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on 18 September 2003
This is one of the best anti-war books - and crime novels - I've read. A lone policeman insists on investigating the murder of a young woman - although murders are happening every day in Sarajevo at the hands of the Serb nationalists surrounding the city. This is a heart-rending story of conscience, a man's love for his fellow man, for his alcoholic wife, for his city, for a young woman. A wonderful war story.
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on 20 July 2004
This excellent story transcends the bounds of "thriller" and goes into deeper territory where morality, honour, truth and duty all come under scrutiny. Apparently written using incidents culled from the author's own experiences while a Reuters correspondent and put on paper as a sort of catharsis, the tautness of the storyline and the evocative writing elevate The Monkey House to the front-rank. It reminded me strongly of of (long-forgotten) Geoffrey Household in its intensity of evocation of atmosphere and the best of Le Carre in plotting.
The basic tenet of the story is very simple: how does an honourable man cope when the world descends into madness around him? and what does that honourable man do if he is a policeman investigating murders when almost everyone else in his whole world is busily engaged in the legitimated murder of civil warfare?
John Fullerton has written an exceptional book with a story based in one of the nastiest of modern conflicts but drawing out a timeless morality of the Good Man.
This book was published three years before Dan Fesperman's much-lauded "Lie in the Dark" and deals with much the same themes -- but in superior writing, to my mind
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on 28 June 2004
This excellent story transcends the bounds of "thriller" and goes into deeper territory where morality, honour, truth and duty all come under scrutiny. Apparently written using incidents culled from the author's own experiences while a Reuters correspondent and put on paper as a sort of catharsis, the tautness of the storyline and the evocative writing elevate The Monkey House to the front-rank. It reminded me strongly of of (long-forgotten) Geoffrey Household in its intensity of evocation of atmosphere and the best of Le Carre in plotting.
The basic tenet of the story is very simple: how does an honourable man cope when the world descends into madness around him? and what does that honourable man do if he is a policeman investigating murders when almost everyone else in his whole world is busily engaged in the legitimated murder of civil warfare?
John Fullerton has written an exceptional book with a story based in one of the nastiest of modern conflicts but drawing out a timeless morality of the Good Man.
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on 4 July 2015
I picked this book up in a charity shop and I've been stunned by how good it is, I can't understand why this hasn't been made into a film .
Set in the 1990s in war torn Sarejevo a detective is investigating a murder in a city where death is ever present.
We think we are the good guys and they are the bad guys it's easier to make sense of events, the truth in war is messier and this story has good things done by bad people and visa versa
I urge you to read this book you won't regret it but you will wonder why there hasn't been a follow up
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on 16 August 2007
Rosso reminded me of Martin Cruz Smith's detective, Arkady Renko. A decent, stubborn detective determined to do the right thing, against all the odds. But this is far more than a thriller. It is very much a novel as well covering other themes. Like all his novels, this is very evocative of the setting. The author seems to cover the same territory as Gerald Seymour i.e. The Balkans; Afghanistan etc and his stories are almost just as grim.
I've read this book several times.
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on 28 June 2004
This excellent story transcends the bounds of "thriller" and goes into deeper territory where morality, honour, truth and duty all come under scrutiny. Apparently written using incidents culled from the author's own experiences while a Reuters correspondent and put on paper as a sort of catharsis, the tautness of the storyline and the evocative writing elevate The Monkey House to the front-rank. It reminded me strongly of of (long-forgotten) Geoffrey Household in its intensity of evocation of atmosphere and the best of Le Carre in plotting.
The basic tenet of the story is very simple: how does an honourable man cope when the world descends into madness around him? and what does that honourable man do if he is a policeman investigating murders when almost everyone else in his whole world is busily engaged in the legitimated murder of civil warfare?
John Fullerton has written an exceptional book with a story based in one of the nastiest of modern conflicts but drawing out a timeless morality of the Good Man.
This book was published three years before Dan Fesperman's much-lauded "Lie in the Dark" and deals with much the same themes -- but in superior writing, to my mind
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on 20 October 2015
Intelligent and well written story painting a very vivid picture of war-torn Sarajevo, - if you are looking for a pure thriller this may disappoint but as a war novel its very good indeed.
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on 11 July 2003
Gritty, realistic...this is the Afghanistan and the Afghans the way they really are. A fast, well-written thriller with loads of action and some nasty surprises. But under the escapism, there is a strong moral/political message. This gets a rare five stars.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 October 2009
Fullerton's thriller takes us to the theatre of war in Sarajevo, bombarded daily and nightly by the Serbs. The people of Sarajevo include Bosnians, Bosnian Serbs, Croatians and Moslems (as they are called throughout this book). People are starving, people are dying. Rosso is a Superintendent of police and, it seems, one of a small band of cops still operating in amongst the battered and beleaguered populace of this once beautiful city.

A Moslem officer passes Rosso a screwed-up piece of paper giving bare details of a corpse to be found in a block of flats, known locally as The Monkey House. It is known that the block houses a large number of Serbs and it is noted that this block amongst all its neighbours remains largely intact under the bombardment. The corpse turns out to be a female dentist, but before he can recover the body, Rosso has to get past the militia of a local crime-lord who are not allowing anyone inside. By the time he does get in, the body has gone, but one crucial witness to the murder remains.

The writing style is terse, direct, factual, the characterisation minimalistic and tending towards the clichéd. There's an unprepossessing villain, an alcoholic wife, a good-time girl, a crazy American journalist, etc. It is quite cinematic and fleshed out by good actors this might make an exciting movie. Judging the book, however, I was disappointed. The things that make a thriller thrilling are all there, but somehow they fail to ignite beyond the fizzing blue touch-paper of the setting.
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on 29 January 2015
Great story
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