Ausma Zehanat Khan’s murder mystery “Blackwater Falls” is a carefully crafted thriller woven from elements of present-day current events. It does not shy away from political topics, instead tackling them head on in a story that feels like it could have been told in a town I had known.
Khan is a gifted character writer, penning a believable cast that I grew to care about. This strength carries the dialog and introspection heavy narrative and makes for an engaging read. Also, if you enjoy audiobooks the narrator Fareeda Pasha does an excellent job bringing the characters to life. I felt that the narrator delivered on the tone for the setting too, which is important to me when I choose an audiobook.
A parting thought for readers who like me also play video games, I feel like this setting and cast would fit well in the “Far Cry” universe and has some interesting parallels to Far Cry 5, except if Ubisoft had chosen to reference real political situations – and minus the gunplay, in this case, as Blackwater Falls is a detective story first. If you are in that niche, then please consider this book highly recommended.
I recently finished reading Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri’s “They Called Me a Lioness”. I found it to be inspirational and uplifting. It concluded with some important questions for the reader to consider, but I had thought of a few more as I read.
Paraphrasing, the authors ask us to consider what we would do if our family were in their circumstance, which is a potent question indeed, one I feel too many distant observers blot from their mind; how would they handle life under occupation?
However, as I read the tale of the now-viral confrontation between the child and occupation soldiers on her family property I wondered how much of her story might have been left to tell if not for the accessibility of social media and ability of users to share this raw footage of human rights abuses. Lately, platforms have become more difficult to access in some conflict-torn areas of the world, and elsewhere too restrictive content policies can result in near total media blackout of censored topics.
I am speaking specifically of a number of laws passed that attempt to equate pro-Palestinian and pro-boycott speech as essentially hate speech or actual antisemitism. In all more than 30 states in the US have similar laws. Imagine if Tamimi’s video had been quashed before it reached its audience.
Consider the videos we haven’t seen, from Palestine or elsewhere in the world where youth stand up to a brutal regime.
I really enjoyed the book, which I listened to as an audio book. If you like audiobooks I highly recommend it. The narrative style was outstanding. It felt less like a book being read to you and more like a friend sitting down to tell you something important to them. By the end it was I that felt like I had been invited into their home to listen.
This set unrealistic expectations for the quality of snide letters I would exchange with my nemesis.
Seriously, what a wild ride. Boldly unconventional, El-Mohtar and Gladstone have created a vibrant science fiction tumble through space and time I couldn’t begin to compare to another work. It is a joy to find a book that hooks me from the very start, and rarer still to find one that doesn’t let go. I will recommend this to all my friends who love to read.