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Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of The Unquiet Dead, the first mystery in a series featuring detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty, which won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. She has also written a forthcoming fantasy series for Harper Voyager.
A frequent lecturer and commentator, Ausma holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She completed her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of Ottawa, and her B.A. in English Literature & Sociology at the University of Toronto.
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. The magazine was the subject of two documentaries, and hundreds of national and international profiles and interviews, including CNN International, Current TV, and Al Jazeera "Everywoman". Ausma has travelled the Muslim world extensively and frequently writes about ongoing tensions there, as well as the richness and diversity of the Islamic civilization.
Ausma practiced immigration law in Toronto and has taught international human rights law at Northwestern University, as well as human rights and business law at York University. She is a long-time community activist and writer. A British-born Canadian, she currently lives in Colorado with her husband.
Author photo © Athif Khan
The author of the acclaimed mystery The Unquiet Dead delivers her first fantasy novel-the opening installment in a thrilling quartet-a tale of religion, oppression, and political intrigue that radiates with heroism, wonder, and hope. A dark power known as the Talisman has risen in the land. Born of ignorance and persecution, it is led by a man known only as the One-Eyed Preacher. A superstitious patriarchy, cruel and terrifying, the Talisman suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing. But there are those who seek to stop the oppressive spread of the Talisman. A resistance formed of the Companions of Hira - a group of rebels versed in the power of ancient scripture, a magic known as the Claim - believe they have discovered the key to destroying the One-Eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: The Bloodprint.
August 2017 Debut of the Month Provocative and stimulating, this debut crime thriller set in Canada, slams with impact. Two detectives begin an investigation into the death of a man who may have been involved in the Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian war in 1995. Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a PhD in International Human Rights Law with a research specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans, her experience and knowledge sets the tone of the novel as she takes fact and blends in fiction. It did take me a little time to settle into the story, and I appreciated the setting of the background of the Canadian police unit and politics. Each chapter is headed by a compelling, sometimes heartbreaking quotation which is explained in the notes. The story slowly grows and gathers pace, creating an intricate, intriguing moving jigsaw of pieces. The most striking part of the story for me, was when the past began to speak, I found myself flinching and yet I couldn't turn away. ‘The Unquiet Dead’ is quite simply, as fascinating as it is a challenging read. ~ Liz Robinson
From the author of The Unquiet Dead, featured on BBC Radio 4's Woman's HourDetectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are asked to help unlock the secrets of a woman killed during the Bosnian war in this captivating story from acclaimed author Ausma Zehanat Khan.An old friend from Esa's past has reappeared in his life, reaching out to ask Esa for help solving a mystery about the woman he once loved. But before Esa can travel to Sarajevo to help his friend, he and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, must make it through a government inquiry that will not only affect their futures on the police force, but also test the strength of their partnership.Praise for the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series'an outstanding series' - Washington Post'The Unquiet Dead is a powerful and haunting story' - Guardian'Ausma Zehanat Khan is to be applauded for tackling such an important subject in a police procedural' - Daily Express'Compelling and challenging, this is a beautifully written and powerful story of inhumanity and justice' - Leigh Russell, bestselling author of the Detective Geraldine Steel series'A tale of rich complexity... intricately woven, delicately revealed' - Luke McCallin, author of The Ashes of Berlin
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 break is cut short when he's approached by a Canadian government agent in Iran, asking him to look into the death of Canadian-lranian filmmaker Zahra Sobhani. Zahra was murdered at Iran's notorious Evin prison, where she'd been seeking the release of a political prisoner. Khattak quickly finds himself embroiled in Iran's tumultuous politics and under surveillance by the regime, but when the trail leads 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. Historic letters, a connection to the Royal Ontario Museum, and a smuggling operation on the Caspian Sea are just some of the threads Rachel and Khattak begin unraveling, while the list of suspects stretches from Tehran to Toronto. 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 political at all. From the critically acclaimed author of The Unquiet Dead comes another powerful novel exploring the interplay of politics and religion, and the intensely personal ripple effects of one woman's murder.
Detective Esa Khattak heads up Canada's Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases across all levels of law enforcement. Khattak is still under scrutiny for his last case, so he's surprised when INSET, Canada's national security team, calls him in on another politically sensitive issue. For months, INSET has been investigating a local terrorist cell which is planning an attack on New Year's Day. INSET had an informant, Mohsin Dar, undercover inside the cell. But now, just weeks before the attack, Mohsin has been murdered at the group's training camp deep in the woods. INSET wants Khattak to give the appearance of investigating Mohsin's death, and then to bury the lead. They can't risk exposing their operation, or Mohsin's role in it. But Khattak used to know Mohsin, and he knows he can't just let this murder slide. So Khattak sends his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, undercover into the unsuspecting mosque which houses the terrorist cell. As Rachel tentatively reaches out into the unfamiliar world of Islam, and begins developing relationships with the people of the mosque and the terrorist cell within it, the potential reasons for Mohsin's murder only seem to multiply, from the political and ideological to the intensely personal. The Unquiet Dead author Ausma Zehanat Khan once again dazzles with a brilliant mystery woven into a profound and intimate story of humanity.