Have you ever sympathized with the bad guy in a story? That's what happened to me in Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson. I don't think the author intended sympathy for him; it's my make-up and personality that made me identify with the antagonist.
It's not that Otto is likable. It's that he falls into the same sins that I would have been tempted to do. I can just see myself doing exactly what he did, during the war. I'm afraid I'm a coward or more correctly, I'm afraid of being a coward.
Also, I'd also do what Otto did after the war. I'd try to make up for my wrongdoing by doing good works. I just self-identify too closely for comfort.
Once We Were Brothers is a good story. I love the love story between Ben and Hannah. And I like how everything is neatly tied together.
At first I was annoyed at how long it took Ben to get into the story, just like it annoyed Catherine, his attorney. But the author, Ronald H. Balson is an attorney himself, so I guess this is what sometimes happens. Then I got drawn into the tale and then I couldn't put the book down.