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Unquiet Dead

A Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novel
Narrated by: Peter Ganim
Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
4 out of 5 stars (117 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Detective Esa Khattak is in the midst of his evening prayers when he receives a phone call asking that he and his partner Detective Rachel Getty look into the death of a local man who has fallen off a cliff. At first Christopher Drayton's death - which looks like an accident - doesn't seem to warrant a police investigation, especially not from Khattak and Rachel's team, which handles minority-sensitive cases. But it soon comes to light that Drayton might have been living under an assumed name, and he may not have been the upstanding Canadian citizen he appeared to be. In fact, he may have been a Bosnian war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995. And if that's true, any number of people could have had reason to help him to his death. As Rachel and Khattak dig deeper into the life and death of Christopher Drayton, every question seems to lead only to more questions, and there are no easy answers. Did the specters of Srebrenica return to haunt Drayton at last, or had he been keeping secrets of an entirely different nature? Or, after all, did a man just fall to his death in a tragic accident?

In her spellbinding debut, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a complex and provocative story of loss, redemption, and the cost of justice that will linger with listeners long after turning the final tick.

©2015 Recorded by arrangement with Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Press. (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"A spectacular debut. Khan has written a heartbreaking book that stays with you long after you've put it down." (Reza Aslan, number one New York Times best-selling author of Zealot)
"Evocative, surprising, and important. With its mesmerizingly personal voice, each lyrical sentence reveals another suspenseful layer of this complex and heartbreaking mystery. Harrowing and disturbing, its delicate strength creates tension on every page." (Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of The Other Woman)
"It would be enough that Ausma Zehanat Khan's The Unquiet Dead gives us an intriguing new detective team in Esa Khattak and Sgt. Rachel Getty. But it does far more than that. Khan creates an engrossing story that allows her to sift through the emotional rubble of real-world tragedy. In the end, it isn't just gripping. It's devastating." (Steve Hockensmith, Edgar-nominated author of Holmes on the Range)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Jim
  • Silver Spring, MD, United States
  • 02-03-15

Keeps alive a memory the west may prefer to forget

Khan's excellent debut novel goads one's conscience as it follows a new "odd couple" of investigators who I think could have a great future, based on the evidence here. Is the death they investigate a murder, suicide, or accident? She keeps you guessing, with skill and subtlety, telling a compelling story of brutality, loss, complicity, betrayal, vengeance and the elusiveness of justice. The backdrop is a crime of which few but the victims can claim total innocence--the Srebrenica genocide, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II. The narrator is competent and nuanced but I think a female voice might be a better choice. And in the next book, she should have Rachel actually playing hockey, not just being on her way to or from the rink.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • HM
  • 02-02-15

Excellent novel

Highly recommend!! One of the best written novels I've read in a long time. Absolutely loved the historical element – learned a lot about the Bosnian war & all of it was heart-wrenching. Add to that an excellent plot which unfolded at the perfect pace, plus well-developed and likable characters…and, honestly, it was a recipe for success. Looking forward to reading more books with these two crime investigators!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

More than a mystery

This was an interesting book not only a good mystery but an excellent history lesson about the war in Bosnia and the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.

Esa & Rachel handle minority-sensitive cases but their new case doesn’t seem to fall under that purview or does it. Christopher Drayton was murdered but why are Esa & Rachel on the case? Drayton had a secret a big one and some people knew did one of them kill him? Was he really who he said he was or was he a Bosnian war Criminal living in obscurity right next door to refugees?

I really liked this story, we get a nice background on our two main characters and how they ended up as partners. I will be curious in the next book to find out even more about Rachel and her brother. I also found it very fascinating to have some of the transcripts from the war tribunal as that really added a lot to the story. I also liked the setting in Canada and couldn’t help thinking of a crossover book with Inspector Gamache.

Peter Ganim’s narration was very good and I was glad to have the correct pronunciations to people’s names. There was only one voice that grated on me and that was the hysterical Melanie Blasant, just in the one section it got a bit screechy but she was an awful person so I’m not positive it was her or the voice I was reacting to. I would definitely listen to more books narrated by Peter Ganim.

I have already bought the 2nd book in this series and look forward to the 3rd book coming soon. I highly recommend this series, the writing was very good and the characters are ones I believe you will get behind and really like.

4 Stars

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional

Slow to start; I almost stopped but I'm so glad I didn't. The story packs such an emotionally visceral punch mixed with a mystery.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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History as Teacher

A moving terrible account of a genocide - Bosnia happened - a warning that we should all be wary of attempts to create an unnatural culture free of differences. I cannot imagine how a person is led to hate another person, but this account is history not imagination - I only have to know it happened and know I cannot let it happen again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joan
  • SEMINOLE, FL, United States
  • 02-24-15

Hard to get into

I almost put this one aside but am glad I didn't. Names were almost impossible but really did not matter. You could gather who they were talking about from content. Ended up enjoying it very much.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Learned do much!

I am embarrassed to admit That I do not know as much as a sure about the bloody history of the former Yugoslavia. This book taught me all about the horrific genocide that occurred there. For that I am grateful. It’s a difficult read, but worth it! On to Book 2.

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Highly recommend this unusual detective drama

Author includes many details about a conflict and cultures I knew too little about. and she's created a very intriguing duo. As a first novel, there are a few minor style issues but I trust that with experience, the author will have matured past them and look forward to more in this series.
Narrator is a bit understated and slow, and I see that he narrates the whole series, but increasing the speed to 1.1 helped a lot.

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Not the worst mystery

But I found the characters all kind of dull and one note. If you’re going to create a detective series, something about them has to grab you. The main character Rachel is really judgmental and prudish. Esa is just boring. I think a Muslim lead detective in Canada is an original idea, but otherwise it was pretty derivative of better work. I wanted to like it, but nothing gripped me. I didn’t dislike it so much I asked for a credit back, but I definitely wouldn’t read the next one.

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lest we forget.

Fascinating and horrifying, that war of the nineties that isn't over. We are all refugees.