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by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Minotaur, February 2018
352 pages
ISBN: 1250096766

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a doctorate in the theme of her mystery series - international human rights law. So far this excellent series has taken readers into the painful history of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, among radical Islamists in Canada, and into the lives of dissidents in Iran. In the fourth entry in the series, we travel with her detectives, Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty, from Canada to Greece in search of a woman who has vanished from a refugee camp under suspicious circumstances.

Audrey Clare runs an NGO assisting women refugees with funds from a family fortune controlled by her brother Nathan, a close friend of Khattak and Getty. Greek authorities and Interpol are also looking for her, given two people an Interpol agent and a young Syrian refugee were found in her tent, shot dead with the gun Nathan had given her for self-protection. As Khattak and Getty try to reconstruct Audrey's last travels, they follow a confusing trail leading to Brussels and the Netherlands as well as to a heavily-guarded refugee camp in Turkey near the Syrian border. They also need to find out why she fought so hard to gain asylum status for the murdered Syrian boy whose relatives in Canada, refugees themselves, deny knowing.

This series, remarkable for its intelligent and sensitive use of stories that could be ripped from the headlines if we were paying attention, turns human rights issues into compelling fiction. Though this entry has some minor flaws it's slow to start and the fraught interpersonal relationships aren't nearly as interesting as the investigation readers will gain a vivid sense of the human experience of the refugee crisis and the violent circumstances that send people fleeing the home they love. Khan is not one to provide simple answers, but she does a wonderful job of finding humanity in world events and bringing it to life on the page.

Barbara Fister is an academic librarian, columnist, and author of the Anni Koskinen mystery series.

Reviewed by Barbara Fister, January 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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