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  • Writer's pictureKindig

***** - Next of Kin



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.


I only realised after I finished reading Next of Kin that I had previously read another of Kia Abdullah’s books ‘Take It Back’. I must admit that I was very much in a minority of not really enjoying that book – giving it 3 stars for characters I found hard to empathise with (including the MC) and a lack of depth in the case itself, with the plot focussing on events outside of the courtroom. I’m pleased to say that Next of Kin succeeds on every point of this and then some!

The topic itself is enough to inspire empathy in anyone – the thought of accidently killing a close relative is horrific and it makes for a really compelling read. We also get chapters from both the mother Yasmin and the accused Leila and to be honest you side with both of them even though they both show their flaws. The topic in question also raises an interesting topic of debate for how career-minded women are treated and how actions we take to make ourselves seem brave can backfire on our reputation. There are also some chapters from a Detective who is trying to find out more information about the case. This gave the reader an outlet to see the crime from an outside perspective and this helped to keep the pace and suspense high throughout.

Although I was annoyed that Take It Back didn’t focus much on the courtroom, I had no such misgivings of Next of Kin. Kia doesn’t seem to have a background in law, but she certainly knows how to portray a realistic and intriguing courtroom. I really loved how the case progressed and Kia masterfully paints a picture of how various bits of information could be spun by the prosecution or the defence to help their case. I was hooked throughout, and I honestly didn’t know whether Leila was going to be found guilty or not guilty. The ending itself was nothing short of brilliant, I did not see the twist coming and the final few chapters are heart-wrenching. It really is a book which delivers on all elements.

Overall, Next of Kin is a brilliant courtroom thriller read and highly recommended. Thank you to NetGalley & HQ Stories for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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