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The Monkey House [Paperback]

John Fullerton
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 13 2004
Rosso is the Detective Inspector trying to find a brutal murderer in the heart of a Balkan city ravaged by war. He has learnt to take each day as it comes, with bullets anddeath around every corner. Luka is crime boss, intent on exploiting the misery of his city's inhabitants while also providing the only means of defence they have left. Tanja is the young woman loved, and set up, by both men and faced with an impossible conflict of. Flett is the foreign reporter, a citizen who hears and sees it all, partially protected by his job, but like the others, sucked in to the mire that is Sarajevo, once an elegant capital, now a battered but defiant place torn apart by a civilisation that has turned on itself.

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Branston Flett is a famous American journalist who comes to wartime Sarajevo with the intent of covering the ethnic conflict. But what he discovers is the netherworld of a city gone mad. A police informant is found drowned in a bathtub of a building that rarely has water. The building is in a Serb enclave detested by the Croats. A Croatian detective with a Serbian wife is suspicious. Meanwhile gunfire, mortar, and artillery ring through the city. People are starving; others are dying. War story, crime thriller, tale of urban decay, The Monkey House is a powerful book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Wartorn Sarajevo provides the setting for this gripping, atmospheric thriller in the tradition of le Carre and Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. Police superintendent Rosso, a Croat and Sarajevo's "top cop," returns home from Zagreb to learn of a recent murder his ill-equipped, understaffed detective squad hasn't even bothered to investigate: of a Serbian dentist?and sometime police informant?found dead in her bathtub. Luka, a dangerous warlord and black marketeer, is Rosso's top suspect, but Rosso's authority is mostly a memory of peacetime, while Luka's troops are active throughout the city. Nor can Rosso expect much help from the citizenry?what is one more murder in a city engulfed by violence and death? Rosso's Serbian wife suggests he drop the matter as she hides in a haze of alcoholism and fear. Their Muslim goddaughter, Tanja?who may be having an affair with Luka?also urges caution. But Rosso must stand against this rampant amorality, for very personal reasons, for his family and for his homeland. Fullerton, a Reuters reporter, steers clear of trying to explain the Bosnian conflict. Instead, he brings it to life through the hardships and dangers his characters accept as daily routine?just as, in this engaging and timely first novel, he dramatizes personal relationships every bit as thorny as the politics that have ravaged a once beautiful land. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fictionalized account Feb. 19 2001
I had my doubts about a detective story being set in wartime Sarajevo, but Fullerton pulled it off with flying colors. He used his experiences as a correspondent during the war to create the setting for this novel about a detective investigating a brutal murder in a city under siege. The story is also loosely based on the Bosnian government's actual crackdown on Sarajevo's warlord militia leaders in late 1993. Fullerton weaves a fantastic story which brilliantly depicts some of the many aspects of wartime Sarajevo: the multiethnic character of the city and the fraying of interethnic tolerance as the war dragged on, the hardship and gruelling monotony of daily life and survival in Sarajevo, the blurring of lines between good and evil as the leaders of Sarajevo's prewar criminal underworld became its chief wartime defenders, the voyeuristic role played by foreign correspondents in the city, etc. All of this is adeptly merged with the story, so "The Monkey House" never falls into extended preachy tracts or historical discourse. Never dull, and never pretty, this is a dark, brooding and harsh novel - and one of the best literary descriptions of Sarajevo under siege. It's only unfoturnate that the book is not available in mass market paperback format in the U.S.
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5.0 out of 5 stars War's Hardship Clearly Portrayed May 26 2000
John Fullerton's excellent book "The Monkey House" clearly describes civilian hardship in Sarajevo during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. The author paints his story in shades of grey -- there are no highlights for civilians during wartime. Finding food and shelter while battling constant fear is exhausting. Decency is subordinated to staying alive, and patriotism is a luxury. Wartime permanently mars survivors. The attitudes survivors learn remain with them, and these attitudes affect survivors for the rest of their lives.
This book describes police superintendent Rosso's investigation of a murder. The murder was ordered by a successful gangster, drug smuggler, and profiteer whose gang acts as wartorn Sarajevo's civilian militia. A subplot describes an American reporter's experiences in Sarajevo, and contrasts the reporter's affluent lifestyle with the lives of those around him. The Bosnian settling is relevant today because UN peacekeeping efforts continue in Bosnia today.
John Fullerton has portrayed war's long-lasting hardship within a clearly written and interesting novel, an impressive accomplishment.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Short on Thrills, Long on Setting April 6 2000
By A. Ross
A small but potent subgenre of thrillers might be termed "The Detective in War"--which showcase police detectives attempting to continue to do their job amidst the trials of war. Here, Croatian police superintendent Rosso has to face the disintegration of his police force, and the city of Sarajevo as he attempts to solve the murder of a police informant. There's really no mystery here, Fullertaon instead delivers a series of set pieces and somewhat stock characters (for example, the brash young American journalist, the beautiful tough girl who plays both sides) which pale next to his excellent description of the daily Serbian shelling and its effect on the city. It's decent enough at that, but a better version of this type of book, with the exact same setting, is Dan Fesperman's "Lie in the Dark."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark & dreary and one fine book April 16 1997
By A Customer
How can a detective operate, or even care about chasing down a crook,while living under the eyes of mindless Serb gunners? What a dark, sinister tale this is. No, I won't tell you the ending but it is tough indeed. John Fullerton gives us a view of a city barely alive, operating on only the rudiments of humanity. His descriptive accounts of the city are crystal clear and chilling: the strange nightclubs, the frightening simplicity of crossing a street observed by snipers, the empty apartment buildings. Is this really where the heroin passes through on its' trail of death? This is a very strange venue for class A detective fiction and worth every penny. Read it
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3.0 out of 5 stars the desperation of life in the war zone Oct. 13 2000
Rosso, an honest cop in wartorn Sarajevo, tries to solve the murder of a police informant. Meanwhile, the Serbs are attacking the city, his detectives are mostly corrupt or stoned, his wife is drinking anything she can get her hands on & his sort-of-adopted daughter is cavorting with a Croat strongman.
Fullerton was a foreign correspondent & covered the war in Bosnia. He vividly portrays the desperation of life in the war zone and the near lawlessness of Sarajevo adds additional tension to a fairly straightforward mystery. GRADE: B-
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