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A Deadly Divide

In the midst of investigating a mass shooting at a Québécois mosque, Detective Rachel Getty finds herself reflecting on something her partner, Detective Esa Khattak, once said of a previous case: "How quickly the violent ideals of ultra-nationalism led to hate, how quickly hate to blood." Though he's referring to the case central to The Unquiet Dead (the first Ausma Zehanat Khan novel to feature the detective pair), the theme is one that threads through each of the Khattak and Getty mysteries. In earlier books in the series, Khan has explored war crimes, genocide and refugees; in A Deadly Divide, the fifth in the series, she turns her attention to domestic terrorism and anti-Muslim sentiments.

The novel centers on the heartbreaking and devastating story of the mosque shooting, the latest in a string of anti-Islam actions in a small town in Quebec. The subject itself is ripped from the headlines--Khan writes in an author's note about the actual January 2017 shooting--but the similarities to typical news media stop there. A Deadly Divide does not offer a glancing look at hate, used solely as a vehicle by which to move the plot of a novel forward; instead, like Khan's past books, the subject is the starting point for a deeper dive into animosity in its many forms. In a fast-paced and expertly plotted mystery, Khan explores the depths of human complexity and the very human costs of hate. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm