The Unquiet Dead – Ausma Zehanat Khan – #blogtour

The Unquiet Dead Cover

I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for The Unquiet Dead, written by Ausma Zehanat Khan and published by No Exit Press. Also, many thanks to Anne Cater for organising the blog tour.

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


Ausma Zehanat Khan is a British-born Canadian living in the United States, whose own parents are heirs to a complex story of migration to and from three different continents. A former adjunct professor at American and Canadian universities, she holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law, with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre as the main subject of her dissertation. Previously the Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl Magazine, Ausma Zehanat Khan has moved frequently, traveled extensively, and written compulsively. The Unquiet Dead is her first mystery novel featuring Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty. A follow-up is in the works.

MY REVIEW: I would like to thank Ausma Zehanat Khan, No Exit Press and Anne Cater for allowing me the opportunity to read an ARC of The Unquiet Dead prior to taking part and being a stop on the blog tour. I can confirm that I chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and are completely unbiased.

This has got to be one of the most important novels of the decade!!!!!

When Christopher Drayton’s body is found and Detective Esa Khattak and his partner Rachel Getty investigate, it looks at first to be an accidental death, but what follows is an eye opening shocker of a novel that is powerful, outstanding and emotionally draining, not to mention rather painful to read at times.

All throughout the novel I felt I was reading a cleverly written portrayal of the tragic war of Bosnia in the 1990s by use of, in part, real life transcripts of survivors, which I have to say from the outset ripped my heart out due to knowing this all happened and it’s actually a part of history that I don’t know enough about and has now made me want to go and find out.

Overall, The Unquiet Dead is a dark twisted tale holding together a mix of crime, traditional police work and real life accounts that will have you gripped from the beginning and you’ll find it glued to your fingers until you’ve read the final word!

Be warned: don’t expect to forget this novel anytime soon. It’s still with me and I expect it to be for a good while yet, if not, forever!

GUEST POST (written by Ausma Zehanat Khan):
When I was twelve years old, I lived near the Scarborough Bluffs, a series of white cliffs that looms over Lake Ontario in Canada. Sometimes, I’d walk home from school on a path along the Bluffs, watching the whitecaps collect at the tips of the waves, then roll away again. With its sparse, coarse grass and the crisp, cool wind that blew along the path, I’d always thought of the Bluffs as retreat into nature. One day, I was exploring the path with my sister when a couple of boys from my school intercepted us. They told us to give way on the narrow path or they’d drop us over the edge. Though it was clear they were teasing, the encounter remained in my mind, giving me a new way to think of the Bluffs.

I was the kind of child who was addicted to mystery fiction. The year I learned to take more care on the Bluffs was the same year I devoured the entire Sherlock Holmes series. I began to appreciate the extraordinary atmosphere of the Bluffs—how in a heavy storm, the path became dangerous, and the wind could blow up into a gale, nearly lifting you off your feet. What if someone fell from the Bluffs? Or what if someone was pushed? On a windy evening when the thunderclouds massed above, no one looking out of their windows could gather any sense of what was happening on the cliffs. I tucked the idea away in my mind and thought to myself, this would make an excellent setting for a story.

Decades later, as I was considering where the action in The Unquiet Dead should take place, I remembered that chance encounter on the path along the Bluffs, and the idea it had given me. I thought about how central Lake Ontario is to Toronto’s identity as a city. And I remembered the Bluffs rising above the lake—magical, mysterious, shaped by wind and the processes of erosion—familiar yet unknowable, and I had my setting. A man named Christopher Drayton would fall to his death from the Bluffs. Whether it was an accident or a deliberate act delivered by his own hands or others would become the central question of the book.

Since then, I’ve learned that every experience is of use to a writer—things you lock away spring up again in unexpected places, influenced by memory, then re-shaped by imagination. The Bluffs were a bulwark of my childhood. And now they soar again in my book.

If you would like to follow The Unquiet Dead Blog Tour, you can do so at the following dates:
Unquiet Dead Blog Tour Poster

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