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Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Whistleblower

The Whistleblower by Kathryn Bolkovac with Cari Lynn
Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice

This is the true life story of a Lincoln, Nebraska police officer turned International Human Rights Investigator. Looking for a change, Bolkovac, enticed by the high Dynocorp salaries, made the decision to apply for a job oversees. She soon discovered Dynocorp was inundated with unqualified candidates and that landing a job would be easy. Bolkovac traveled to Bosnia and began a journey that would soon lead her to discover a cover up of massive proportions.

Bolkovac discovers her employer, Dynocorp, is covering up the involvement of its own employees and contractors in the Bosnian sex trade industry. Their involvement ranges from the taking bribes to look the other way to the actually purchasing and resale of the young women. When Bolkovac discovers the wrong doing and reports it she was fired under false pretenses.

Bolkovac is a very courageous woman and there is no doubt she helped many foreign women who were victims of sex trafficking. However, this book is so structurally flawed, that it renders the text boring and practically unreadable. The tale is told in a strictly linear fashion that reads like a police deposition and lacks any kind of story-like quality. There is a lot of extraneous information inserted into the text that adds nothing to the story, while the most interesting side story, Bolkovac’s relationship with Jan, is totally glazed over (but I imagine it was very romantic). Perhaps the movie being made of this tale will be better.

About the Author
Bolkovac is a former police investigator from Nebraska that served as an International Police Task Force investigator in Bosnia. She divides her time between Licoln, NE and Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Where the mysterious Jan lives…)
Lynn is the author of three books of narrative non-fiction and has written for numerous magazines and newspapers including O, Health, Good Housekeeping and the Chicago Tribune. She live in LA, California.

Read-a-Likes (or alternatives to try)
The Natashas: inside the new global sex trade by Victor Malarek

Sex trafficking: inside the business of modern slavery by Siddharth Kara

The Franklin scandal: a story of powerbrokers, child abuse and betrayal by Nick Bryant

Friday, May 6, 2011

Three Junes

This first novel, written by Julia Glass, focuses on relationships and the joys and heartaches that they bring. The book features the McLeods, a Scottish family, and includes father Paul, mother Maureen, and sons Fenno, David and Dennis. In three sections of the book, and using flashbacks, we experience their lives in Scotland, Greece and the United States during three points of time in the 1980s and 1990s. The author sensitively portrays the attributes and foibles of the characters, all family members, friends and lovers of one another. Three of them are serendipitously linked: father/widower Paul meets and is attracted to the young American artist Fern while on a Greek cruise; six years later at the occasion of Paul’s death we observe the adventures of eldest son Fenno, a straight-laced homosexual expatriate who owns a bookstore in New York; finally four years later Fern and Fenno become acquainted while visiting with friends in the Hamptons.

Descriptive language allows the reader to visualize the settings as though they are works of art and the plot moves smoothly back and forth through time. This is a worthwhile book to read.