a grotesque way, from what he thought was ethnic cleansing. He persued justice to the point of being sacked from his job, shot and beaten black and blue by all kinds of unsavoury individuals.

Leather painted the picture of the prostitution trade and trafficking from eastern europe beautifully. I can tell you that after reading this one, I can never judge those beautiful girls I now see carrying on the old profession.
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on 19 September 2013
This book was sent quickly as promised. As always Stephen Leather does not let you down. Every book is completely different and a joy to read. The only trouble is I read them too quickly!
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on 8 March 2014
I'm a big Stephen Leather fan and this book started off really well, so I was initially pleased with my purchase. However, the plot got increasingly implausible, with the "hero" putting himself into ridiculously dangerous situations, which as an ex-cop he surely would have known better than getting into. He walked straight into traps, got increasingly obsessed with pursuing something which was obviously going to put him in great danger, and then - very fortunately (and again fairly implausibly) befriended one of the gangsters who was able to get him out of trouble on more than one occasion... This book started so promisingly, and could have been so much better as I found the background of the situation after the Yugoslavian conflicts fascinating. There were too many graphic descriptions of both violence and sex (mostly in relation to prostitutes, so therefore the sex was also pretty violent). I realise that sometimes such writing is integral to the plot, but this time I felt it was overdone. I think that despite its recent appearance on Audible, this is probably one of his earlier books and I have to say that his work has improved greatly with experience... In my opinion, this is definitely not one of his best.
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