A Muslim Canadian detective’s instinct for trouble follows him to Iran.
Esa Khattak’s roots are in Pakistan, but he’s always been fascinated by Iran, which he’s visiting while on leave from the Community Policing department after killing someone during his last case (Language of Secrets, 2016). While he’s in the imperial capital of Esfahan, he starts receiving cryptic messages and has a feeling he’s being watched. Though he speaks fluent Farsi and has used his Pakistani passport to apply for a visa, someone evidently knows he’s a Canadian policeman. Soon enough he’s approached by both a Canadian agent and a group of young dissidents to look into the government-sponsored death of Canadian-Iranian filmmaker Zahra Sobhani, whose son Max, a famous musician, is desperate to get her body returned to Canada. Questions have been raised about the reason for Zahra’s trip to Iran, where she knew she wouldn’t be welcome once she made a film critical of the tyrannical regime’s human rights record and sought to get her activist stepdaughter released from prison. Back in Canada, Esa’s partner, Rachel Getty, and his dearest friend, author Nathan Clare, follow up leads he sends from Iran. Despite his reluctance to give up his peaceful immersion in the beauties of the country and the fascination of its ancient culture, Esa becomes more and more involved in the dissidents’ cause. At length he discovers that there may have been more than one reason that Zahra returned and was murdered. Now he must take on the persona of a spy to prove his theory and get out of Iran alive.
A lyrically written look into a country many think of as war-torn and bleak reveals many sides to the place and its people.