Next of Kin – Kia Abdullah


Leila Syed receives a call that cleaves her life in two. Her brother-in-law’s voice is filled with panic. His son’s nursery has called to ask where little Max is.


Leila was supposed to drop Max off that morning. But she forgot.

Racing to the carpark, she grasps the horror of what she has done…


What follows is an explosive, high-profile trial that will tear the family apart. But as the case progresses it becomes clear there’s more to this incident than meets the eye…

A gripping, brave and tense courtroom drama, Next of Kin will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final, heart-stopping page.

Publication Day: 2nd September 2021 – Print Length: 384 pages – Publisher: HQ

Kia Abdullah is an author from London. Her novel Take It Back was named one of the best thrillers of the year by The Guardian and Telegraph and was selected for an industry-first audio serialisation by HarperCollins and The Pigeonhole. Her follow-up novel, Truth Be Told, was published in Mar 2021.

Kia has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, The FT, The Telegraph, the BBC and The Times, and is the founder of Asian Booklist, a nonprofit that advocates for diversity in publishing.

My Review:

Kia Abdullah is, in my opinion, an exciting new talent who tells stories that need to be heard. She isn’t afraid of tackling subjects many might find taboo and handles each difficult storyline with sensitivity and sympathy throughout.

If you haven’t read Kia’s first two books yet, I honestly can’t recommend them enough. Gritty, shocking, thought-provoking stories that will get under your skin and stay in your mind for a long, long time. Here are my thoughts on Take It Back and Truth Be Told.

I was so excited to see that Kia has a new standalone book being published later this year and was delighted to read an advanced copy courtesy of Netgalley.

Once I read the blurb of Next of Kin I knew this is a book I had to be in the right frame of mind to read, as the description is harrowing, horrific and every parent’s worse nightmare. So I will stress that if you can’t read about child deaths, then it’s best to avoid this book.

Once again Kia’s writing, character development and storyline are superb. This is so much more than a story about a tragic infant death, it’s a story of family, siblings, loyalty and jealousy.

Leila Syed is a fascinating character. The eldest sister, who is a very successful architect with everything money can buy except a child of her own. Having brought up her younger sister Yasmin single handedly from the age of 18, she dotes on her 3 year old nephew Max and also helps Yasmin and her husband Andrew financially. One morning on the way to work she receives a call from Andrew asking her to drop Max into nursery as he has a work emergency and that’s when everyone’s lifes are turned upside down in the most tragic and unthinkable way.

With a negligent manslaugter charge, the story unfolds through the courtroom as Leila relives that terrible mistake which has blown her family apart.

As usual, when Kia tells a story nothing is as it seems so the reader is continually surprised and shocked.

A difficult subject to read but a fascinating story which I would highly recommend.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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