SECOND OPINION: The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Review published on May 9, 2017.

The Unquiet Dead is a brilliant murder mystery, which interweaves the solving of a crime with the lives of the main characters and the backdrop of the Bosnian War.

The book focuses on the genocide and rape camps at Srebrenica while trying to solve the mystery surrounding a man who has been found dead, Christopher Drayton.

Esa Khattak, head of Canada’s Community Policing Section (CPS) and his partner Sergeant Rachel Getty are tasked with the investigation of what happened to Christopher Drayton. As the investigation progresses, they discover that there is a possibility that Drayton may be the war criminal known as Drazen Krstic.

The book is a brilliantly constructed novel. The chapters swap between being about the main characters, the investigation and the atrocities of Srebrenica. The mystery surrounding the death of Christopher Drayton makes the book a page turner, but the author also hints at problems within the main characters’ lives, which leave you intrigued about them as well. The information revealed about the death, as well as the main characters, makes the book a very compelling read. The manner in which the story unfolds is brilliantly thought through and keeps you guessing and interested throughout the whole novel.

The chapters devoted to the Bosnian war are heartbreaking and detail the devastation of the war, a war which was so recent and that makes it really hit home!

This is a very disturbing period, which is still a raw subject, and it has been incorporated into a novel in a very touching and compassionate manner; it has been handled beautifully.

Each chapter begins with a quote from actual testimonies heard during the War Crimes Tribunal, which are very poignant reminders of the truth and barbarity of the war.

This is a highly recommended read, an elegantly written murder mystery with complex and intriguing characters, based around a haunting period in recent history.

Jo Kirk 5/5

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
No Exit Press 9781843449447 pbk Jul 2017

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