IN A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS, WHO CAN YOU TRUST?
In the aftermath of a mass shooting in a mosque, small town tensions run high. Clashes between the Muslim community and a local faction of radical white nationalists are escalating, but who would have motive and opportunity to commit such a devastating act of violence?
Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty from Canada’s Community Policing Unit are assigned to this high-profile case and tasked to ensure the extremely volatile situation doesn’t worsen. But when leaked CCTV footage exposes a shocking piece of evidence, both sides of the divide are enraged.
As Khattak and Getty work through a mounting list of suspects, they realise there’s far more going on in this small town than anyone first thought…
I am thrilled to be taking part today in the blog tour for A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I have to say first off that I have not read any of the previous books in the Khattak and Getty series, this is my first book by this particular author. Although there were certain aspects of the book that I probably would have had a deeper understanding of if I had read the previous novels in the series, this works perfectly well as a standalone and not having read the previous books did not impair my enjoyment of this one at all. It just made me want to go back and catch up, in fact.
This book tackles an extremely difficult topic, probably the most controversial one in current affairs at this point in time because it causes such deep divisions in our society, from the bottom to the very top. We are talking about racism, Islamophobia, terrorism, hate crimes and white supremacy. This makes for a very difficult read that shines a light on certain ideas that a lot of us might prefer not to face and asks a lot of questions to which there are no easy answers.
Khattak and Getty are called to a small town in Quebec where there has been a mass shooting in a mosque. Once they start to dig into the crime, they uncover a morass of racial and religious tension bubbling under the surface of the community, which has finally spilled over into violence. There is extreme suspicion and mistrust between various factions in the town, people are keeping secrets and no one knows who they can trust, or who is hiding behind a facade of civility to conceal their hatred and bigotry. Khattak and Getty find themselves acting as part of a police team, and even within law enforcement it becomes obvious that there are elements sympathetic to the perpetrator and who cannot be trusted.
All of this makes for extreme tension and suspicion throughout the book. There are so many different elements involved in the case that it is impossible to keep track of who may be guilty of what and who might be hiding vital information. It is like trying to find the perpetrator in an ever-moving, swirling fog of mistrust and doubt, and every new act, every new piece of evidence stirs up the picture and makes it harder to penetrate. It then becomes obvious that Khattak has become the object of someone’s negative attention and another strand of confusion is added to the investigation – are the police dealing with one case or two?
Amongst all of this confusion and doubt, the one thing that stands strong and true is the relationship between Getty and Khattak. The two have absolute trust and faith in one another at all times, and this shines particularly strongly in an environment where every one else is to be suspected. In addition, Khattak’s identity and faith are relevant to his part in this investigation, and Getty’s complete acceptance and trust of him and his motives provide a sharp and welcome contrast to the situation playing out in the town, and give the reader faith that these people do not represent our society as a whole. They are a central beacon of hope and faith in this story.
The author approaches this subject with candour but sensitivity, and it is obviously a topic that matters greatly to her and she has taken care to do her research. As well as being a wonderful crime thriller, this is a brave and frank exploration of a worrying and unpleasant issue in our society. I found it unsettling, difficult and thought-provoking, taking me a step beyond your run-of-the-mill detective story. Definitely worth picking up.
A Deadly Divide is out now and you can get a copy by following this link.
Do follow the rest of the tour for more reviews and other great content:
About the Author
Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She has practised immigration law and taught human rights law at Northwestern University and York University.
Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine to reflect the lives of young Muslim women.
Her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead, won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. It is followed by The Language of Secrets, Among the Ruins and No Place of Refuge in the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty mystery series.
She is a longtime community activist and writer. Born in Britain, Ausma lived in Canada for many years before recently becoming an American citizen. She lives in Colorado with her husband.
Connect with Ausma:
Facebook: Ausma Zehanat Khan