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A Dangerous Crossing: A Novel (Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novels) Hardcover – February 13, 2018
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Praise for A Dangerous Crossing:
“Excellent . . . Khan demonstrates a superior ability to inject moving portrayals of the individual faces of an ongoing humanitarian crisis into a suspenseful story line.”―Publishers Weekly (starred)
“A complex global thriller lifted to bar-raising heights by Khan’s thoughtful (and timely) exploration of the tragedies and dangers that refugees face”―Booklist (starred)
“Khan’s doctorate and research in international human relations law give credence to her portrayal of a timely situation . . . This is a series well worth investigating.”―Library Journal
“An exciting read . . . With gripping situations, vivid characters and intense conflicts, Khan creates a thrilling mystery.”―RT BookReviews
“Khan’s latest leads us on a suspenseful hunt for a missing woman and through a perilous and uncertain landscape.”―LitHub
"Khan skillfully sheds light on the very human side of the war in Syria―and the rest of the world's failure to grasp that humanity. A Dangerous Crossing does an excellent job of portraying the situation in Syria in a way that will help readers recognize hard truths. Moreover, it does so while drawing them into the type of carefully woven, multi-layered mystery that has become characteristic of Khan's expert novels."―Shelf Awareness
“Khan is super talented at creating smart and thoughtful detective procedurals that also incorporate important current politics and social issues”―Book Riot
"Zehanat Khan's characters are principled and compassionate, driven to serve the lost, the broken, the betrayed, and her plots explore current global issues with keen insight. The novel presents a highly personal and heartbreakingly profound view of the Syrian refugee crisis."―Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"This Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series gets richer every time out."―Sullivan County Democrat
“A Dangerous Crossing is driven by mystery, but it’s also poignant and complex . . . Khan does not shy from intricate global politics. A Dangerous Crossing is another gripping Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery."―Don’t Need a Diagram
Praise for the Khattak and Getty series:
“An outstanding debut.” New York Times
“Impressive . . . A many-faceted gem.” The Washington Post
“With its thought-provoking, intelligent plot, The Language of Secrets even surpasses Khan’s superb debut, The Unquiet Dead.” Associated Press
“Beautiful and powerful.” Publishers Weekly (starred)
“An involving mystery in a vividly portrayed setting . . . In Khan’s hands, mysteries carry powerful messages.” Booklist
About the Author
AUSMA ZEHANAT KHAN holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law and is a former adjunct law professor. She was Editor-in-Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine targeted to young Muslim women. A British-born Canadian, Khan now lives in Colorado with her husband.
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It is difficult for me to separate feelings about the book from feelings about the events in Syria and the plight of the Syrian people, both as refugees fleeing their homeland and those left behind. Khan has a PhD in International Human Rights Law and you can tell this is something she cares about deeply. Her characters care deeply and as a reader, you can’t help but care, too.
We’re given more insight into the main characters, their personal lives, including budding romance, but at no point does it overwhelm the greater narrative. As always, there are multiple layers of complexity to the story and nothing is as simple as it seems on the surface. I love that. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say have a box of tissues with you while you read, but know that even in the darkness, there is light, and be prepared to be angry enough to need to take action. Find the helpers, as I believe Mr. Rogers said, and join them. That’s my plan.
Given the track record of this compelling duo, it’s no surprise to find them embroiled in the Syrian refugee crisis in the latest entry, A Dangerous Crossing, a story that stretches to Turkey, Greece, The Netherlands, and France.
Inspector Khattak and Sergeant Getty are given the task of finding Audrey, a woman who has vanished from a Greek island. Audrey was working for an NGO, helping to implement Canada’s efforts to resettle Syrian refugees. The missing woman’s brother is a childhood friend of Esa’s. The missing woman is not only implicated in a double murder, but any hint of violence and controversy could take its toll on Canadian political leadership, unless the truth of her disappearance is uncovered.
As with all three previous books, there’s a steady undercurrent of emotions between Khattak and Getty. But to add to the tension here, Khan brings back Sehr Ghilzai, a former prosecutor first introduced in The Language of Secrets, to tempt Khattak out of his devout, often inscrutable shell.
Khattak’s serene Muslim faith gives the entire series a unique flavor. Getty is more carefree, less burdened by the world—but no less dogged or sincere.
After a few set-up scenes in Toronto, we’re off to Athens and eyewitness accounts of the inhumanity, the camps at Kara Tepe on the island of Lesvos and cinematic scenes on cold beaches at night as waves of (literally) huddled masses of refugees wait by campfires, hungry and wondering what’s next. Rachel, ever empathetic and smart enough to know what she doesn’t know, is the one to loan her coat to a shivering little boy.
Rachel’s reactions to what she sees are visceral.
“As she watched at the girls playing in the mud, her despair was overcome by self-contempt. Each person in this camp could likely tell a story more painful than her own … The temperature had dropped and the water was cold, the pristine shoreline marred by detritus on the beach: black flotation devices resembling rubber tires, stacks of orange life jackets, the occasional dinghy that would never float again, odd bits of clothing, mismatched shoes, a single sock.”
Esa, meanwhile, contemplates the tragedy within the context of his faith, the Muslim concept of ummah (community). “It was instinctive to him as a man of his faith to be deeply concerned about the ummah. He thought of the cruelty that characterized the abuse of dissidents in Iran. He knew the situation in Syria was worse on a scale that defied imagination—of a nature to wring tears from a statue of the Madonna.”
How can Esa reconcile what it feels like to be proud of his faith, proud of his beliefs, proud of his heritage—and know that many horrors were being meted out in the name of the same community?
How can Esa justify the well-funded search for one privileged Canadian, a woman with connections and resources, when so many souls are being set adrift, instantly homeless, into a cruel world?
Esa’s struggles are internal—and he keeps them, for the most part, to himself. “These were scales Esa had been weighing all his life, an actuary of the dead and disposable.” (What a great line.)
The story is driven by the puzzle of deciphering Audrey’s last communications with her brother—and her actions. Why had Audrey risked a trip to the Turkey-Syria border? Why had she taken two children with her?
All around them as they work are the vast sea of needy refugees and the many ways they can be exploited. Khattak and Getty’s work shows how nations find a way to justify dusting their hands as if nothing is going on. There is, as Esa notes, plenty of blame to go around.
A Dangerous Crossing is driven by mystery, but it’s also poignant and complex. As her team bounces from country to country, digging into documents and confronting power, Khan does not shy from intricate global politics. A Dangerous Crossing is another gripping Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty Mystery brewed from the depths of mankind’s capacity for brutal inhumanity to others.
Most recent customer reviews
I am only halfway through and stopped to write this review.
As much as The Unquiet Dead was haunting and heartbreaking in taking us to...Read more
Thanks to NetGalley, Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press and the author for sending me this ARC ebook. I found the the story to be absorbing and depressing.Read more