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Praise for The Khan

‘With The Khan, Saima Mir delivers a once-in-a-generation crime thriller and in Jia Khan has created a female South-Asian protagonist who is fierce, passionate and absolutely compelling. This is not simply black-and-white on the page. It’s blood. It’s emotion. It’s tears, anger, betrayal and revenge. An outstanding debut which deserves to be read widely.’

A. A. Dhand, author of Streets of Darkness

‘A tremendous debut (Jia Khan is a fascinating, multi-layered protagonist). Timely, authentic, immersive and powerful. Hints of The Godfather. SUPERB.’

Will Dean, author of the Tuva Moodyson mysteries

‘Bold, addictive and brilliant.’

Stylist, Best Fiction 2021

‘Compelling and gritty.’


‘Saima Mir’s debut, The Khan, traces its lineage to such classics as Mario Puzo’s seminal work The Godfather… Mir’s novel pulls no punches, taking aim at cultural stereotypes, sacred cows and the attitudes and morality of the community within which the story is based. The book operates on various levels: crime family saga, character study and an exploration of clan-run organised crime. A sterling debut.’

Vaseem Khan, author of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

‘A brilliant debut from an exciting new voice for our times. A thrilling book with a thrilling hero in Jia. Brava.’

Imran Mahmood, author of You Don’t Know Me

‘Superb. In particular the character development is excellent. I’m going to have to step up my game just to keep up. Damn you, Saima!’

Khurrum Rahman, author of the Jay Qasim series

‘It’s an amazing piece of work and very timely… An amazing sense of place and time. I’m sure it’s going to be a sensational debut.’

Lesley McEvoy, author of The Murder Mile

‘Blown away by the intricacy of such a clever, complex plot and the sense of unease.’

Huma Qureshi, author of How We Met

‘Jia is incredibly compelling without being simply likeable. It’s a joy to read a book set in Northern England that does not veer into cliché. It’s so good on motherhood, morality and gender.’

Nell Frizzell, author of The Panic Years

‘Saima Mir reinvents the gangster genre with dark lyrical prose that explores trauma, being an outsider, white privilege and revenge. Jia Khan is the enigmatic female lead we have been waiting for. I loved this book and can’t wait to see whom Jia visits her vicious yet calculated brand of justice on next.’

L V Hay, author of The Other Twin

‘The Khan is a dark, gripping thriller that subverts the usual “women as victims” narrative of crime fiction. Mir’s writing is complex and evocative and The Khan is a fantastic read, sure to catch you in its clutches and not let you go until the final, heart pounding pages.’

The Bookbag

‘Just fantastic… Take a bow Saima Mir, you have nailed it.’

Surjit’s Books Blog

‘This is an excellent debut and hopefully the start of a fantastic new series! Absolutely loved the ending, great new author to follow right from the beginning, I feel this could be a real eye opener of a series. It’s certainly going to keep you on the edge of your seat.’

Fiona Sharp, Bookseller



To Ami and Abu, thank you for putting my happiness above the gossip.

However dirty and coarse his hand he will stretch it to a king for a hand-shake. However meagre his meal he will invite an emperor to share it.

The Pathan, Ghani Khan


The frayed fabric of the black niqaab scratched at her nose and she raised her hand to adjust it, bringing it taut over her lips. She hurried on. The setting sun worried her. She would be late for work.

Broken syringes and greying condoms lay spent, caught between the pavement and the road, trying to disappear into the sewers beneath. Engine oil mixed with rain pooled around them and spread into the gutter.

Ahead of her a new Bentley waited, its engine purring gently. Further up and across the road a bruised, blonde working girl leaned into a sheenless VW Golf. Hidden behind grubby old textile mills, this forgotten strip of land equalised rich and poor. They all came here. From near and far. To have their cars looked at and their bodies serviced.

The young Muslim woman’s eyes, watchful, hollow and kohl-rimmed, moved from lamp post to lamp post and then to street corner. For one brief moment her resolve weakened and she considered turning around and heading home, but then she remembered the Final Demand letter her mother had handed her as she’d been leaving and something tightened in her stomach.

Sakina, her name was, and as she pulled her arms tight around herself, hoping their warmth would melt some of the hardness that had set in, she reminded herself of its meaning: serenity. ‘Bas thorai saal hor nai putar,’ her mother had told her, her tone as gentle as her coarse Punjabi would allow. ‘Once your brother finishes university he will take care of everything.’ But only Sakina knew what those few years were costing. She was paying with more than money for the university fees, rent, bills and bread her family needed. Her father’s death had come suddenly and he hadn’t had time to make provision for his wife and children. He had been a good man and she missed him with an all-encompassing heaviness in her heart. He had always been proud of Sakina and she wondered what he would have thought of her now.

But there was little time to stop and contemplate such things today. Quickening her pace, she stepped over the shadow of a short, stocky man who was leaning against a blackened wall. He sucked on a cigarette, pulling smoke into his fat fist as he spoke to the driver of the Bentley. Sakina walked past him. He paused as if recognising her and then offered his ‘salaam’. She nodded in acknowledgement and crossed the road.

The red heels of her shoes clicked hard; they weren’t made for cobbles. The blonde prostitute was also struggling to balance on the stones. Brushing back her hair, the hooker rubbed her hand suggestively up her thigh, her small skirt leaving little to the imagination. She leaned into the driver’s window

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