Review of Blackwater Falls by Ausma Zehanat Khan
I was intrigued by the issues raised in Blackwater Falls--police corruption, racial conflict, religious fervor and faith, secret missions, and more--but I felt frequently jarred by uneven pacing and shifts in tone and perspective.
In the Colorado town of Blackwater Falls, girls from immigrant families have been disappearing. But it takes finding the body of a golden-child student and star athlete--positioned for attention in a mosque--for the police to take action.
Detective Inaya Rahman and Lieutenant Waqas "Qas" Seif work to solve the mystery of the girls' murders--running up against complications, prejudices, and roadblocks of all kinds--all the while tentatively exploring the beginnings of feelings they may be having for each other.
In the thriller Blackwater Falls, Ausma Zehanat Khan explores complicated issues surrounding racial injustice, police corruption, political concerns, faith, and religious conflicts that threaten to tear apart a community.
Yet I was frequently distracted by what felt like uneven pacing and tone and abrupt perspective changes, and I couldn't get past the jarring effect of these issues to feel invested in the story.
Some of the characters feel almost like caricatures of bad guys, and it felt too easy to despise them. I also felt a little ill during the page time spent in the slaughterhouse.
But secret missions and identities, nefarious plots, conspiracies, and manipulations add layers to the plot.
Blackwater Falls is the first in a planned series.
I received a prepublication edition of this book courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martin's Press.
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Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of the Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series (The Unquiet Dead, The Language of Secrets, A Death in Sarajevo, Among the Ruins, and A Dangerous Crossing). She is also the author of The Khorasan Archives fantasy series (The Bloodprint is the first book in the series).
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