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The Language of Secrets Summary and Reviews

The Language of Secrets

by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan X
The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2016
    336 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

The Unquiet Dead author Ausma Zehanat Khan once again dazzles with a brilliant mystery carefully woven into a profound and intimate story of humanity.

Detective Esa Khattak heads up Canada's Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases across all levels of law enforcement. Khattak is still under scrutiny for his last case, so he's surprised when INSET, Canada's federal intelligence agency, calls him in on another potentially hot button issue. For months, INSET has been investigating a local terrorist cell which is planning an attack on New Year's Day. INSET had an informant, Mohsin Dar, undercover inside the cell. But now, just weeks before the attack, Mohsin has been murdered at the group's training camp deep in the woods.

INSET wants Khattak to give the appearance of investigating Mohsin's death, and then to bury the lead. They can't risk exposing their operation, or Mohsin's role in it. But Khattak used to know Mohsin, and he knows he can't just let this murder slide. So Khattak sends his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, undercover into the small-town mosque which houses the terrorist cell. As Rachel tentatively reaches out into the unfamiliar world of Islam, and begins developing relationships with the people of the mosque and the terrorist cell within it, the potential reasons for Mohsin's murder only seem to multiply, from the political and ideological to the intensely personal.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A heartfelt novel for lovers of crime fiction and anyone interested in the complexities of living as a Muslim in the West today." - Library Journal

"Those prepared to slog through the blizzard of poetry used to convey clues will be rewarded by a gripping climax in the snowy wilderness of Ontario's Algonquin Park." - Publishers Weekly

"A smart, measured, immersive dive into a poorly understood, terrifyingly relevant subculture of violent extremism." - Kirkus

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Reader Reviews

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Betty Connor

Language of Secrets
I read and enjoyed the first book, (Unquiet Dead) and found the second even better. A page turner that I found hard to put down. Such interesting characters, complex mystery, among the best I have ever read. I also admired the insight into the terrorist mind without condoning their objectives. I can't wait for Khan's third book.

Rebecca H. (Bolton, CT)

The Language of Secrets
Set in Canada, Ausma Zehanant Khan's second novel, the Language of Secrets, is the story of a Muslim Canadian police detective investigating the murder of his former friend,who, unbeknownst to him, is an undercover agent for Canada's federal intelligence agency, INSET. His investigation is hampered by the politics of the area, INSET agents who are concerned that his investigation will hamper their operation, and by his sister, Ruksh, who has become engaged to the main suspect, a charismatic radical. Khan's novel is fast-paced, with complex,engaging characters and intricate plotting. The subject matter is extremely timely and implicitly warns us of the danger of making facile judgments about a very complicated issue. Above all, the story grabs us from the beginning sentences and doesn't let go until the final resolution. An absorbing read!

Claire M. (Sarasota, FL)

The Language of Secrets
A post 9/11 Canadian terrorist plot brings out the political tensions within subsets of the RCMP and Muslims in the department and those connected with a local terrorist cell in a mosque in Toronto. Inspector Esa Khattak and his partner Rachel Getty become enmeshed in an investigation of murder of an informant who was also a close friend of the Inspector and whose murder highlights the political, ideological and personal motives of all involved. There are stories within stories and Khan's writing explores the poetic side of Islam as well as the jihadist and the idealists drawn in by the charisma of the mosque leader, all of which gives a more complete picture to see the enemy within.

Joyce W. (Rochester, MN)

Suspenceful and educational
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed, and the explanations of the Muslim culture were very informative. I learned about their interpretation of the moon, their poetry, and their study groups. I have read a number of books about terrorist cells, but being told from the viewpoint of a Muslim was a unique experience. There was very good suspense without the blood and gore usually used in this type of story. I also liked that it was based on a real event. I would recommend this to a lot of my friends and plan to read his first book.

Ann W. (New York, NY)

Staying in Control
This was a terrific book. Inspector Khattak is a very captivating and complicated character. As a Moslem man in Canada, he is portrayed with empathy and compassion. His partner, a young Canadian woman who enjoys ice hockey, is also a complex person. The novel is a slow but compelling read with numerous well drawn characters and many potential suspects.

It is a great police procedural with very interesting detectives. Khan is a good, often lyrical writer. She writes with compassion and offers insight into complex personalities. Her portrait of the immigrant and first generation Canadian was multi-faceted and highlighted the numerous assimilation and acculturation demands. It was a great read.

Karna B. (Long Beach, CA)

The Language of Secrets
It is rare that I am so taken by a book that I place reading it before all else. That is the case for The Language of Secrets - a compelling read. From the first chapter to the last, the pace of Khan's writing is perfect. Her subject matter, a Muslim terrorist plot, and her knowledge of police procedural work, make for an exciting, if not heart pounding, read. Khan's characters are compelling for their intelligence and warmth. I like The Unquiet Dead, but the Language of Secrets excels. Bravo!

...15 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Ausma Zehanat Khan Author Biography

Photo: Alan Klehr

Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of The Unquiet Dead, published by St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books, and winner of the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. Works in her critically acclaimed Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series include The Language of Secrets,  A Death in Sarajevo, Among the Ruins, and the forthcoming A Dangerous Crossing. The Khattak/Getty series has been optioned for television by Lionsgate.

The Bloodprint, Ausma Zehanat Khan's fantasy debut, has been hailed as "truly remarkable" and "one of the year's finest fantasy debuts". Published by Harper Voyager US & UK, The Bloodprint is Book One of The Khorasan Archives, a four-book epic fantasy series. Khan's non-fiction ...

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