A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan

When Allison Ziegler at Minotaur Books messaged me to offer an ARC of Ausma Zehanat Khan’s next Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery, I nearly lost my mind. I already had my digital and print copies pre-ordered, but a chance to get my hands on my favorite author’s book early? Yes, please!

As promised, I dropped everything else I was reading and started this one. The prime case that brings our detectives together is a shooting at a mosque in a small town in Quebec. Twelve people are viciously gunned down while at prayer, and a young man is also disfigured. This turns out to be just the latest, and most horrific act of anti-Muslim violence perpetrated in this town. Esa and Rachel must contend with not only the fear in the Muslim community, but also a highly placed leak in the local investigation and the rampant racism.

Khan’s stories are mysteries with a social conscience. The last, A Dangerous Crossing focused on the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and left me angry and wanting to help. Reading A Deadly Divide was even harder. For me, I think this is because I can convince myself that the events in Syria can’t happen “here”, but I live in a country “led” by Trump. I have watched the country I love be torn apart by hate and witnessed white supremacists become more emboldened with each passing day. Not only could the events of A Deadly Divide happen here, they have, and it breaks my heart.

As always, Khan does an excellent job laying out the clues and bringing the reader along on the journey as Esa and Rachel piece things together. The pacing was consistent throughout and the solution was both satisfying and believable. I am crossing my fingers for Rachel’s potential romantic relationship, but the relationship between Esa and Alizah often felt forced or awkward. I would have preferred less of Alizah’s angst. I’m truly terrified by Esa’s stalker. I’m worried about what’s going to happen with that storyline, how it will impact Sehr and Rachel, and I can feel the ulcer forming already.

Overall, I would say Ausma Zehanat Khan has done it again. She’s written a compelling mystery that does what all good books should do: it makes the reader think, question, and feel. I look forward to picking up my print copy in February and mailing out more to friends and family as they catch up on the series.

~ by Rachel on January 27, 2019.

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