No Place Of Refuge by Ausma Zehanat Khan No Exit Press August 22nd 2019
Amid a global crisis, one woman searches for justice…
The Syrian refugee crisis just became personal for Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty.
NGO worker Audrey Clare, sister of Khattak’s childhood friend, is missing.
In her wake, a French Interpol Agent and a young Syrian man are found dead at the Greek refugee camp where she worked.
Khattak and Getty travel to Greece to trace Audrey’s last movements in a desperate attempt to find her. In doing so, they learn that her work in Greece had strayed well beyond the remit of her NGO…
Had Audrey been on the edge of exposing a dangerous secret at the heart of the refugee crisis – one that ultimately put a target on her own back?
Trust me to arrive late to a series, and miss out on all of Esa and Rachel’s past history. Did it make a difference? In some respects yes, there seems to be quite a bit of past history between themselves and also other characters. What didn’t make a difference was the story, the events and the actions of the characters. It was powerful and moving and considering Khan’s background informative and eye opening.
The refugee crisis is one that is never far away from the headlines, their dangerous passage across seas in inadequate boats always horrific. You would expect the refugee camps they entered to offer safety, but what if they didn’t, what if they faced even more danger and trauma.
This was the tack Khan took as Esa and Rachel landed in Lesvos looking for their friend, Audrey. What they found opened not only their eyes but also mine.
Khan used fact, with some dramatic licence, to portray the true horror of the refugee camps, of the cramped sometimes unsanitary conditions. Yet that wasn’t the worst, as always seems to be the case it was us humans that posed the most risk. There were the smugglers who charged extortionate amounts of money to carry refugees across the water, the camp infiltrators who fought out young girls to traffick and exploit. It was not a comfortable read, nor was it comfortable for Esa and Rachel as they pursued those who might have been responsible for Audrey’s disappearance.
You could see them struggle as they tried to remain professional, tried to push their own emotional feelings to oneside. As they dug deeper, the depravity and horrors of a civil war in Syria and it’s devastating consequences rose to the surface in all its lurid colours.
The plot was complex, and multilayered as it slowly meandered to a dramatic conclusion with unexpected twists and turns.
It was a novel that didn’t flinch from the facts, that told a story with intelligence, thought and emotion.
If you haven’t read any of the series then I suggest you do.
I would like to thank No Exit Press for a copy of No Place Of Refuge to read an d review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She has practised immigration law and taught human rights law at Northwestern University and York University. Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine to reflect the lives of young Muslim women. Her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead, won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. She is a longtime community activist and writer. Born in Britain, Ausma lived in Canada for many years before recently becoming an American citizen. She lives in Colorado with her husband.