Those People Next Door – Kia Abdullah

Not long after they move in, Salma spots her neighbour, Tom Hutton, ripping out the anti-racist banner her son put in their front garden. She chooses not to confront Tom because she wants to fit in. It’s a small thing, really. No need to make a fuss. So Salma takes the banner inside and puts it in her window instead. But the next morning she wakes up to find her window smeared with paint.

You can choose your house. Not your neighbours.

Salma Khatun is extremely hopeful about Blenheim, the safe suburban development to which she, her husband and their son have just moved. Their family is in desperate need of a fresh start, and Blenheim feels like the place to make that happen.

This time she does confront Tom, and the battle lines between the two families are drawn. As things begin to escalate and the stakes become higher, it’s clear that a reckoning is coming… And someone is going to get hurt.

Book Info: Print length: 384 pages. Publisher: HQ. Publication Date: 19 January 2023

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 Mar 2021 and Next of Kin in Sept 21.

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:

Followers of my blog and reviews will know that I absolutely LOVE Kia Abdullah’s books and have recommended them everywhere, so when I received an ARC copy of her latest book THOSE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR which is being published mid-January 2023 I was delighted and excited.

This latest standalone thriller is another clever, thought-provoking and topical story which is guaranteed to keep the readers gripped and shocked throughout.

Can you imagine moving your family to a new neighbourhood, desperate for a new start, hoping this new home gives you, your husband and teenage son the opportunity to escape a difficult past, open up new possibilities and finally feel secure and peaceful in the knowledge your dreams and aspirations can finally start to come true?

Salma Khatun and her husband Bil and teenage son Zain have moved into a “nice” suburban development and are looking forward to a new chapter in their lives. When they are invited to a neighbourhood bbq they are desperate to “fit-in”, but when they return home they find their “BLM banner” has been removed from their front garden. Is this a racist attack or just a misunderstanding?

What follows is simple horrific – it appears that their next-door neighbours Tom and Willa are responsible for this act and when confronted things turn from bad to bloody awful.

This book takes toxic neighbours to a new level and Those People Next Door kept me absolutely captivated. You could cut the tension with a knife (obviously a paper knife) and the underlying feeling of simmering violence left me constantly feeling stressed.

Another brilliant book and one I would highly recommend.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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