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 have 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. Max has been locked in her car for several hours on the hottest day of the year.
Is about to come true…
But she’s too late.
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.
On the outside they were the perfect family, two sisters, Leila and Yasmin both married, in and out of each other’s homes, until tragedy. Max, Yasmin’s son was dead and it’s it was all Leila’s fault or was it?
It gave Abdullah the perfect opportunity to puncture the glossy veneer and dive deep below the surface of a sisterly relationship that relied heavily on assumptions and jealousy. Leila, childless, separated from husband Will, envious of Yasmin.
Yasmin, seemingly happily married, mother to Max, yet not quite as wealthy or successful as Leila.
It became apparent both wanted what the other had and Abdullah brilliantly pulled apart those wants and those desires. Yet she also left you with a nagging doubt as to the circumstances surrounding Max’s death. I loved how she used Detective Shep to ask the pointed questions, to query the evidence, to make the characters squirm uncomfortably under his attention.
Abdullah excelled as she placed Leila on trial, the narrative superbly captured the body language, the scrutiny and the questioning. You were never quite sure in which direction Abdullah would send the jury, and indeed the rest of the novel.
I was lulled into a false sense of security before Abdullah hit with some fascinating and shocking revelations yet not a shock to Shep, who sat and waited patiently for it all to unravel before him, the characters their own worst enemies.
It wasn’t perhaps the ending you expected but it felt right not only to me as the reader but also for Max, for the loss of an innocent little boy who should have been able to enjoy his life were it not for the mess the adults made as a consequence of their actions and assumptions.
About the author
Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer 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. The follow-up, Truth Be Told, has been long-listed for a Diverse Book Award. Her new novel, Next of Kin, is out now.
Born in Tower Hamlets in East London, Kia was raised in a family of eight children. As the most stubborn of six daughters, she constantly found herself in trouble for making choices that clashed with her parents’, a habit they came to accept when she became their first and only child to graduate from university – with a degree in Computer Science.
In 2007, Kia left her job in tech to pursue the one thing she had always wanted: a career as a writer, taking a 50% pay cut in the process. She worked as sub-editor and later features editor at Asian Woman Magazine where she interviewed British-Asian luminaries like Riz Ahmed, Meera Syal, Nitin Sawnhey and Anoushka Shankar.
Kia went on to join global publisher Penguin Random House where she helped grow digital readership at Rough Guides to over a million users per month. In 2014, she quit her day job to found Atlas & Boots, an outdoor travel blog now read by 250,000 people a month.
Today, she splits her time between London and the Yorkshire Dales town of Richmond, and spends her time writing, hiking, mentoring pupils from Tower Hamlets and visiting far-flung destinations for Atlas & Boots.
Kia loves to travel, hates to cook and periodically highlights that, in actual fact, she is one of nine children (one passed away), making her Seven of Nine… which is cool but only if you’re a Star Trek fan… which she is. But please don’t hold it against her. Have a look around, say hi on Twitter or Instagram and if you’re feeling really nice buy her new n