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The Unuiet Dead In this series debut by Ausma Zehanat Khan the reader faces some of the most traumatic storytelling imaginable of a set of recent historical events offset by a Canadian police procedural that does not wane at any point Khan writes with a passion and develops a powerful piece that is as much about Canadian society as many other locations around the world One part of the Toronto Police Service is the Community Relations branch responsible for working with and solving crimes within the city’s numerous minority groups Its elite team is Pakistani born Esa Khattak and city local Rachel Getty Khattak well versed in policing has experience dealing with the minority community which is enriched by being a practicing Muslim He is able to educate Getty while also allowing her to flourish on her own as she has grown up in Toronto and see it change over the years Word comes that Khattak and Getty are to attend the home of Christopher Drayton who is said to have fallen off a cliff outside his home An apparent suicide neither Khattak nor Getty can surmise what brings them here particularly since Drayton is no minority and the fall seems uite straightforward Adding to the mystery there are a number of letters in Drayton’s safe which have been handed over by his somewhat flighty fiancée Each piece of correspondence is uite abrasive and the writer seems keen to express violent tendencies forcing Khattak and Getty to wonder if there is to the life of Drayton than meets the eye Further investigating leads to some troubling leads as well as a handful of potential suspects each with their own views on Drayton While Khattak and Getty both face personal adversity throughout the novel they come to realise that the victim may have a life known to few and a past full of deception Getting to the heart of the matter Khattak cannot help but challenge his superiors to better understand why this case was tossed in his lap It is only then that the full impact of things is realized and the case spirals to new and nefarious levels while echoing at the highest levels of the Canadian Government A brilliant series debut which allows me to see why it received the accolades it did Highly recommended to the reader who can handle heart wrenching topics enveloped in a police investigation as well as those who love procedural novels with a Canadian flavouringIt was a morning scan of Goodreads that brought Ausma Zehanat Khan to my attention and left me scrambling to get my hands on this series This debut opens with an interesting spin and the focus of crime in Toronto left me wondering if it would be another ‘all praise Canada’s self proclaimed best city’ or something I could recommend to others Khan takes Canadian multiculturalism and mixes it with the subjugation of minorities in such a way that the reader cannot help but want to learn The two protagonists come from completely different backgrounds but mesh together so well Esa Khattak is a Muslim who has a great deal of police experience and had witnessed minority disenfranchisement first hand His desire to set things right is only part of his impetus for being on the Community Relations team though he is happy to educate his much younger partner about the ways of the world for those not so well off He struggles with his faith his personal beliefs and his need for facts throughout this novel though is far from rigid in his views on all subjects Rachel Getty’s life has been anything but easy though it differs greatly from that of her partner Getty has seen much in her young life particularly with an abusive father who tried to pigeonhole her in a certain way and a brother who’s gone missing after finding solace in drugs Getty seeks to learn from Khattak but also brings her own perspective to events such that she can be teacher as well as pupil She tries to come to her assigned tasks with an open mind in a city and country that remains fixated on the Anglo Saxon way of living There are a handful of other characters whose depiction adds layers to the story that I cannot put properly into words I will hold back so as not to spoil some of the narrative that weaves its way through the well established chapters but the reader should pay particular attention to those who do not seek the limelight and listen to the story they have to tell The narrative was amazing and I was drawn to the story from the opening pages Twists and turns throughout as well as detailed descriptions of events that many could not even fathom fill the pages of this book Some will run away and call ‘not for me too violent’ though it is something that cannot be hidden and no reader should ostrich themselves The uncomfortable is the only way that Khan can truly tell the tale of of the unuiet dead Those who listen are better off for it in my humble Canadian opinionKudos Madam Khan for such a riveting tale to open this series I cannot wait to see what themes return and which new perspectives you have to offer in the second novelLovehate the review? An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons a different sort of Book Challenge Rounded up from 45 stars This debut is the first in a series that's now five books strong and I'm working my way through the rest The Canadian procedurals center the investigative team of detective Esa Khattak and his assistant Rachel Getty who are often called upon to investigate crimes in the Muslim community of Toronto navigating cultural and political divides to do so I beg you do NOT read the spoiler laden reviews of this book or even the jacket copy I'll just say that the pair is called in to investigate the seemingly accidental death of a wealthy local man and it slowly becomes apparent that this crime's roots go deeper than the detectives could have dreamed I know a lot of Louise Penny fans looking for series with the same flavor This is a good one The Unuiet Dead has moved me emotionally like no other mystery ever has before and is uite possibly one of the best books I've read I will admit to being an historian and the amount of research that Khan invested in this book is staggering The mystery involvess the death of Christopher Drayton Was it accidental murder or even suicide that led Drayto over the Canadian bluffs Even mysterious is the uestion of Drayton's true identity It falls to Detective Rachel Gerry and her boss Esa Khattak to discern the truth What soon becomes apparent no spoiler here is that Drayton is a war criminal from the horrific Bosnian Muslim slaughter of the 1990's This of course greatly widens t h e field of suspectsor does it?Throughout the book Khan has interwoven testimony narratives uranic verses that were included in the documentation presented before the United Nations War Tribunal These accounts are difficult but necessary to read in order to fully understand the book itself For those misguided critics here on Goodreads who claim it is manufactured there is an appendix at the end of the book with all the references clearly marked As an American I had NO idea about this Muslim slaughter just I am sure there are many westerners today who are turning a blind eye toward Palestine Kashmir Burma YemenYes we read mysteries for pleasure and this is definitely deeper than most however I also read for knowledge and with incredible book I absolutely came away far educated than I was before If possible I not only would recommend this book I would make it reuired reading in our high schools FIVE PLUS STARS Everything about the concept of this debut novel intrigued me a disgraced and demoted second generation Canadian Muslim police investigator Khattuck finds himself investigating the suspicious death of a man who turns out to be the Bosnian Serb war criminal Dražen Krstić Krstić had changed his name to Christopher Drayton and had settled into a life of comfort in Toronto The NYT had just such a story leading their 3115 Sunday edition last week so we know it is entirely plausible that Bosnian war criminals have settled into new lucrative lives in the US and Canada lost in the shuffle of refugees from the former YugoslaviaThe author Ausma Zehanat Khan is a British born Canadian with a PhD in international human rights law specializing in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans Khan has an undeniable street cred when detailing the conflict in Yugoslavia and its aftermath Therefore it pains me to say that The Unuiet Dead does not really work as a novel or at least a good novel This will not stop anyone interested in the topic from having a look at this but it may prepare you for a difficult fiction reading experience All the ingredients for a long lived policier are there an interesting and troubled minority investigator and his unlikely sidekick a twenty something white woman called Rachel Her background has the reuisite complexities childhood of poverty abusive father estranged brother crazy mother But somehow the whole doesn’t hang straight Characters lack verisimilitude and dimension; conversation has an invented uality For instance what twenty something police investigator earning a good wage would continue to live with mad parents on the off chance a brother who had left seven years before could only contact her there? I heard Khan’s explanation but it doesn’t work If the boy had wits enough to survive seven years in the wilds of the world he should be able to trace her whereabouts in her home town of Torontouotes of statements from reports letters tribunals witnesses the ur’an head the chapters and are interspersed throughout the parallel story of the investigation and are given fuller explanation in her Notes at the back of the book Some chapters feature long seemingly remembered but I suspect invented passages that bear witness to the events in the torn Yugoslavia The horror of the events there are undeniable I found it difficult to keep my skittering eyes on the page Since we have heard something of these events reference to them alone strikes one with terror and fear Since fiction is suspect in what it reveals perhaps this information would be better presented elsewhere Perhaps Khan thought we wouldn’t be interested if she published a separate book of nonfiction about the events at Srbrenica She raises some very relevant and thought provoking issues was the international arms embargo to the Bosnian territorial units responsible for the horrific intensification of violence because one side had an inability to defend themselves against the side that had the former Yugoslav army matériel? One might make an opposite argument that supplying weapons to one side or the other could intensify the violence of the fighting Another issue she touches upon is the inability of Immigration departments in the West to locate and bring to justice known war criminals and fugitives from justice These are worthy subjects of study and discussion They can fit in a fiction but everything else has to work as wellThe successful writing of fiction is a difficult enterprise What surprised me was not that Khan did not succeed but that she came so close to managing it The ingredients for a brilliant policier are there including an important and relevant subject of investigation She just needed the example of a few classics of the genre to get help with conversation and depth of character development and to trust her readers to have a sense of discomfiture when the word “Bosnia” is mentioned We’ll get the real details of the events in Srbrenica elsewhere if she mentions them tangentially rather than head on I have long mused on the difficulty of bringing real life events by known scholars to the world of fiction One wonders why the authors make the switch If it is because they want to inform us mostly I think they might run into difficulty If it is because they really want to write fiction—important relevant fiction—the endeavor will take all they have and I love important relevant fiction so I am going to encourage them Brava Khan An incredibly powerful novel setting a mystery within the context of the war in the former Yugoslavia – really hitting home about what happened there and creating a group of unforgettable characters This had me in tears an awful lot of the timeI of course am old enough to remember that time but being removed from it watching images on the television that never really got to the heart of the matter you don’t really get how godawful that war was how many lives were lost what went on there Reading “The Unuiet Dead” was an education in that respect a masterclass in how fiction can hit home in ways that reality often cannotAt the same time The Unuiet Dead is an entertaining and well plotted mystery although I never really felt like I was reading a “whodunnit a “who are they” which applied to all the characters including our main protagonists Getty and Khattak Khattak is really the most intriguing creation in this first of the series we have only just scratched the surface which bodes well for the rest Getty is eually intriguing but on different levels – as a duo they were endlessly fascinatingUsing a clever multi layered style of storytelling wherein we find out some hard truths about life on the ground in the former Yugoslavia whilst the war was raging and present time as Khattak and Getty dig into the life and death of the man known as Drayton you are drawn deeper and deeper into some dark dangerous and horrifying realities Every character is finely drawn the author teasing out the detail slowly revealing the heart of them and through that the answers finally emerge Often the narrative takes your breath away the ultimate resolution leaving you melancholy and contemplative – to call this novel thought provoking isn’t really good enough but its all I’ve gotIncredibly emotional ever riveting completely immersive The Unuiet Dead is one of those books I want to make everyone read absorb and appreciateHighly Recommended In this excellent debut novel Ausma Zehanat Khan presents a story with crime old and possibly new; a mystery of identity and possibly murder or was it accident; reminders of genocide as well as the need for and cost of justice; social ills at home and abroad She works with a very bold pen and does it very very well The plotting and characters are well done and eminently believable The prose is eual to her taskIn one example of the beauty and elegance of her prose I've selected a sentence from late in the novel when answers seem hidden from the investigating officers A steely rain slanted against the horizon the lake beyond arranged in little thrusts of chaos against the shadowy outline of the shore the white bone of the Bluffs at a treacherous distance loc 4421Within this sentence are reflected the mental and emotional confusion of everyone involved The elements reflect the characters perfectly at precisely the exact moment Then there are shorter sentences that sing The first fresh sails on his personal ship of joy began to unfurl loc 3931The terrible background to the plot though is the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in the 1990s Does it connect? And if so how? There are excerpts from haunting testimony you won't soon forget used purposefully throughout the novel I highly recommend this book to all who like contemporary mysteries with historical import combined with excellent writing and researchA copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review HOLY COW That was goodFor a full review check out I love to read really smart well written mysteries They can be difficult to find sometimes but when you do it's amazing I would recommend this novel to fans of Tana French as there are similarities between this novel and Tana French's novels in terms of their being intelligent and well written mysteries Complex characters a heartbreaking story high uality writing and great pacing made this one stand out to me I loved every moment of it and can't wait to see what is to come from Ausma Zehanat Khan in the future If it's anything like this I'm in This is a murder mystery in Canada that also explores the tragedies of the Bosnian War There are two investigators Rachel Getty and Esa Kahattak who work in a special division of the Canadian Police that handles minority sensitive cases They are called to what appears to be an accidental death of a Canadian citizen The story runs from there I really didn't have much knowledge of the Bosnian War and the Srebrenica massacre before this novel I found it fascinating AND heartbreaking I felt compelled to do some googling and learn in order to better understand the background That is always something that I love in a book when it sends me to the internet for detailsThis novel is smart well written and just plain GOOD The plot is intricate and well conceived The tension throughout the novel is perfection I cannot recommend this one highly This is definitely one to put on your TBR It comes out 1132015 so make sure you have a reminder in place so you don't miss it NOTE I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review A complex and provocative story of loss redemption and the cost of justice that will linger with readers long after turning the final pageDespite their many differences Detective Rachel Getty trusts her boss Esa Khattak implicitly But she's still uneasy at Khattak's tight lipped secrecy when he asks her to look into Christopher Drayton's death Drayton's apparently accidental fall from a cliff doesn't seem to warrant a police investigation particularly not from Rachel and Khattak's team which handles minority sensitive cases But when she learns that Drayton may have been living under an assumed name Rachel begins to understand why Khattak is tip toeing around this case It soon comes to light that Drayton may have been a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995If that's true any number of people might have had reason to help Drayton to his death and a murder investigation could have far reaching ripples throughout the community But as Rachel and Khattak dig deeper into the life and death of Christopher Drayton every uestion seems to lead only to uestions with no easy answers Had the specters of Srebrenica returned to haunt Drayton at the end or had he been keeping secrets of an entirely different nature Or after all did a man just fall to his death from the BluffsIn her spellbinding debut Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a complex and provocative story of loss redemption and the cost of justice that will linger with readers long after turning the final page After I had finished this book I kept wondering Why? Why did the author use such a totally unlikely detective story to showcase the horrors at Srebrenica? If I gave examples I would be revealing too much of the story but I ask anyone who has read the book to consider how probable this mystery story is To me this lack of verisimilitude took away from the real story which the author wanted to tell the genocide of Muslims in BosniaI also uestion why the author chose to make one of the characters such a common floozy there is no polite way to describe her She could have fit perfectly into some penny novella Was this to add humor to the book? Certainly not given how cruel she was to her daughters and former husband Many in the Muslim world tend to think of Western women as loose so maybe this character was meant to cater to this perception I found that she cheapened the storyMy final uestion concerns why Macmillan did not do a better job of counseling the author and editing the book The book could have been so much better if these flaws had been addressed It is heartening that many reviewers appear to like to book and are thus learning about Srebrenica but I think that the book could have reached a much wider audience if it had been better written and edited

About the Author: Ausma Zehanat Khan

Ausma Zehanat Khan is a British born Canadian living in the United States whose own parents are heirs to a complex story of migration to and from three different continents A former adjunct professor at American and Canadian universities she holds a PhD in International Human Rights Law with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre as the main subject of her dissertation Previously the Editor in Chief

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