Cover Image: Blood Betrayal

Blood Betrayal

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Member Reviews

Ausma Zehanat Khan delivers another well-conceived mystery set in Blackwater Falls and featuring Detective Inaya Rahman and the other detectives in the Denver Police Community Response Unit (CRU).

The story opens with the deaths of two young men, Duante Reed, a Black street artist, and Mateo Ruiz, a musician, killed by Denver police in a drug bust. Duante was killed by Harry Cooper, from the Blackwater Sheriff's department, and there's some confusion about who shot Mateo, as Denver Officer Kelly Broda (the son of Inaya's colleague/attacker in Chicago) won't talk.

Lieutenant Waqas Seif assigns Inaya, Catalina Hernandez and Jaime Webb to the cases. All are overworked and tired, though Catalina has problems at home which are grinding her down to an alarming degree. Seif has personal issues at home, as well, as an old girlfriend comes back into his life, even while he finds his attention constantly captured by Inaya.

The author again shows us how policing, immigration, race, bigotry and relationships can get twisted together into complicated and very messy situations in communities with a mix of White, Black and minority populations. The CRU encounter numerous roadblocks and resistance, and everything seems tangled and confusing to the detectives.

There are many relationships touched by the dead young men, and the effects of their deaths ripple out into their respective communities, where Inaya and Cat must work extra hard to gain the trust of the young men's families and friends. What the women, working with lawyer and activist Areesha Adams, discover is a toxic stew of jealousy, anger, bigotry and grief fuelling the murders of both men, with the reveals shaking up Sheriff's department and the Denver police.

This is another excellent entry in this complex, multilayered series, which delves into complicated social and political situations in a compelling and sympathetic manner.

Thank you to Netgalley and to St. Martin's Press for this ARC in exchange for my review.

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such a great follow up. superb character development. craftfully written. 10 out of 10 mystery, these blackwater falls books are addictive

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In "Blood Betrayal," Ausma Zehanat Khan delves into a complex and timely mystery set in Blackwater Falls, Colorado. The novel revolves around the aftermath of two fatal incidents involving police shootings. Veteran police officer Harry Cooper's actions during a confrontation with local vandals lead to the death of Duante Reed, a young Black man mistakenly perceived as a threat. Simultaneously, a drug raid in nearby Denver results in the death of Latino teen Mateo Ruiz.

Detective Inaya Rahman, intimately acquainted with the name of the officer involved in Mateo's death, Kelly Broda, finds herself unexpectedly approached by John Broda, Kelly's father. Having suffered a violent attack at the hands of John years ago in Denver, Inaya is torn between personal history and professional duty as John pleads for help in proving his son's innocence.

As the narrative unfolds, Khan explores themes of racial tension, police misconduct, and the quest for justice. The author confronts societal prejudices and forces the characters, especially Inaya, to reckon with their own biases. The novel raises poignant questions about the necessity of lethal force, portraying conflicting perspectives on the victims, who are perceived either as innocent or potentially dangerous.

However, the ambitious inclusion of numerous minority issues and characters might overwhelm some readers, diluting the focus on the central mystery. The extensive cast contributes to confusion, making it challenging to connect with the storyline. While Khan tackles important and relevant themes, the intricate web of subplots and characters may detract from the overall cohesiveness of the mystery.

For readers seeking a more streamlined and immersive mystery experience, "Blood Betrayal" may fall short of expectations.

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I really like this series; it's timely, gritty and page-turning. I can't wait to see what else this author has in store.

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heavy mystery surrounding 2 officer involved shootings in the Denver area. I appreciated the diversity of the characters but found that the book just tries to cover too much, and was too heavy-handed, for me. There were too many major characters for me to find a connection with any of them. Also, there was so much focus on the social justice issues and the personal lives of the characters, that the crimes seemed to take second place.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-ARC of this book.

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I like this series a lot. Only two books in but I'm already deeply invested in all the continuing characters. I love the nods to the local area too. This is a ripped from the headlines case, sadly, relevant far too often but handled really well and I like how all the tentacles come together. Looking forward to more.

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Compelling with multiple families experiencing turmoil, loss and grief. As two police shootings of young men of color occur in close proximity of time the investigations run down multiple channels to find Justice for the victims and to attempt to be explained though hard to make sense of such tragic losses. Inaya is a strong resourceful character and makes this series top notch with her perspectives and insights. NetGalley had provided an advanced readers copy of this novel before publication. I ended up listening to the stellar audio later.

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A young black man and a young hispanic man are killed by the police (in different locations) in what they call justifiable killings. Detective Inaya Rahman and her boss Lieutenant Seif will stop at nothing to figure out what happened to these boys. With two different victims who aren’t related in any way made the story was complex and hard to follow at times. That being said, it comes together nicely in the end and overall I really enjoyed it.

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Always hot button topics: there are two deaths of young men by police. The men, one black, one latino spurs the police and the neighborhoods to look for answers. The two deaths are similar, questioning the use of firearms by the police as the quickest but not necessarily the correct response.
There are strong relationships between the characters. Not only for who they are within the police/community for solving of the crimes but their own religions and cultures come into play as well.
The detective who is the representative of the Community Response Team that is seeking answers has a wonderful calm quality, perfect for her job; Inaya Rahman is a muslim woman with a history within the PD that resulted in a move to her present assignment. What’s interesting is the policeman that caused her to relocate is now also looking for her help in one of the murders which involves his son as the shooter.
While the story does flip back and forth between the two murders and their root cause, there is a melding of characters that keeps the reader and the storyline moving along.
This was a second in a series about Inaya and I wish I had more background to the original cause of her relocation. That original incident has brought the bully back in her life but with him now needing her help. Her strong character rises above what happened in the past.

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I enjoyed this second novel in the Blackwater Falls series. The mystery in this book was so good and it hooked me from the very beginning. I definitely look forward to more in this series.

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This was an interesting book. While I did not know it was the second in a series, that did not affect my enjoyment of the book. It may have helped me know a little bit more about certain characters, but that would be more background information as opposed to critical set-up information. I enjoyed pretty much everything about this book - the setup, how information was determined and relayed, and it was also refreshing to learn about the dynamics between the characters. I can say with confidence that this book makes me want to grab the first book in this series, and honestly, probably anything by this author.

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A well crafted mystery that is very thought provoking as it addresses police violence. . The two main characters are Muslim and we get to see some of their culture and backstory.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

The second of the series featuring Detective Inaya Rahman, who has faced her own racist attacks, is shocked when a police officer apparently shoots a kid who is creating art with spray paint.

The cop apparently thought he saw a gun in the kid's hand.

A complex and engaging mystery, ride with weighty issues (a good read,)!

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I liked this book a lot. There are two police shootings is the suburbs of a city in Colorado and racial tensions are very high. Inaya, one of the investigating officers, is a Muslim whose ancestry is Persian, and her boss, Sgt. Self, is a non practicing Muslim from Palestine. It was an interesting and enlightening experience to read this story from their point of view. The characters were well developed, and the story was very believable. I highly recommend this book both for the mystery of why the shootings happened and the cultural perspective. This is an "adult" book, but I think it would be appropriate for my high school library. I received this as an arc from Netgalley and am under no pressure for a positive review.

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Blood Betrayal once again follows Detective Inaya Rahman and the Community Response Unit, but this time there are a series of mysteries that all connect in such interesting ways. At the start, a veteran Blackwater police officer is involved in the shooting of an unarmed young Black man. Then in the next chapter Rahman finds the man who orchestrated the assault that caused her to leave Chicago, John Broda, on her doorstep because his son has been involved in the shooting of a young Latino man in Denver. What follows is a twisty and timely police procedural that I had a hard time putting down.

The way Khan has built the community of Blackwater Falls and the camaraderie of the Community Response Unit is top tier. I love that she takes the traditional police procedural and focuses on how the police have historically failed to serve communities that aren’t white and the different ways that BIPOC individuals have chosen to react, whether it be join the police and try to change within or organize against or others. There are discussions of race and religion and immigration and so much more and I think it’s all handled with a lot of care.

And the way the plot(s) played out in this story had me anxious and gasping as I turned the pages. Personally, I’m undecided on how long I’ll stick with this series but there are a couple of macro plots that I want to see the end of so I will definitely be picking up the next book when it’s released.

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Thank you Netgalley for the advance reader copy of Blood Betrayal by Ausma Zehanat Khan in exchange for an honest review. This book was very relevant to today's issues, with racial prejudice and violence. There was an interesting murder mystery and this book kept me reading.

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I received a free copy of this book from St Martins Press through I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I love these timely police procedurals. Inaya is a young cop who is trying to make a difference in her community. She comes from a devout muslim family and is very secure in her faith. Her boss Waqas Seif is drawn to Inaya, her fearlessness, her devotion and her strength. However in order to be with her Seif knows he needs to accept a part of himself that he has a hard time with.

These books are so much more than a police procedural. It is about faith, community, and culture. I love that the main characters are strong female women in cultures where the men are usually the main focus. Be it through Machismo or faith, these characters prove that this is in many regards illusion.

The shooting of 2 unarmed men of color lead us down a path where things are not always what they seem and instead of looking at things straight on you may need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Fantastic writing I am hooked on this series.

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Having read other books by Khan, I was excited to read this one and revisit the characters I'd gotten to know in the first book of this series. It does not disappoint, though I felt that it bogged down in places and there was a lot of story to keep track of! Not to mention the different issues that arise. But if the reader sticks with it, they will be very satisfied at how it all comes together in the end. Khan is really skilled at interweaving and I look forward to more stories in this setting and with the same characters.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. Khan is a great writer!

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Blood Betrayal is an engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking read. Though I thought I had grappled with many of the issues presented during the course of the narrative, I still managed to find my thoughts pushed past preconceived notions. Timely and important, Blood Betrayal is worth your time.

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We’re back in Blackwater Falls with the Community Response Unit. This time, the unit is assigned to tackle two office involved shootings that resulted in the deaths of Mateo Ruiz and Duantee Reed. Inaya and her colleagues are forced to tackle their own prejudices and will need to examine their own beliefs as they investigate the two crimes.

As with the first book in the series I really enjoyed our main characters. Inaya, certainly has some additional growth and we even ‘finally’ get more of the backstory of why she left Chicago. In addition, both Areesha Adams and Caterina Hernandez are back and have their own POVs throughout the story. I find the added perspectives from them round out the story well, but even so all three women have some very personal matters that are occurring simultaneously with the investigation and other reasons that make these cases personal to them. It certainly adds to the overall story, and in Detective series such as these, I do love getting to be inside the head of more than just our main character.

With that said, there is A LOT going on in this book. Just like in Book #1, I felt there was so much going on. It’s one thing to weave complex mysteries together but I just felt that the two independent murders, Seif & Inaya’s somewhat romance, each of the women’s and Seif’s individual issues, plus the themes of racism, immigration, and police brutality was just too much to pack into just over 300 pages. At the same time, the story (just like in book 1) has a pacing issue. I’m not sure how I would fix it, but once Duante’s murder was resolved I was ready for the book to be done and instead I had what felt like another hour or two left on my audio to listen to. The romance still doesn’t feel flushed out, and I still think it feels somewhat forced. I did enjoy getting to know Seif’s brothers and Inaya’s family more.

I would highly recommend you read this series in order, as there is significant character development that happens, and I feel readers might easily become lost if reading them out of order. As with Blackwater Falls, I primarily listened to the audiobook, and I found it to be once again well done. Overall, I did like this one more than the first, so I’ll probably continue with the series, but I still feel it’s trying to do ‘too much’ at a time. This is certainly an interesting commentary on the middle east and immigration considering what is happening in the world now.

Blood Betrayal is out now. Huge thank you to Minotaur Books and St. Martin’s Press for my copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review, please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my Instagram @speakingof.books.

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