Goodness, I was not expecting this. Not at all.
What was I expecting? A crime/police procedural/mystery type book.
And yes, this was that. But it was also a lot more.
What is truly amazing is that this is a debut.
Inspector Esa Khattak is the head of Canada’s CPS, Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases, but he’s a former homicide detective and counterintelligence agent. The story opens with him at prayer, which is interrupted by a phone call requesting him to investigate a suspicious death.
It seems simple at first – a man has fallen off a cliff.
But it turns out that this man Christopher Drayton may instead be Drazen Krstic, a war criminal behind the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 in which thousands of Muslims were slaughtered. So of course they have to figure out – was he pushed? Was he murdered? And did it have something to do with his war crimes or does it have something to do with his money-grubbing fiancée?
Rachel Getty, “a strong, square-built, hockey-playing female police officer”, is Khattak’s partner. I like how they are so very different yet are still kindred spirits of sorts, with family problems and other personal issues that plague them.
Khan intersperses all this with testimonies from war crime trials. And she leaves us guessing until the last pages. A truly impressive debut!
Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about.
Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak series
- The Unquiet Dead (2015)
- The Language of Secrets (2016)
- Among the Ruins (2017)
- A Death in Sarajevo (2017) (novella)
- A Dangerous Crossing (forthcoming 2018)Khorasan Archives series
- The Bloodprint (2017)
This is my third read for RIPXII