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Posts Tagged ‘Syrian war’

A DANGEROUS CROSSING by Ausma Zehanat Khan: Book Review

The sky had fallen in Aleppo.  No corner of the city was spared.”  That is the thought of one of the Syrian men who has made it to Greece; it sums up the despair of the victims of the seven-year civil war that has torn his Middle Eastern nation apart and displaced, both externally and internally, over twelve million of his countrymen.

Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty of the Toronto Police Force are sent to Greece by the Canadian prime minister to help search for Audrey Clare.  Audrey is the younger sister of Esa’s closest friend, Nathan Clare, and she has gone to the Greek island of Lesvos (Lesbos) as part of her duties as chief operating officer for Woman to Woman, an NGO dedicated to helping women across the world.

Suddenly her emails and phone calls to her brother stop.  What Nate tells Esa and Rachel is that two murders were committed in the Woman to Woman tent in the refugee camp on Lesvos; Audrey disappeared that same night and hasn’t been seen since.  Since the Clare family is known throughout Canada, the disappearance of one of its members has national repercussions.  There were international repercussions to be considered as well, since one of the dead was a French Interpol agent.  The other was a young male Syrian refugee.

When Esa and Rachel arrive in Lesvos, they are appalled by the conditions.  Their previous case had taken them to Iran, and the conditions in that country had been terrible, especially in the state-run prison system.  But the refugee camp in Lesvos is worse.  No running water, no heat, no roads, no schools for the children or job training for the adults.  The Greek government is doing its best, Esa and Rachel are assured, but the sheer amount of people in the Cara Tepe and Moria camps has overwhelmed all facilities.

And there is no way of knowing whom to trust.  Are the Greek and Italian boatmen who go out nightly to rescue migrants what they seem?  What about the Interpol agent who appears not to be very interested at all in Audrey’s disappearance, only in the death of her own colleague?  And why did a volunteer worker come to help all the way from Australia when that country is having its own refugee crisis?

Ausma Zehanat Khan’s fourth novel brilliantly weaves all these strands together–the overwhelming migrant crisis, the murder of the French Interpol agent and the young Syrian boy, the disappearance of Audrey Clare–into a story that is much, much more than a typical mystery.  The plight of those fleeing Syria and other war-torn countries is painfully recounted, but the search for the missing Canadian woman is equally in the forefront of the book.  Reading A Dangerous Crossing brings the headlines we read every day into a clearer, more personal focus.

You can read more about Ausma Zehanat Kahn at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.