A successful lawyer, Jia Khan’s London life is a long way from the Northern streets she knew as a child, where her father, Akbar Khan, was head of the Pakistani community and ran the local organised crime syndicate. His Jirga rule – the old way – was violent and bloody, but it was also justice of a kind.
When her father is murdered, Jia must return to his community. In the past, the police relied on Akbar Khan to maintain the fragile order of the streets. But a bloody power struggle has broken out among the various communities and now, nobody is safe.
Justice needs to be restored, and Jia is about to discover that justice always comes at a price. Against a backdrop of racial divides, misogyny and prejudice, THE KHAN is a thrilling crime debut, set in a world rarely explored in fiction.
The prologue to this book was very intriguing and pulled me into the book straight away.
Jai Khan is a criminal barrister who hasn’t seen her parents or her family for 15 years but she will now have to see them at her sister’s wedding. This is when she will come face to face with her father Akbar Khan a crime lord/criminal kingpin and leader of a criminal empire. Jia’s father made a decision many years ago that destroyed their relationship and ended in tragedy. When Jia’s father is found dead Jia it’s up to Jia to not only look after her family, her father’s business and the whole community that relied on her father in one form or another. With a turf war brewing Jia quickly has her hands full and ends up with more than she bargained for.
The concept of this book was very interesting with a father who is a criminal kingpin and his daughter a criminal barrister. This was a gripping and well constructed book, with a powerful and smart female protagonist. Jia as the main character is very complex, we see the professional side of her when she means business but we also see the other side of her when her guard is down. It was clear to see from the start that Jia had a very strong and close relationship with her father and how he raised and treated her more as a son than a daughter, clearly recognising her future potential. I particularly liked the scene when Jia meets with the Jirga after her father’s death. They mock her as they don’t think she is up to the job of taking her father’s place, especially as she is a woman. Jia is calm, collected and smart when dealing with them making it very clear that she is now in charge, is more than capable of this new job and that under her rule a new world awaits. As for that plot twist at the end I was utterly gobsmacked and didn’t see that coming. It was pure genius and just wow.
A criminal thriller full of action, gangsters and heart stopping moments all wrapped up in a modern day godfather story (or should I say godmother story) with an Asian twist. The Khan was everything I hoped it would be and more.
There’s a new Khan in town and she’s about to shake up the criminal world!
SAIMA MIR is a British Pakistani journalist who grew up in Bradford. She has written for The Times, the Guardian and Independent. Her essay for It’s Not About The Burqa (Picador) appeared in the Guardian and received over 250,000 hits online in two days. Saima has also contributed to the anthology The Best, Most Awful Job: Twenty Mothers Talk Honestly About Motherhood. Saima lives in London.