A DEADLY DIVIDE by Ausma Zehanat Khan


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A sadly relevant look at the consequences of racism and bigotry.

Esa Khattak and his partner, Sgt. Rachel Getty, are the mainstays of Canada’s Community Policing Department, which deals with hate crimes and terrorism. Their latest case takes them from their Toronto base to a small Quebecois town where someone has just massacred members of the local mosque. Both Rachel and Esa, who is a second-generation Canadian Muslim, are deeply disturbed when they receive a hostile reception from Christian Lemaire, the officer in charge. Prejudice is clearly at work when local priest Father Roy, who was found at the scene with a rifle in his hands, is escorted away, while Amadou Duchon, a young black member of the mosque, is arrested. Scores of reporters, community activists, and the premier’s press liaison descend on the town with their very different agendas. The crimes seem almost to have been committed by two different people. The women were all calmly shot with a handgun in the basement; a violent rage upstairs apparently fueled the deaths and woundings of dozens of men with an assault rifle. Esa, who always gets intensely invested in his cases, becomes even more so because of the involvement of university student Alizah Siddiqui, whose sister’s murder he investigated (A Dangerous Crossing, 2018). Alizah has a campus radio talk show that constantly battles another station intent on stirring up hatred in an area where Francophile sentiment already runs deep. The neo-Nazi Wolf Allegiance is run by Maxime Thibault, an arrogant preppy who has a love-hate relationship with Alizah. Rachel is both attracted to Lemaire and deeply distrustful of him and other police officers she suspects of bigotry. Khan peoples her police procedural with believably nuanced characters to highlight the consequences of hate.

The tension never lets down in this horrifying look at mass murder and the often mundane factors that inspire it.

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-29828-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2019


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