Among the Ruins

On leave from the Canadian Community Policing department, Inspector Esa Khattak has set off for an unlikely vacation destination: Iran. Using his Pakistani passport to gain entrance to the closed-off country, Khattak schedules a few weeks of rest and prayer to recover from stressful events at home. However, when he is approached by a fellow Canadian for assistance tracking down the murderers of a prominent Canadian-Iranian filmmaker, his plans for peace and relaxation are disrupted. Though Khattak has no jurisdiction in Iran--and is in fact risking his life by getting involved--he is sucked into the mystery of the woman's brutal death, aided by long-distance support from his partner back in Canada.

Among the Ruins is the third in Ausma Zehanat Khan's Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak series (those new to the characters will have no trouble following this novel, despite a few references to past stories). Khan (The Language of Secrets) weaves together multiple stories, building from basic political intrigue to a multinational plot involving heists, murders and cover-ups. These capers are kept firmly grounded in Khan's depiction of Iran, a country full of vast contradictions, extreme beauty, rich history and violent human rights violations. "What the world thinks of Iran seems ludicrous when you deal with people in your daily interactions," Khattak is told. It is those very people--and their stories, both beautiful and horrific--that center Among the Ruins, an accomplished, multi-layered mystery from start to finish. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

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