Book Reviews

Beauty and the Beasts: The Language of Secrets by @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress #ReadOctober #HuntforReadOctober #NoExit30

Happy #NoExit30!! I’m proud to be a part of those celebrations with a review of The Language of Secrets! I’d like to thank the amazing Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of the party, and now let The Hunt for Read begins!

the language of secretsTitle: The Language of Secrets
Author: Ausma Zehanat Khan
Publisher: No Exit Press
Genre: Mystery
Date of publication: October 2017
Format: eARC
Number of pages: 352
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐️⭐️

The sequel to The Unquiet Dead

Detective Esa Khattak, still under scrutiny for his last case, is surprised when INSET, Canada’s national security team, calls him in on another politically sensitive issue. For months, INSET has been investigating a local terrorist cell which is planning an attack on New Year’s Day but their undercover informant, Mohsin Dar, has been murdered. Khattak sends his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, undercover into the unsuspecting 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.


Justice must not only be done. It must be seen to be done.

I read to escape my reality and if a book is done right, I dive right into a parallel world. This happened when I met Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty in The Unquiet Dead. I was eagerly waiting for another story from the author. I was right to be eager, and I was right to feel in good hands before even opening the second book.

Esa and Rachel have suffered the consequences of their last investigation, and I immediately felt all emotions from the first installment in the series coming back; my friendly feelings for Rachel, my curiosity and fascination for Esa. Two worlds colliding, two faces of a coin. This time again, the team works in such harmony it makes anyone who has ever worked as a team drool with envy.

The tea was for her nerves. The familiarity was that of a friend.

Their relationship is at the heart of the story, the author exploring how well people can trust each other, rely on each other, and most of all, confront their different opinions without fear or judgment. I admire the balance Ausma Zehanat Khan puts in her books to give the reader the biggest view possible, not leaving out any angle on any subject, using her characters as channels to explore and discover, to learn and to open minds.

The rallies in Germany, the rise of Le Pen, the minarets of Switzerland, the discriminatory laws, the Charter of Values, the hallowed ground. The divulgation of Maher Arar.

Escapism takes another definition with Ausma Zehanat Khan’s narration. I was scared to recognized the name of Le Pen, and it was like a slap in the face, a reminder things are happening in the world, and no one seems to be able to stop it. Oh, racism and glances have always been around, anyone and anything different or new is treated the same way, but the world has changed and the issues that were once far from our preoccupations are now at the heart of our lives. It is sad to think so much has happened without the world doing anything.
Esa’s religion is a barrier between him and his own workforce, but the story goes so much further than this.

The Language of Secrets starts as a crime investigation quite hampered by a bigger terrorist operation and takes you all the way through common preconceptions, faith, loyalty, and fear. The author doesn’t “play” with current themes, she gives a masterfully researched, detailed, and unbiased view about how things turned out the way they did, why people do the things they do, and don’t we look up to books for answers? I know I do, and I am in love with the perfect writing style that takes me to unknown territories, explains to me notions I barely know, and gives me the opportunity to think twice before making any assumption.

Poetry – winding you up with its archive of questions, its vainglorious phrases.

The other fabulous aspect of this book is its musicality. The Language of Secrets is a door to another sphere of language, something I usually am not fond of, but found myself completely falling for between the beautifully filled pages of a book that expresses actions, emotions, plans, and life, through words you can interpret in so many ways. The author plays with words, I simply loved getting to know Arabic poetry and a bit of its history. Most books you can love but won’t actually learn from, but not those books. This series is a well of information, no info dumping here, only sentences taking you far away, keeping you on your toes, awake, both ready for the action of the actual investigation and the amazing story enveloping the narration. Because Ausma’s tales are of another world. A world where the balance between characterization, plot, and context all collide to give you an experience bound to make you feel and THINK.

The splintered past, the crippled future, nothing to gain, less to give.

No moralization here, no lessons given, only a door to a world so many of us don’t understand. I’ll say it again, what makes this series different is how religion is handled, how the cases serve a bigger purpose without losing the appeal of a strong crime story, and how the past and present come together to give the reader a better understanding of what has been lived, is being lived, and how everything can be twisted, interpreted, and used.

Ausma Zehanat Khan possesses the kind of poetic and powerful style which can convey any message with authenticity and beauty.

Find this amazing, riveting, and awesome story on Amazon!



Ausma Zehanat Khan is a British-born Canadian living in the United States, whose own parents are heirs to a complex story of migration to and from three different continents. A former adjunct professor at American and Canadian universities, she holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law, with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre as the main subject of her dissertation. Previously the Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl Magazine, Ausma Zehanat Khan has moved frequently, traveled extensively, and written compulsively. The Unquiet Dead is her first mystery novel featuring Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty.



23 thoughts on “Beauty and the Beasts: The Language of Secrets by @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress #ReadOctober #HuntforReadOctober #NoExit30”

  1. Wow wow wow!! What a review 😊 if I hadn’t already wanted to read this book your review would have had me racing to buy a copy immediately!!


  2. Fantastic review Meggy. I didn’t know about this series but I am now intrigued. I am curious about the religious aspect and also the Arabic parts. I also like what you said about the book being informative. Okay, I am convinced. I need this book(s) in my life.


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