Tuesday 29 January 2019

#BlogTour Among the Ruins by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Among the Ruins by Ausma Zehenat Khan. It's the third book in the Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery series. It's a crime story inspired by true events and history and set to the backdrop of a political powerhouse of a country.

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 address a target audience of young Muslim women, Muslim Girl re-shaped the conversation about Muslim women in North America.

She is a longtime community activist and writer. A British-born Canadian, Ausma currently lives in Colorado with her husband. Among the Ruins is the third Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty mystery following The Unquiet Dead, and The Language of Secrets. It will be followed by No Place of Refuge in 2019.

Follow @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress on Twitter
Visit ausmazehanatkhan.com
Buy Among the Ruins

About the book
Ausma Zehanat Khan’s provocative third mystery is a powerful novel exploring the interplay between politics and religion, and the intensely personal ripple effects of one woman's murder. On leave from Canada's Community Policing department, Esa Khattak is traveling in Iran, reconnecting with his cultural heritage and seeking peace in the country’s beautiful mosques and gardens. But Khattak’s supposed break from work is cut short when he’s approached by a Canadian government agent in Iran, asking him to look into the death of renowned Canadian-Iranian filmmaker Zahra Sobhani.

Zahra was murdered at Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where she’d been seeking the release of a well-known political prisoner. Khattak quickly finds himself embroiled in Iran’s tumultuous politics and under surveillance by the regime, and when the trail leads back to Zahra’s family in Canada, Khattak calls on his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, for help.

Rachel uncovers a conspiracy linked to the Shah of Iran and the decades-old murders of a group of Iran’s most famous dissidents. As Khattak gets caught up in the fate of Iran’s political prisoners, Rachel sees through to the heart of the matter: Zahra’s murder may not have been a political crime at all.

When I read The Language of Secrets, the second in the Khattak and Getty series, I was impressed by Ausma Zehanat Khan's writing and ability to plot. In this third book Khattak plays a very dangerous game of politics in a country known for its lack of understanding when it comes to curious reporters, political activists and people who are brave enough to voice their opinion. They certainly aren't going to sit by idly and watch Esa work his magic.                                                                                  

Detective Esa Khattack finds himself drawn into this dangerous game of oppression and deadly secrets, a game which could cost him his life. I don't think he is ready for where his investigation ultimately leads him when he is asked to look into the death of Zahra Sobhani. Her death and the content of some mysterious letters she got her hands on put Esa right back in the firing line, except in this case he could just as easily end up in front of a firing squad.  

As the author points out in Author's Note the murder of Zahra Sobhani in this book was inspired by the real-life murder of the Canadian-Iranian freelance photographer and photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in July 2003. She was arrested for taking photos outside of and of Evin prison. The prison, located in Tehran, Iran, is known as the primary site since 1972 for housing political prisoners and enemies of the regime. Although the Iranian authorities ruled the death of Kazemi accidental, according to them she died of a stroke during interrogation, the medical examiner reported that she showed signs of being tortured, raped and of severe abdominal bruising.

This author is one who will cement her name in the world of fiction, due to her ability to wield the pen or keyboard and create compelling, introspective and erudite works of fiction. In this particular case her ability to meld fact with fiction, also brings an avenue by which she informs without being confrontational, thereby informing readers instead of repelling them with a sense of vigilantism or social justice warrior.

It's a clever and subtle way to go about it, so kudos to her for calling out Iran for being a murderous autocratic regime, whilst packaging it instead as a regime plagued by a turbulent history in a riveting fictional crime story. It's a crime story inspired by true events and history, and set to the backdrop of a political powerhouse of a country.

Buy Among the Ruins (Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 24 Jan. 2019

Read my review of The Language of Secrets ( Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery #2)
Buy The Unquiet Dead (Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery #1)

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