The Unquiet Dead: A Novel (Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novels #1) (Hardcover)
January 2015 Indie Next List
“This is part page-turning murder mystery with complex characters and part heartbreaking story of the Bosnian war that explores the themes of loss and the cost of justice. Rachel Getty and Esa Kahattak work in a special division of the Canadian police that handles minority-sensitive cases. They get called in on a case that looks like someone fell off the bluffs in an unfortunate accident, but rumors are that the victim isn't an 'average Joe' at all, but a Bosnian war criminal using an assumed identity. As Esa and Rachel begin to investigate, they find that nothing is really as clear-cut as it seems. This is a brilliant debut, and I can't wait to see more from this talented author.”
— Amanda Skelton, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN
“Khan is a refreshing original, and The Unquiet Dead blazes what one hopes will be a new path guided by the author's keen understanding of the intersection of faith and core Muslim values, complex human nature and evil done by seemingly ordinary people. It is these qualities that make this a debut to remember and one that even those who eschew the [mystery] genre will devour in one breathtaking sitting.” —The LA Times
Despite 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 1995.
If 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 question seems to lead only to more questions, 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 Bluffs?
In 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.
About the Author
AUSMA ZEHANAT KHAN holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She has practiced immigration law and taught human rights law at Northwestern University and York University. She is the former Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine targeted to young Muslim women. Khan currently lives in Colorado with her husband. The Unquiet Dead is her first novel.
“Gripping…An intelligent plot and graceful writing make The Unquiet Dead an outstanding debut that is not easily forgotten.” —Associated Press
“This is Canadian-born Khan's first novel and what a debut it is!...Khan knows her subject, knows her hometown, and knows how to keep the suspense building. This is a writer to watch.” —The Globe and Mail
“Beautiful and powerful.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Khan's stunning debut is a poignant, elegantly written mystery laced with complex characters.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Compelling and hauntingly powerful…anyone looking for an intensely memorable mystery should put this book at the top of their list.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“A spectacular debut. Khan has written a heartbreaking book that stays with you long after you've put it down.” —REZA ASLAN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot
“What a debut! Ausma Khan's The Unquiet Dead is a stirring mystery with unexpected, complex characters and a story that will keep you flipping pages until the wee hours.” —JILLIANE HOFFMAN, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Things
“Evocative, surprising, and important. With its mesmerizingly personal voice, each lyrical sentence reveals another suspenseful layer of this complex and heartbreaking mystery. Harrowing and disturbing, its delicate strength creates tension on every page.” —HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, Agatha, and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of The Other Woman
“It would be enough that Ausma Zehanat Khan's The Unquiet Dead gives us an intriguing new detective team in Esa Khattak and Sgt. Rachel Getty. But it does far more than that. Khan creates an engrossing story that allows her to sift through the emotional rubble of real-world tragedy. In the end, it isn't just gripping. It's devastating.” —STEVE HOCKENSMITH, Edgar-nominated author of Holmes on the Range