Blackwater Falls

Ausma Zehanat Khan (A Deadly Divide; A Dangerous Crossing; Among the Ruins) presents a suburban thriller--in which she showcases a knack for blending Muslim culture with a fascinating crime--set in the fictional town of Blackwater Falls, just outside of Denver, Colo. Blackwater Falls features Inaya Rahman, an introspective police detective of Pakistani and Afghan descent. Inaya, new to the Community Response Unit of the Denver Police Department, is sent to liaise with local law enforcement after a young refugee from Syria is found murdered in the Blackwater Falls mosque. Razan Elkader was a star student: president of the physics club, interning at an aeronautics firm and employed at a local ice cream shop. She seemed to have adapted to life in the United States particularly well--yet someone has brutally killed her, and Inaya is determined to find out why. Working against Inaya are both the local sheriff, who seems uninterested in solving Razan's murder, and public sentiment at large, which has turned against the refugees. Inaya must deftly navigate a disgruntled boss, angry evangelicals who fear the growing Muslim population, the grieving immigrant community and her own family, who worshipped at the same mosque as the Elkaders.

Poignant and insightful, Blackwater Falls is another excellent detective novel from Khan and the first in a crime series starring Inaya Rahman. Khan, using her background in human rights law to explore immigrant issues with grace and candor, brings to life a twisty mystery that highlights political and religious tensions in the United States. Blackwater Falls is an irresistible read, sure to appeal to fans of Louise Penny or Ann Cleeves. --Jessica Howard, freelance book reviewer

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