Among the Ruins, (Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak #3) by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Published February 14th 2017 by Minotaur Books
Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: e-ARC from NetGalley
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, but 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. 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. But 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.
It is not easy to try to review a series from the middle so I will mostly just tell you that if you like mysteries and haven’t read these books YOU SHOULD START! Book one of Esa and Rachel’s partnership, The Unquiet Dead, blew me away and The Language of Secrets was a worthy follow-up. Now Esa has found his way into a new mystery while vacationing in Iran and Rachel tries to help as best she can from home in Canada. As they had to work to communicate I found myself uncomfortably tense with worry about what would happen. I was also 9 months pregnant when reading this – I might recommend against combination on reflection. Too much anxiety! We had deeply corrupt government figures, international drama, possibly stolen royal jewels and then family dramas – all wrapped up with murder.
I have of course found myself emotionally caught up by characters in mysteries, even tearful (Flavia de Luce I’m looking at you). But I can’t think of a mystery book or series that gets me so caught up in the real fate of a group of people or nation or really just what the fuck is wrong with humanity sometimes. Khan had me terrified and sad for the plight of prisoners in Iran – so much so I’d never want to go there- and at the same time longing to see the sights she described. Thankfully she started posting pictures on Facebook and saved me the searching time! What a beautifully sad place.
I’m also currently reading Khan’s foray into fantasy, The Bloodprint, and I’m really enjoying it. Definitely getting flashbacks to the setting for Among the Ruins which is cool and different.
Are you reading this series? Any other good mysteries I should pick-up? I think that’s the mood I’m heading into for fall.
Thank you Minotaur Books and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review!