I haven’t read Kia Abdullah’s debut “Take It Back” but I will certainly be on the look-out for it after reading her first-class second novel. I feel like I have been on a real journey with the author with what is ostensibly a legal thriller- but it is so much more.
I’m not going to say much about the plot other than not one of the twists did I see coming. Thematically, it is rich. It’s mainly a tale about consent, but also cultural pressures and entitlement. We meet 17 year old Kamran, educated at boarding school (which seems alarmingly close to his house I always assume children board some distance from home but here not so) who one night has too much to drink and changes his life forever and Zara, an ex-lawyer, now working in counselling and support who is coming to terms with an act of violence perpetrated against her.
This was a novel I found difficult to put down. I was using my finger to cover up the bottom of the page at times as I was reading it, not wanting my eyes to slide down and pick up on events too soon. I savoured every word and it is well written. I admittedly had a slight issue with a group of male protesters who do not seem as well thought out as characters and whose presence in part of the narrative caused its only few clunky moments. I socially distanced myself at work one lunchtime even more than necessary by seeking out a space alone so I could read the court case section of the novel.
I’m not even a huge fan of legal thrillers. The only one (not including “To Kill A Mockingbird” which is loosely a legal thriller) which has really impressed me is Jodi Picoult’s “Small Great Things” (2016) and this is every bit as thought-provoking and good.
Truth Be Told will be published on September 3rd by HQ Books. Many thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the advance review copy.