A Deadly Divide
Ausma Zehanat Khan
In the aftermath of a mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec, the local police apprehend Amadou Duchon — a young Muslim man at the scene helping the wounded — but release Etienne Roy, the local priest who was found with a weapon in his hands.
The shooting looks like a hate crime, but detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty sense there is more to the story. Sent to liaise with a community in the grip of fear, they find themselves in fraught new territory, fueled by the panic and suspicion exploited by a right-wing radio host.
As Rachel and Esa grapple to stop tensions shutting the case down entirely, all the time, someone is pointing Esa in another direction, a shadowy presence who anticipates his every move.
A Deadly Divide is a piercingly observed, gripping thriller that reveals the fractures that try to tear us all apart: from the once-tight partnership between detectives Esa and Rachel, to the truth about a deeply divided nation. (From Minotaur)
- The CBC Books summer reading list: 33 books to check out this season
- 100 writers in Canada you need to know now
- How Ausma Zehanat Khan crafted a mystery based on Canadian and international real-world events
- Ausma Zehanat Khan on bearing witness in her fiction
- 28 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in spring 2019
- Why Ausma Zehanat Khan wrote a novel inspired by the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting
- 10 Canadian thrillers and mysteries to check out this summer
From the book
Blood saturated the walls, the stink of it creeping into his nostrils. By any measure, the scene was sickening. It was more devastation at a single crime scene than Esa Khattak had ever witnessed. From the green tinge to Rachel's skin, he could see it was the same for her. Their eyes met across the hall, sharing the moment of horror. They'd been called at once and had arrived as quickly as possible after the shooting, a mere matter of hours.
Rachel was at the door canvasing the mosque's parking lot. Khattak had been permitted access to the narrow cordon set up by crime scene technicians in the midst of the dead. He wore a protective forensic suit, Superintendent Martine Killiam at his side. He photographed the scene methodically, finding it easier to deal with the sight of bodies through the distancing mechanism of his lens. He made the count to himself. Two bodies in the corner had fallen back against the small shelf of books. Two more were slumped sideways in the main prayer space, where the green and white carpeting was soaked through. Another body was pitched against the mihrab, its white robe spattered with starbursts of blood. The delicately tiled niche had been damaged by a spray of bullets, its shards scattered over the carpet. A tiny turquoise flower lay inches from Khattak's feet.
He turned in the opposite direction, to the scene he'd put off photographing to the end. Two bodies close enough to touch and farthest from the door, one huddled inside the protective embrace of the other. A father and his small son. The assailant had targeted both.
A small community, a small mosque, with seven dead in the prayer hall.
From A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan ©2019. Published by MacMillan.
Interviews with Ausma Zehanat Khan
Other books by Ausma Zehanat Khan