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.
I’m quite new to Kia’s books but after having recently read a previous book, Truth Be Told (which was excellent by the way), I could quite understand why her books gather such good reviews. When the opportunity arose to review Next of Kin, I couldn’t resist. I love legal thrillers and if they have that moral dilemma undercurrent too as this does – that’s a winning combination for me.
Next of Kin is both a heartrending and emotionally tense family and courtroom drama written with sensitivity and authenticity. A fantastic read and one I have no hesitation in recommending.ABOUT THE AUTHORYOUR WORST NIGHTMARE…ABOUT THE BOOK
Publisher : HQ
Format: Ebook, Audio, Hardback (2 September 2021) | Paperback (31 March 2022)
Pages: 384
Source: Review copy via Netgalley
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.
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I didn’t want to put this book down. The way the narrative is constructed, I found it difficult not to take sides – it seemed clear that a tragic mistake had been made but the more you find out about the two sisters’ background and their relationship, the muddier the waters become. Add in the tense courtroom scenes where the most intimate and personal details of Leila’s life are pulled apart for public consumption and she is criticised for the choices she has made to put her career first, together with the detective who doggedly pursues the evidence file and you have a story that is both thrilling and heartbreaking in equal measures.
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.
The crux of the story is that Leila is meant to be doing her brother-in-law Andrew a favour by dropping 3 year old Max off at nursery on her way to work. But unexpected events overtake and Leila has to face the consequences.
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.Without going into any plot details there are so many layers to this story and it is a real rollercoaster of a story that will surprise and shock. The pacing is spot on, the characters to me felt believable and are written such that the reader may feel more sympathetic towards one than another – I began by feeling irritation for one sister for seeming greedy, ungrateful and manipulative but then as with everything in life, nothing is black and white.


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.
Next of Kin is a tragic and powerfully told story of two sisters – successful and career driven London architect Leila and her younger sister Yasmin. They have a difficult backstory with Leila taking responsibility for both of them from a young age, something which she has found it hard to let go of. Yasmin is married with a young son, a settled family life which has eluded Leila. Theirs is a complex relationship – they clearly love each other but there is also jealousy and resentment simmering underneath.
My thanks to the publisher for the tour invitation and for providing a review copy via Netgalley.

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