Featured on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour
'Outstanding' – New York Times 'Gripping' – Associated Press 'Powerful' – Publishers Weekly
One man is dead.
But thousands were his victims.
Can a single murder avenge that of many?
Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?
In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.
Winner of the Barry Award, Arthur Ellis Award, and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel
'A powerful and haunting story' - Guardian
'Zehanat Khan is to be applauded for tackling such an important subject in a police procedural' - Daily Express
'A debut to remember and one that even those who eschew the genre will devour in one breathtaking sitting' - LA Times
'Compelling and challenging, this is a beautifully written and powerful story of inhumanity and justice' - Leigh Russell, bestselling author of the DI Geraldine Steel series
'A tale of rich complexity... intricately woven, delicately revealed' - Luke McCallin, author of The Ashes of Berlin
Don't miss the rest of the Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series: The Language of Secrets, A Death in Sarajevo (a novella), Among the Ruins and No Place of Refuge.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Asuma Zehanat Khan’s debut novel—the first in a spine-tingling crime series—is the kind of thriller that stays with you long after the final page. In it, we meet Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak, two Toronto-based detectives charged with investigating the death of Christopher Drayton after his body is discovered at the foot of a cliff. Things grow yet more murky when Drayton’s dark past, including his involvement in the Srebenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims, begins to reveal itself. As the detective duo are drawn into dangerous territory, they face questions of justice as complex as the case they are trying to solve. Part thriller, part historical fiction, the full power of Zehanat Khan’s writing lies in her unflinching examination of Bosnia in the 1990s, told through real-life testimonies and UN reports. A haunting and powerful read.
In Khan's beautiful and powerful first novel, Esa Khattak, a second-generation Canadian Muslim and the head of Toronto's Community Policing Section, and his sergeant, Rachel Getty, investigate the death of Christopher Drayton, who fell from a cliff overlooking Lake Ontario "with no evidence of outside interference." When their inquiries reveal that Drayton was, in fact, the alias for a Serb who oversaw the slaughter of thousands of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, Khattak and Getty have to wonder whether foul play was involved. Through her characters' interactions and passages taken from testimony at war crimes trials, Khan reveals the depths of horror and venality that people are capable of while also portraying the healing of long-sundered relationships. Who killed Drayton remains a mystery until the final pages, but Khan's story, as well as her author and source notes, leave no doubt of the monstrous crimes committed against Muslims in Bosnia while U.N. forces turned away.