Two Toronto detectives are handed a politically sensitive case.
Esa Khattak is a second-generation Canadian Muslim who heads the new Community Policing Section, created to deal with delicate cases involving minorities. A call from Tom Paley, chief historian at the Canadian Department of Justice, drops Esa and his partner, Rachel Getty, into the case of Christopher Drayton, who fell, jumped or was pushed off a cliff. They visit Drayton’s famous neighbor, writer Nathan Clare, who is Esa’s lifelong friend. Clare longs to renew a relationship that was destroyed by Esa’s former partner, a siren who bewitched Clare into testifying against Esa in a complaint that almost ended his career. Rachel has secrets of her own. She still lives at home with her abusive ex-cop father and her meek mother in the hope that the beloved brother who left home at 15 will seek her out. The older daughter of Drayton’s fiancee, mercenary Melanie Blessant, hated Drayton and hoped she and her sister could live with their father if her mother remarried. After dozens of letters with horrifying stories of rape and murder are found in Drayton’s safe, Esa admits to Rachel that Drayton is probably Drazen Krstic, a former lieutenant colonel in the Bosnian Serb Army and the instigator of horrific war crimes. Paley wants the story kept quiet until they positively identify Krstic and learn the manner of his death. The scandal of U.N. forces standing by while thousands of Muslim men, women and children were slaughtered is intensified by the possibility that Krstic entered Canada with a fortune in blood money.
Khan’s stunning debut is a poignant, elegantly written mystery laced with complex characters who force readers to join them in dealing with ugly truths.