She Took My Heart Away*

Ausma Zehanat KhanAs hard as it can be to keep up with my TBR, I richly enjoy ‘meeting’ new-to-me authors. They broaden my perspective as a reader, and they widen the scope of my understanding of crime fiction. What’s not to like? That’s why I’m always pleased to be a part of the New (to Me, Anyway) Authors meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. If you’re not already a fan of Mysteries in Paradise, you will be after one look around the blog. It’s a treasure trove of fine reviews and news about crime fiction.

My choice for this quarter is Canadian author Ausma Zehanat Khan. I admit I’m bending the rules just a bit, because I first ‘met’ her during the first quarter of the year. But still…

Khan was born in Britain, but has lived mostly in Toronto, where she practiced immigration law. She’s got a very strong background in international human rights law, and has taught law courses at York University as well as Northwestern University. She’s also a writer and editor (of Muslim Girl magazine).

Although she is currently working on a fantasy series, I first ‘met’ Khan through her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead. This novel features Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty of the Community Policing Section (CPS) of the Canadian federal government.The Unqiuet Dead

This group’s focus is usually community relations and anti-bigotry. So at first, there seems no reason for Khattak
to be involved in the death of Christopher Drayton, who fell (or jumped, or was pushed) from a cliff at Scarborough (Ontario) Bluffs. But then, it comes out that Drayton may actually have been Dražen Krstić, a notorious war criminal known as the butcher of Srebrenica during the Balkan War. Khattak and Getty have to first determine if Drayton was Krstić, and then determine who might have killed him. This case has lots of political as well as personal implications, and it’s going to be a very delicate matter.

The Language of SecretsIn The Language of Secrets, Khattak is asked to take on an equally challenging task. INSET (Canada’s national security team) has been tracking the movements of a terrorist cell that’s planning an attack. Their mole has been a man named Mohsin Dar. When Dar is killed at the terrorist group’s training area, INSET wants the murder to be only superficially investigated. They can’t risk exposing their undercover operation, so they want Khattak to give the appearance of looking into the matter, but no more than that. But that’s not how Khattak operates. He used to know Mohsin, so he doesn’t want to let this case go. He has Getty go undercover at the unsuspecting mosque that the terrorist cell’s been using as a front, to see if she can discover who actually killed Mohsin and why. And as she soon finds out, there are many possibilities.

Want to know more about Ausma Zehanat Khan? It’s right here.

Want to know more about The Unquiet Dead? Check it out here.

Want to know more about The Language of Secrets? You can find it here.


On Another Note…


My best wishes for a happy Canada Day to all Canadian friends. Please excuse the ruckus down here. What an election year…




*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.


Filed under Ausma Zehanat Khan

15 responses to “She Took My Heart Away*

  1. They both sound terrific. My interest is piqued even more because they’re set in Canada…been meaning to read a crime novel with a Canadian landscape. Wishing you and yours a Happy Independence Day!

    • Thank you, Sue – and to you! And I do recommend Khan’s work. She writes some really interesting characters, and the plots are well-drawn. I think you’d like them.

  2. Strange to switch to fantasy after writing such strong debuts in crime. Too bad for us.

  3. Margot, both novels sound good. I’m particularly taken in by their titles. Thanks for the introduction to Canadian author Ausma Zehanat Khan.

  4. I still have The Unquiet Dead on the TBR, though reviews make me feel it would be too dark for my taste. It does seem a strange jump for her to go towards fantasy, but intriguing. In days of yore, authors used to jump genres more than they do these days, I think, and often if they were good at one genre, they were equally good at others. It’ll be interesting to see how she does…

    • I’ll be interested, too, FictionFan. You make an intriguing point about authors in years gone by, and today’s authors. I don’t have numbers to support the argument, but it makes sense to me. Hmm…..something to think about, for which thanks.

      As to The Unquiet Dead, there’s no doubt it’s not happy, light tale. In fact, parts of it really are dark. But in my humble opinion, it’s got well-developed characters, an interesting plot, and a solid sense of place. If you do decide to take a chance on it, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

  5. Sounds intriguing but dark, and I like the Canadian setting – that always pulls me in. Definitely considering this one.

  6. Col

    A new author I hadn’t heard of before so thanks for the introduction. I’ll probably pass – too much already in the stacks!

    • Oh, I do know that feeling, Col! There will never be enough time for me to read everything I want to read. If you ever do get the chance and have the inclination, I hope you’ll enjoy Khan’s work.

  7. Many thanks Margot, and i do hope that the 4th was a happy one for you & your family 😀

  8. tracybham

    Her books do sound very dark, but I like the Canadian setting. Like Col, I have too many books to read already, but I will definitely put her on a list to try someday.

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