Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah


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.

OMG what an absolutely brilliant page turner of a book! Kia Abdullah has taken an horrific event and built a gripping courtroom drama around it. I’ve loved her previous two books but this one completely knocked my socks off!

I don’t think I’ve heard of many cases like this in the UK but in the US there have been some very high profile cases where people have left their child in their car and forgotten about them. Often these children have been left in an unventilated vehicle for hours in the summer heat and very few survive. It’s always shocked me as I’ve read with disbelief that a parent could possibly forget to take a child to nursery and leave them in the car while they go to work. It I know a lot of the time it’s been proved that this is the case and it’s a recognised problem! Apparently our brain can go on autopilot and I know we’ve all found ourselves somewhere that we knew we were going to but can’t remember getting there! But here it’s not a parent that is accused of leaving their child in the car on the hottest day of the year so far, but an aunt. When Leila takes a call from her brother in law to say he’s been called into work urgently she agrees to drop Max at nursery for him. Max is asleep when he’s put in her car so when Leila is also called by HER office with an emergency she goes straight there and NOT via the nursery…

This is a gripping but most definitely shocking read. I couldn’t believe what I was reading at first and struggled to understand why a character that I thought I had understood would do something so utterly terrible! How could you forget a child?!?! But when the case comes to court, we discover that there may be more to the tragedy than first thought. Leila seems such a caring person, but both her and Yasmin have been through so much in their past that maybe they have been damaged far more than expected.

There are some brilliant plot twists towards the end of Next of Kin and it’s one of those books that you physically can not put down. It’s a fascinating case and it will break your heart. Kia Abdullah is a magnificent storyteller and has once again delivered a gripping and thought provoking read.

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, is out now (Mar 2021, HarperCollins). 

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.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.