Source: Review copy
Publication: 2 September 2021 from HQ
My thanks to HQ for an advance copy for review.
ON AN ORDINARY WORKING DAY…
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.
YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE…
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.
IS ABOUT TO COME TRUE…
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…
Kia Abdullah has very quickly become an author whose next book I want to read whatever the subject matter. She is a fascinating storyteller with a firm grasp of the law and a clear sense of how to make a story writhe and twist in her grasp as well as telling an emotive tale.
Next of Kin is stomach clenchingly harrowing. It deals with the death of a child and therefore is emotive and upsetting. But from this one occurrence Kia Abdullah builds an immersive character driven courtroom family drama that I read in one sitting.
Next of Kin deals with two sisters, Leila Syed, a very successful commercial architect, married but currently separated from journalist Will. Her sister Yasmin, a secretary, who she has looked after since Leila was in her teens, lives not far away from her with her husband Andrew and their three year old son, Max.
Yasmin envies Leila’s success and Leila, while wishing her sister happiness, longs for a child of her own. Leila is a doting auntie and often makes time in her busy schedule to look after Max when Yasmin and Andrew have other plans.
Then one day tragedy strikes and Leila is charged with manslaughter. What follows is a high profile case in which your emotions are up and down like a rollercoaster as the sister’s relationships are examined and family secrets are revealed and dissected.
Abdullah has something to say too about how women are judged and this family drama with its intense and complex layers threatens to destroy the closeness the sisters always believed they had. When everything is pointed against Leila, can Yasmin find it in her heart to forgive her sister?
With Leila under close scrutiny, things look bleak but this complex story of relationships has more than one secret to divulge and many lies will be told before the verdict is delivered.
Verdict: A really tense and propulsive read that is often heart-breaking and which is as taut as a violin string. Next of Kin is a powerful and character driven story of family and sibling relationships that highlights serious issues as well as delivering an intense and riveting read.
Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer from London. She has written for The New York Times, the Guardian and the Telegraph, and is the author of Truth Be Told and Take It Back, which was named one of the best thrillers of the year by the Guardian and the Telegraph. Kia frequently contributes to the BBC, commenting on a variety of issues affecting the British Asian community, and is the founder of Asian Booklist, a site that helps readers discover new books by British Asian authors. Kia also runs Atlas & Boots, a travel blog read by 250,000 people a month.